At a recent campaign rally in Ohio, President Obama chose to put on display his expertise of all things gridiron by way of an extended metaphor comparing the Romney-Ryan economic plan to a football playbook. Here is the video of super fan Obama using lots of football jargon:
“First down… necessary roughness… Hail Mary… flag on the play!”
Watching Obama attempt to string together the terminology of one of my favorite pastimes, I am reminded of Jerry Seinfeld’s response to Tim Whatley converting to Judaism for the jokes: it offends me as a football fan.
Forget the message and focus on what the Obama campaign folks want to convey to the public in terms of the President’s personality. They want everyone to think Barack Obama is a sports fan, just like us. Quite frankly, that is total BS. I’ll ignore the ludicrous use of the football metaphor because I know they were trying to respond to Romney telling a crowd they needed to “fire the coach,” and focus more on the clear lack of understanding of the words that he’s saying. I have serious doubts that Barack Obama understands terms like “punt” and “penalty” outside of the contexts of “punting a political football” and “Obamacare is a penalty for political purposes but a tax for being upheld as Constitutional.”
Why do I think this? Well, first of all, he says all the football terms the way my foreign college roommate (who was also from Indonesia) said them before he spent a season at football crazed OU and became the best secret weapon in intramural football history. In other words, like they are unnatural and not a part of his weekly vernacular. Second, the Obama campaign has tried for years to convince the public that he is sort of the mix between the Schwab and the guy in your frat house who was really solid in every sport. His March Madness bracket is expertly picked with interesting insight on each matchup (that is so not written by some staffer and read to ESPN by Obama). His jump shot is smooth. He tosses the pigskin with his buddies at Soldier Field and on the beach. Finally, whenever he is caught in a non-scripted sports moment (and even some scripted ones) he shows that he is totally out of touch with the sporting world.
Sports fans know the name of the stadium or ballpark where their favorite team plays. Barack Obama does not. Sports fans know that there are 4 NBA teams who have names that don’t end in the letter s: the Heat, Thunder, Magic, and Jazz. Barack Obama does not. Sports fans know that wearing long pants to a pickup basketball game indoors (and outdoors with extremely limited exceptions) will most certainly get you picked somewhere between the guy in running shoes and the guy wearing a polo shirt (except for my dad, who will whip your ass with an array of old school high-arching bank shots, tricky passes, and 6 feet 8 inches of pure skill while rocking a Le Tigre shirt he bought in 1987). Barack Obama does not. Sports fans throw a baseball like a man. Barack Obama does not.
This ticks me off because it shows how hard the Obama campaign people are trying to replace who he really is with a manufactured version of who they think we want him to be. Just admit it, he’s a kind of introspective guy who went to Occidental, Columbia, and Harvard, and couldn’t care less about sports. That doesn’t bother me. Trying to pretend he is a big sports guy when he isn’t bothers me a lot. It reeks of dictator style propaganda. This is Mao swimming the Yangtze at world record pace. This is Kim Jong Il on the golf course nailing 11 holes-in-one. This is Nicolae Ceaușescu attempting to appear taller than he really was. It is a blatant lie and it shows a deeper problem. The Obama campaign truly believes it can dupe (or bamboozle, or hoodwink) the American people. Unfortunately for Obama, even with a complicit media, this kind of cult of personality cannot exist in the United States. The American people see right through the act. No amount of staged photos with footballs, sports metaphors in speeches, or ESPN appearances can connect Obama to the sports community. He’s not one of us. We know it, and more importantly, he knows it.
Be yourself, Mr. President. It is much more flattering (I hope).
– Bobby Lepak is the Co-Founder of Third Generation Politics. Follow him on twitter @bobbylepak.