October 30, 2004

Yesterday, Red Sox pitching ace and playoff hero Curt Schilling backed out of appearing at a campaign event for George Bush, and in effect apologized for publicly endorsing him. Schilling was quoted in a post on a Red Sox fan website that "(w)hile I hope to see (Bush) re-elected, it's not my place, nor the time for me to offer up my political opinions unsolicited."

Huh? If the final four days of a Presidential campaign isn't the right time to offer up your political opinions, when is? To suggest that Democratic citizens of RedSoxNation are somehow going to feel betrayed because one of their heroes is a Republican is ridiculous. Lefty sports fans long ago came to terms that many of our heroes on the field and in the arena are, shall we say, politically disagreeable. White athletes are a more dependable Republican vote (that is, when they actually care enough to register to vote) than Evangelical Christians, so Schilling's endorsement of Bush (and dissing of Kerry) isn't going to break anyone's heart. He should have stood by the courage of his convictions.
FWIW, by winning on Wednesday, teams from Boston (and its immediate surroundings) have now beaten teams from St. Louis in the championships of all four major American sports. I'm still checking, but I don't think any other city has beaten another city for three different sports titles.

October 29, 2004

The big problem with trying to prognosticate who benefits by the reappearance today of Osama bin Laden is that the election isn't going to be held tomorrow; it takes place Tuesday. No matter what reaction people are having right now to seeing his ugly mug pop up again, that same feeling ain't gonna last four days. The reality is that OBL is still alive (and seemingly healthy), he's still a threat, and Bush hasn't caught him yet. Any benefit he might provide the President's reelection dissipates every second he remains at large.

UPDATE: Upon further examination, the oft-cited parallels between this election and 1980 are again brought into focus. That year, an unpopular incumbent President had a slight lead in the polls going into the last weekend of the campaign, but also faced an increasingly bleak picture in the Electoral College. The challenger had the momentum following a clear-cut victory in their one debate, but had by no means wrapped up the election. In that final weekend, a deal to release the hostages in Teheran was seemingly in the works, and the public was led to believe that it would be announced shortly.

It turns out that the mullahs were yanking our chain, again, and the negotiations fell through. No one could fairly blame President Carter for that, or for the kidnapping of the hostages in the first place. But being reminded of what had come to symbolize that president's shortcomings on the eve of the election was enough to turn what had been a neck-and-neck battle into a blow-out.
For those of you obsessed with Electoral College calculations, you ought to make Frogblog your first destination.
Best way to tell that Kerry is going to win on Tuesday: not the fact that he's pulled even in the polls, with the remaining undecided voters likely to break his way, or that the market-based predictors show him pulling even or ahead, or even the high turnout figures in Dade County among non-Cuban Latino voters. It's today's column by Dick Morris, predicting a Bush victory.

October 27, 2004

Quickie Trivia: Name the living members of the Baseball Hall of Fame that were alive the last time the Red Sox won a World Series. Winner gets a night of free drinks and my good company. BTW, there are, at last count, seventeen deceased members whose entire lives were spent after the 1918 Series.
Availing myself of the early-voting program the County of Los Angeles offers, I performed my civic duty yesterday. After a great deal of soul-searching and internal debate, I finally decided to cast my ballot for the challenger, John Kerry. It was a tough decision. I could either choose a candidate who promised to restore some measure of fiscal sanity to Washington, to renew our nation's commitment to the environment, to pursue more civilized policies in areas like gay rights, and to finally take the fight to the terrorists. Or I could vote based on my material interests, in favor of a candidate who would keep my taxes low, in the off-chance that I ever marry into money, and who, like his father before him, has always pursued policies guaranteed to give people in my line of work, bankruptcy law, a steady income. In the end, competence and security won out over tax cuts and future clients.

October 25, 2004

On the one hand, you have the Bush Campaign trying to come up with a tidy explanation as to why over 300 tons of explosive just got up and walked out of an Iraqi storage facility about the time of The Liberation: either it disappeared when we weren't looking, or it was already gone by the time we got there, but we didn't notice. On the other, you have the righteous outrage of some junior orwells at a claim by John Kerry that he was at the Sixth Game of the 1986 World Series, when there is a press report indicating that he attended a political dinner in South Boston the same night. I shouldn't have to waste my time on this, but Logan Airport in Boston is less than three miles away from where the dinner was held, and JFK LaGuardia is literally on the doorstep of Shea Stadium. A flight between the two cities takes only an hour, so it's not as if Kerry would have needed to charter the Concorde to be at both events the same night. Game Six went extra innings; four hours elapsed between Bob Ojeda's first pitch to Wade Boggs and Mookie Wilson's dribbler through the legs of Bill Buckner. Kerry had plenty of time to shake hands at the dinner, put in a token appearance, then head off to New York to have his heart broken by the Mets.