Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thursday's throwdowns

Tigers 8, Nationals 3: the Tigers have won 5 straight now, and appear to be playing better. We'll know more when the competition gets tougher. Key stats from last night: Justin Verlander did what an ace should do, striking out 11 and winning his 8th game. Tigers rookie Brennan Boesch had a 3-run homer last night; he's now hitting .344.
Rangers 6, Marlins 3: the Rangers have now won 11 of their past 15. Keys to last night: Michael Young became the all-time leader among past and present Rangers in hits; he now has 1748 for his career, and passed Pudge Rodriguez. Typically for him, the record-breaker came on a two-run single in the 8th to break open a close game; another clutch hit. I wonder if fans around the country know how good this guy really is. Also key for the Rangers last night was their bullpen, as both Darren O'Day and Neftali Feliz pitched innings of hitless relief.

Obama, the spill, and the polls:
"Six in ten Americans disapprove of how President Barack Obama's handling the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a jump from last month, according to a new national poll. A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey also indicates that vast majority of the public disapproves of how BP has handled the environmental disaster and two-thirds say making a profit rather than cleaning up the spill is oil giant's top priority. Fifty-nine percent of people questioned say they disapprove of how the president is dealing with the spill, up eight points from May. Forty-one percent say they approve of how Obama's handling the crisis, down five points from last month."

The president's problem is that, while he wants the public to blame BP, and not him. But the public blames both of them.

Meanwhile the dean of Washington pundits/observers, the Washington Post's David Broder, weighs in on all this today, and he too doesn't spare President Obama one bit:
"If there is any value in President Obama's knocking himself out to dramatize on prime-time television his impotence in the face of the Gulf of Mexico oil leak calamity, I wish someone would explain it. His multiple inspection trips to the afflicted and threatened states, his Oval Office TV address to the nation, and now his sit-down with the executives of BP have certainly established his personal connection with one of the worst environmental disasters in history. But the only thing people want to hear from him is word that the problem is on its way to being solved -- and this message he cannot deliver. The polls so far suggest that voters have a sensible and realistic perspective on all this and are not punishing Obama for failing to anticipate the drilling platform accident and not having a handy tool kit for its repair. To date, his approval numbers have barely moved. But by dramatizing his belief that the struggle in the gulf has become his main preoccupation, Obama has essentially ignored challenges that may be much more vital to the country -- and to him."

Indeed. This reminds me of Jimmy Carter and the Iranian hostage crisis, in 1979 and 1980. Carter made the crisis the focal point of his presidency. But his inability to solve it, while claiming it was his responsibility to do so, sunk him. Could the same kind of thing happen to the Obama presidency?

Poll watch:
I said recently that Arkansas' Blanche Lincoln, despite her victory in the runoff last week and becoming the Democratic nominee for the senate after all, was still toast. And she is--a poll shows her trailing Republican John Boozman by no less than 29 points.