Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday's fish fry

Here's a significant window into the thinking of Democratic strategists in 2010:
"Of all the problems Democrats face this fall, none may be more challenging than trying to win back the support of independent voters. President Obama has been going backward with independents for more than a year, and the Democrats stand to suffer the effects in the November elections. The Gallup organization reported this week that just 38 percent of independents now approve of the job Obama is doing, the lowest point in his presidency and down from 56 percent a year ago. Top Democratic strategists are gloomy enough about the prospect of turning those voters around quickly that they believe the more important priority for the next four months is to maximize turnout among the new voters who backed Obama in 2008. Those new voters may be receptive to partisan appeals. Whether that will help with independents is another question."

Er, no, it's not merely "another question." Rather, it's an easy question to answer--and the answer is, no, they won't. The Democrats are largely giving up on independents in 2010. Republicans therefore have to continue to work hard and drive home their advantage with them--and win big this year.

Meanwhile, even polls affiliated with the Democrats show the Republicans leading the generic congressional ballot for 2010 (and by 6 points, no less).

The only thing one has to worry about with a poll like that is that perhaps Democrats seek to motivate their donors and their base by suggesting they trail in the polls more than they actually do.

Of course the big story today is LeBron James, and his decision to leave Cleveland and go play with the Miami Heat.

And all in all, it's not a story that's left a good taste in my mouth. Did LeBron have the RIGHT to make his deal and go where he chose? Of course he did. That's the essence of liberty and within the NBA it's a right the players won through hard bargaining. I don't begrudge him that. And yes, Cleveland Cavs' owner Dan Gilbert made himself look like an angry, vengeful, half-crazy jilted lover with his roaring rage at LeBron's departure. But don't let that make LeBron into a sympathetic figure, folks:

1] I mean, did he HAVE to drag this "Decision" out, build up a false sense a drama, cook up a TV special on it, and thus rub Cleveland fans' nose in it? James has claimed since the decision to be a big believer in loyalty, but hey--he's from Ohio, fans there were loyal to him, but he's leaving.

2] He's leaving a place at which he had unfinished business. He played well for the Cavs and accomplished a lot there. But he promised to win a title, yet didn't. Can anyone imagine Michael Jordan bailing on Chicago without having won a title? LeBron claimed, in making his decision, that now he won't have the "pressure" of having to score 30 points a night, given that he's joining Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Strange--neither Magic Johnson, or Larry Bird, or Michael Jordan ever complained or ran from such pressure. Isn't it a sign of a great player to embrace such pressure?

Most experts are stressing that the Miami Heat winning a championship this season is not a done deal. They're right; the Heat have only two other players under contract and won't have the money to do anything other than sign journeyman players at the NBA minimum. Meaning they won't have much bench help or a huge supporting cast. So Maybe LeBron and D-Wade and co. won't succeed.

How many of us would be sad to see that? I'm betting not too many. On the other hand, how many will be watching this season to see how the Heat perform? Quite a few--and in that sense, LeBron and David Stern and the entire NBA have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams...