Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Just to draw a tangent between glorious sports and political worlds:

Leave 'Em in the Locker Room: Pro Athletes Make Lousy Public Officials

As you might know, it was as a Philadelphia Phillies pitcher that [the departing Republican Senator from Kentucky Jim] Bunning tossed a perfect game against the New York Mets in 1964. It was the high point of a 17-year Hall of Fame career. It also gave both sports and political writers license to hurl the word "imperfect" at his two-term senatorial record.  In 2006, Time called him one of the worst five senators of his time. Time dubbed him "the underperformer." In their 2007 conservative/liberal rankings, National Journal had Bunning as the second-most conservative senator trailing only that "Family" man, Jim DeMint of South Carolina.

In his final innings, Bunning notoriously prevented the Senate from extending unemployment benefits for more than 1.2 million workers for more than a month. When fellow senators begged him to halt his filibuster, according to Politico, Bunning's reply was: "Tough shit." Describing Bunning as "loutish, eccentric, and mean," Joe Conason in Salon accused him of using the Jim Bunning Foundation to shelter his fees from the baseball memorabilia shows at which he appeared to sell autographs.

It was the Republican Party that sent Bunning to the showers a couple of months ago. He decided not to run again because of lack of GOP support and funds. Score a rare one for the GOP. Bunning was my quintessential incumbent jerk-jock politician who you should never vote for. And he was stupid. Case in point: He said, "I watch Fox News to get my information."

[Former NBA, WWE, NFL stars] are already campaigning to fit into the woeful tradition of Jim Bunning, Jesse Ventura, Tom Osborne, and Vinegar Bend Mizell, athletic role models whose narcissism, ignorance, and conservatism helped them make a seamless transition from entertaining people to exploiting them.

Keep in mind that the sports-industrial complex tends to produce narrow-minded, self-centered, ethically-challenged mercenaries who are deeply submissive to established authority while being fiercely dedicated to winning by any means possible.  Or as one of my old political advisers, Sam Hall Kaplan, a former New York Times and Los Angeles Times reporter, puts it: "A pol who learned as an athlete just who ultimately butters his bread can be counted on to continue to wave to the crowds while doing the bidding of the owners." And the owners these days, thanks to the umpires (... er, Supreme Court) are likely to be unnamed billionaire warlords donating to right-wing candidates through dummy organizations that have no requirement to open their books to the voters.

by das monde on Thu Oct 21st, 2010 at 12:01:51 AM EST

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