Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Softball and the Democratic Race

A week before last night's primaries in Indiana and NC, the Central Washington softball team met the team from Western Oregon, with both having a chance to qualify for the NCAA Division II Playoffs. In the top of last inning of a tie game and with two runners on base, a senior bench player from Western Oregon who hadn't hit a home run in her entire college career, Sara Tucholsky, all 5'2" of her, hit a home run to center field to give her team a 3-0 lead. Unfortunately, in her excitement, Sara missed touching first base on her trip around the bases. Realizing her mistake, she stopped between first and second to turn around, and she tore her right ACL. The rules of the game state that no one from her team is allowed to help her in any way to run the bases, so if anyone from Western Oregon tried to help her, she would have been called out. Rather than force her to crawl around the bases to have her home run officially count, players from Central Washington picked Sara up and carried her around the bases, setting her left foot on each one as they passed. Sara's team went on to win the game.

ESPN story

Over the course of the last 4 months, Barack Obama has hit a home run. He has jumped out to what is, in the Democratic system of proportional delegate allocation, a huge lead (play around with the New York Times Delegate Calculator, though it hasn't yet been updated with yesterday's results). It seems that the only way he could lose at this point is if he were to have some failure as catastrophic as a "torn ACL while rounding the bases". What would be the political equivalent? Some thought it might be the Rev. Wright issue, in which, to review, Obama's pastor of 20 years, the man who brought him to the Christian faith, performed his wedding, and baptised his children was shown on tape and on several occasions saying "God Damn America", "America's chickens are coming home to roost" days after 9/11 and so on. And this, to stick with the baseball analogies, amounted to perhaps a thigh bruise from being hit by a pitch; it hurts, but it by no means damaged his ability to win the game. So just what exactly would a "torn ACL" look like?

The Bill Ayers thing is not nearly as bad for Obama as Wright, as sitting on a charity board is not nearly the level of connection as convert-pastor, and there's no video, so that's out. The guy who said he did coke and crack with Obama and then performed oral sex on him in 1999 failed a polygraph. Witness testimony in the Rezko trial ended yesterday with nothing about Obama coming out. The way I figure it, news would have to come out that Obama cheated on his wife (though such a history hasn't hurt McCain, nor should it), accepted a bribe, or committed a crime in order for enough superdelegates to give Clinton the nomination.

While it's terribly unlikely that such news will come out between now and August (if Hillary or the press had it, it'd be out already, and if the Republicans have it, it won't come out til after the convention), I suppose it is possible. And, to use another sports analogy, she has to be on the field to pick pick up a fumble, so I can't say that she has to get out of the race. But it's definitely time to knock off the attacks on Obama such as "I believe that I've done that [passed the commander-in-chief threshold]. Certainly, Sen. McCain has done that and you'll have to ask Sen. Obama with respect to his candidacy."

By all means, Senator, stay on the field, and no one's saying that you have to carry Obama around the bases if he fails. But it's time to stop chasing him around with a bat trying to hit him in the knee.

p.s., looks like my first official prediction didn't turn out so well. I did predict that she'd do 17 points better in IN than NC, and she did 16 points better in the actual counts, so there's at least that...

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