Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday's fish fry

Tigers 6, Mets 5: the Tigers avoid a sweep. Starter Armando Galarraga pitches decently and gets the win (his first since his near-perfect game; he'd pitched well but had no-decisions in his previous 3 starts). Ryan Raburn homers; the Tigers need his hitting. The Twins lose again, so the Tigers only trail them in the AL Central by half a game. So not a bad night.
Rangers 6, Pirates 5: the Rangers have now won 11 straight games. Keys: Vlad Guerrero had the game-winning hit in the 9th; he's now batting .326 for this team. Who expected that, after his injury-plagued 2009? Another key: the Rangers' bullpen, which in 3 innings pitched last night allowed 2 hits and no runs. The Rangers rallied from a 5-1 deficit.

Polling news:

In Washington state, for Republicans, the race against Democratic incumbent Senator Patty Murray remains very, very winnable.

Meanwhile, in the Republican senatorial primary in Arizona, i see no signs that John McCain is in much trouble any longer.
He's rather obviously, and somewhat desperately, tacked to the right in recent months. But AZ Republicans don't seem to mind.

By the way, speaking, as we were yesterday, of President Obama's declining poll numbers: what's interesting is that we're starting to see, in the mainstream media, as an explanation of this, an argument very much like this one made by Chuck Todd et al in MSNBC's "First Thoughts" column:
"Our new NBC/WSJ poll is pretty brutal for President Obama. Picture Rocky Balboa after seven rounds -- bruised, bleeding, black eye. That's what Obama looks like in our poll. But Obama hasn't been knocked down or knocked out, yet he certainly looks wobbly. And to beat this analogy to death, a defender would argue that it appears he's taking on Apollo Creed (the economy), Clubber Lang (concerns about the deficit), and Ivan Drago (the oil spill) all at the same time. For the first time in our survey, Obama's approval rating is upside down (at 45%-48%); for the first time in his presidency, more than 60% believe the country is on the wrong track; and for the first time in his presidency, Obama's "very negative" score on the feeling thermometer nearly matches his "very positive" score. The White House has recently been fond of using the phrase "inflection point" to indicate a new chapter in terms of their handling of the oil spill. Well, this poll is potentially an inflection point in terms of public opinion on this president. After months of keeping his head about water, he's now been dragged down to be unpopular as the rest of Washington."

Yes, Todd and company rightly acknowledge Obama's troubles in the polls. But note the subtle reason he gives for the slide: that Obama (gasp!) is daring to take on the economy, the deficit, and the oil spill all at the same time. Poor man! Gosh, maybe the American people are asking too much of him. Maybe the presidency is too difficult of a job. Maybe one man can't be expected to solve everything.

It all sounds familiar to me. Why? Because we heard this same kind of thing--especially from Democrats and liberals across the punditry--back in the late 1970s when Jimmy Carter was president. He too faced all these problems. Gosh, how could he solve them all? How could he be expected too?, asked his defenders.

Here's the thing: we don't hear this kind of defense from these people when a conservative Republican is in office. No, sir. If there are problems and things aren't going right under a GOP president, why, it's because he's incompetent, he hates government, he doesn't know how to use government, he can't get things done, he's an incompetent, he's stupid, if only a Democrat was in charge, etc etc etc.

Suddenly claiming now that problems are too big for one man is a hypocritical falsehood. Don't let them get away with it.