Sunday, March 22, 2009

Obama's March Picks

For all the blather about Obama's March Madness picks, it took The Atlantic Politics Channel and A Bracket You Can Believe In - to look at the actual picks:
"For starters, Obama is conservative. Maybe not slash spending and overturn Roe v. Wade conservative, but cautious and risk averse. His UNC pick is shared by many, and his Final Four are Louisville, Pittsburgh, UNC, and Memphis--all 1 seeds aside from Memphis, whom many have predicted to beat Connecticut. He's picked a total of three upsets in the first round (not counting his two predictions for 9 seeds to beat 8 seeds), his most notable being a win for VCU (11) over UCLA (6) in the East region and another for Temple (11) over Arizona State (6) in the South. Aside from a Maryland (10) victory over Cal (7) in the West--a pick many are making--that's it. The only thing risky about these picks is that they may cost Obama some support in California in 2012--and he's probably not worried about that."

***

The UNC pick might also give us a window into military policy. Obama likes the offensive-minded Tar Heels to beat the defensive-minded Cardinals. It's clear from his bracket that Obama prefers ambitious offense to a full-court press that gambles for steals, as Louisville is wont to do. So, naturally, one assumes he'll favor shock and awe in Afghanistan but not expanded missile defense in Europe and around the globe.

Above all, the picks show our commander in chief to be knowledgeable, if a bit of a traditionalist. Sure, his Syracuse and FSU nods look adventurous, but they stand alone. And, since his party can use the votes in upstate New York and Florida's panhandle, it might be riskier for Obama not to pick them.


I remain with my opinion that Obama's metaphor is basketball: fluid, defense while playing offense and offense while playing defense, and with both short range tactics and long range strategy.

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