Saturday, May 13, 2006

We've got spirit, yes we do...

I've often contended that, for far too many people, politics is not a matter of civil liberties, good government, fiscal prudence, economic well-being, or even national security.

Instead, it's a matter of sports.

There is a certain "Go, Team!" mentality shared by the extreme fans of either side of the political divide. Lately, however, the cheerleading has been epidemic among Republicans, and the only principle that matters is winning the game.

The fair-weather fans will become disgruntled when the Fearless Leader is mucking up an inning (the Harriet Myers nomination, the immigration debate) or a road trip (the Iraqi war). And we see this happening as Bush's approval percentage dives below .300, and his ticket sales stall even among many conservatives.

Yet, just as a diehard Yankees fan would never switch allegiances and pull for the Red Sox, a certain number of people will never abandon George Bush: to them, he's simply Joe Torre having a bad season. Sure, they're more than happy to offer their own beer-enhanced opinions on how to play the game, but they would never admit that another team is, quite simply, better.

As if to slug my metaphor out of the park, right-wing talkshow host Ben Ferguson brought his 24-year-old babyface attachment to the Larry King Show the other night. When Randi Rhodes challenged him to enroll in the armed forces to support the cause he so desperately wants everyone else to fight, he publicly spewed the following accidental nocturnal emission:
FERGUSON: Randi, I have friends in Iraq, OK? [...] I support the Yankees--doesn't mean I wear their uniform.
(The relevant portion of the transcript is posted at Brilliant at Breakfast.)

Forget the practicality, rightness, or morality of our current national policies. Kids like Ben are too busy watching the scoreboard, and they're convinced that the tide will turn if their team would just stick together and make a decent trade.

Addendum: Crooks and Liars, who has the video of the shouting match between Randi and Ben, nails the sophomoric stupidity of what he said: "Ben my man, if I could just sign up and play for the Yanks, I'd be on the bench right now."