Saturday, January 17, 2009

Barack Obama and Sarah Palin: Basketball and Politics

This blog is devoted to the analogy that politics and punditry is not unlike Pro-wrestling. However in the recent President election, observers chose to use another sporting analogy to describe the candidates and the way they might govern - Basketball.

The election featured two former high school basketball players, Barack Obama and Sarah Palin. Whilst Sarah Palin's persona was dominated by the image of a self-styled 'Hockey Mom' and hunter. She originally made a name for herself as captain and point guard for her school's basketball team that won the Alaska state championship in 1982. Her basketball nickname "Sarah Barracuda".

The Weekly Standard featured an article describing how Palin's game on the basketball court might inform her leadership style:
Game Changer by Jessica Gavora (Writer and former Palin basketball opponent)
"Al I ever really needed to know I learned on the basketball court."

That's Sarah Palin, circa 2004, when she was merely, as the Obama campaign would say, "the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience."...

Palin earned her now-famous nickname on the hardcourt--"Sarah Barracuda."...

"I know this sounds hokey," she told an interviewer in 2006, "but basketball was a life-changing experience for me." The problem for today's feminists is that the life lessons Palin learned from basketball have made her their biggest nightmare.

Video: Barack Obama playing basketball in Hawaii

Interestingly Barack's basketball nickname was 'Barry O’Bomber. Somewhat ironic considering the William Ayers connections detractors were trying to pin on him.

Below are a collection of articles using the basketball analogy to provide insight into the incoming Obama administration.:

1) Basketball is in. Bowling is out.
The Presidential Pickup Game
Sharp elbows are already flying in the Obama camp. With Barack Obama the first avid basketball player to be elected president, political appointees, college coaches and NBA officials are all angling to get in on the game...
Many presidents have found it politically expedient to bring along a favored sport to the White House...

2) Q & A with retired Basketball superstar Reggie Miller
Reggie Miller: Obama's hoops style and his presidency
CNN: Speaking of being commander in chief, what are the lessons that you take away from Obama's basketball that you think would be useful?

Miller: If you look at his demeanor, he's very cool; you have to be cool under pressure. You can't make hasty decisions. You've got to look at the full picture as a whole and then you assess it. And I think from a strategic and a political standpoint, I think that very much sums up Mr. Obama.

3) How basketball has informed Barack's Cabinet
Obama’s ‘Dream Team’ - Michael Falcone
Besides their impressive resumes and political star-power, a few of President-elect Barack Obama’s top cabinet choices have something else in common — hoop dreams.

Though these days Eric H. Holder Jr., Susan E. Rice and Gen. James L. Jones, may be more comfortable handling policy memos than shooting free throws, at one point they were very much at home on the court...

It's worth noting that Sarah Palin and Barack Obama were not standout Basketball players but as their stars have risen in Politics, their modest roles on the court have become the stuff of legend.
Palin was no pushover on basketball court
Unlike the publicity tied to her ascent in politics of late, she didn’t get a lot of ink in Alaska’s newspapers when she played hoops.

Like Barack Obama, who played in high school, Palin was not a star...
“I think it’s one of those things where the legend grows when a person’s stature increases,” said Anthony Jensen, the school’s last four-sport athlete. “Everybody’s role gets remembered bigger than it might have been.”

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