Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Your Sports Analogy Is Bad And You Should Feel Bad

In looking for the best way to mark the Democrats blowing it in a place that is so liberal it's known as TAXachusetts, I immediately bypassed rage, because it's just useless at this point. I could talk about how it sure is interesting that despite having a 59-41 advantage in the Senate, the Bizarro World rules of our legislature has apparently turned them into the minority party, but I don't care. We all knew Ben Nelson's dithering was going to screw us in the end, and unless he comes out as some kind secret Republican in a WWE-like unveiling, pyrotechnics and all, said dithering is even more sad than it originally was.

Instead I'm going back to my point from last night that political types just can't do this sports analogy thing right. Witness a hapless campaign staffer (and I say that with respect and sympathy) speaking to Slate last night:

"Right now, we're fourth and long," said Don Murphy, a staffer for a Republican who's running for Congress in true-blue Maryland. "If Brown wins, we're third and long, but our odds greatly improve."

Don Murphy, you have got to be kidding me. How do you go from fourth and long to third and long in consecutive plays? You do not. But that's what it sounds like you're saying. Is it supposed to mean it's a new game and a new situation entirely? Then just say that it's a new game. Also, duh, your odds improve because you have two downs as opposed to one to reach your goal. Just leave that out of the analogy. Now I'm going to put this analogy together in about the most complicated way possible because I'm petulant and can't handle losing.

It was third and long for the Maryland Republican party, like third and fifteen. They reached deep in the playbook for a pass play that netted them oh, let's say six yards, because anything under third and five is actually third and short. Except, whoops, the refs called it an incomplete catch, which I guess in politics is like counting early poll numbers as set in stone? Sure. So now it's fourth and fifteen. But now that Scott Brown has won, it means the Massachusetts Republican party...threw a challenge flag? Sure, that works. And the play on the field, Ted Kennedy being dead and replaced by a gaffe-bot, is overturned and Scott Brown is ruled to be the Senator in play with both feet in bounds. Anyone see a problem here?

It's still fourth and nine! It still cannot possibly be third and long because the refs don't just give you an extra down if you ask for it. To reiterate: you can't pick up a down from a penalty. You can lose one however, for intentional grounding. And we all know the political equivalent of intentional grounding is just desperately heaving a sports reference (the football) when still between the news item of the moment and the big sport currently being played (the tackle box) so as to avoid looking silly in front of the media (blitzing safety). So actually what poor Don Murphy did here is turn the ball over on downs to the Democrats. Better luck next year kid.

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