March 19, 2009

The President's NCAA Office Pool Picks

One question that hasn't been explored is: How much times does the President spend thinking about sports versus thinking about the economy?

The New York Times offers us Obama's picks for the NCAA basketball tournament. This is apparently the first time a President has graced us with his March Madness predictions.

As one emailer comments, Obama's guesses are straight out of Chicago Politics 101: Don't make no waves, don't back no losers. Obama's picks for the Final Four consist of three #1 seeds and one #2 seed. For the Final Eight, he has four #1 seeds, three #2 seeds, and one #3 seed. Not a lot of hope and change on display.

I think the evidence is mounting that sports offer fruitful perspectives for understanding Obama.

A number of readers objected to the elaborate sports metaphor I used in America's Half-Blood Prince: Barack Obama's "Story of Race and Inheritance." I analogized Obama's passionate feelings about the black and white races that suffuse Dreams from My Father to an old Boston Red Sox's fan's feelings about the New York Yankees. I suggested that if he had grown up in a city with major league sports teams, he might have channeled his ferocious competitiveness and need for victory into being a pro sports fan rather than into racial politics. His 2000 discovery that he'd never be black enough to black voters to beat more genuinely black politicians like Bobby Rush to run for mayor of Chicago (the most powerful position a black politician can attain qua being a black politician), caused him to rethink his political image the way a left-handed flyball pitcher might rethink his childhood allegiance to the Red Sox when he realizes that Yankee Stadium is better suited to him than Fenway Park.

Another question I haven't seen asked much is: How hard is Obama working? I have the vague impression that to keep his famous equanimity, he spends a lot of time on mental health breaks, such as making up his NCAA picks, rather than, say, staffing the Treasury Department.

Similarly, George W. Bush, for example, spent a huge amount of time exercising while in office, presumably as his way to stay off the bottle. Obama appears to be a fanatical exerciser, too, spending much of the interregnum at the gym rather than interviewing potential Treasury Department appointees.

Obama has a lot of alcoholics in his family tree. His father and his half-brother David both died while driving drunk. His half-brother Roy was a drunk until he became Abongo the fundamentalist Muslim. His grandfather Stan was a barfly. Also, Obama seems prone to depression (e.g., his New York years and following his loss to Bobby Rush in 2000, I would guess), and he seems to spend a lot of time on preventing recurrences.

For example, his Chicago circle of rich black friends put together a complicated schedule of flying to D.C. on weekends to give him somebody to hang out with. No doubt they just want to let people know that they hang out with the President, but they seemed to feel in what they said to reporters that it wasn't any secret that Obama needs an elaborate emotional support system. We really haven't had anybody in the White House in living memory who could be considered the sensitive artiste type, somebody so self-conscious and self-absorbed.

Also, because of the stigma against smoking, Obama seems to spend a lot of time each day ducking out for a smoke in private. At home in Chicago, during tense times such as the choice of a VP last summer, he'd drop in on his private bodyguard's apartment several times a day, presumably for a cigarette.

The good news is that Obama knows himself pretty well (he ought to: he's certainly spent plenty of time thinking about himself), so if he figures that the most number of hours he can work per week is X, well, then, he's probably right.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


Anonymous said...

That is not going to cut it Steve.

Crisis wont' wait because Obama would get too depressed working too much.

Nor is his hard-partying ways wearing well. Going on Leno for a celebrity backslapping festival, his every Wed. night blowout party, his St. Paddie's party, in hard times are not cutting it.

He stoked populist anger, and now must reap the whirlwind.

Treasury is Geithner and that's it, he's yet to appoint more than 183 senior officials, including key people at State, Treasury, Defense, Energy, and so on.

Meanwhile, the Energy Secretary says he'll impose tariffs on any nation not having enough Global Warming Carbon Taxes. China was not amused.

Obama not working enough has serious, serious consequences.

Bush was a FAR better manager. Most day to day stuff was run out of the Cabinet positions, Bush mostly left them alone, and did not try to both manage everything through Staff (as Obama is doing) and then shirk his duties.

Bush was at work by 7, and then out the door by 6 pm. Asleep at 9 pm, for an early morning workout. That's a ten hour day, day after day.

Obama, by contrast, comes in at 10 AM at the earliest, leaves around 3 pm, and then hangs around for a couple hours around midnight. As Rove pointed out, that burns out the Staff which has to get in early, quickly. Leading to high turnover and loss of expertise in critical staff areas.

You can already see that in the treatment of Gordon Brown. Who made SURE everyone knew that Obama's staff gave him cheap DVDs, which don't work in the UK because they are the wrong region code. Or Brazil's Lula who was ticked off at the mis-spelling of his name and being pushed back for Obama to have a big St. Patrick's Day party. And let everyone know it.

Obama is a complete disaster. Lazy, staffing with yes-men who are both incompetent and ideological (and uncomfirmable due to shady background and radical politics). In the 19th Century he would have been a disaster, now he's likely to be out partying while NYC gets nuked. Then pander to his worst anti-American instincts without a strong staff to tell him "No. That's stupid. Shut up about how we deserved to get nuked."

Even Dems like Bayh and media people are realizing Obama is both radical and stupid. "Let's charge combat vets for the care they require caused by wounds in combat!"

Anonymous said...

Actually, I can think of an actual (failed) artist who became the head of a major world power...

James Kabala said...

The NCAA bracket takes about ten minutes to fill out, especially if you make only easy picks as Obama did. Obama may be lazy, but this is hardly evidence.

Also, testing, wasn't Obama supposed to Islam by convert to Islam by Inauguration Day and be sworn in on the Koran? (I once read a column predicting BUSH would convert to Islam; at least yours is somewhat more plausible.)

Anonymous said...

If Obama's not doing much, i say that's just fine. Better for him to twiddle his thumbs all day than to actively make the situation worse.

Anonymous said...

Steve, can you write more about Obama's work habits.

For instance, testing99, how do you know that Obama comes in at 10 am and leaves at 3 pm?

Anonymous said...

Do you think he is addicted to being a ROCK STAR? This condition added to his homegrown faults could be a big problem.

He can't quit campaigning because he needs that buzz. The campaign made him the One. Is he suppose to sit in quiet contemplation of policy with his wife and friends -- who know little Sen. Barry -- after drinking from - not the glass but -the sea of celebrity.

He also may not be able to partake of the rock star benefits. It may be killing him that he can't be with Scarlett Johansson. (Assuming the press would report any infidelity?) If he is remaining faithful to Michele, he may need the buzz of the crowd to hide the hurt of a lion without a harem. If he is not remaining faithful, he needs to get out ... a lot.
king S.

m said...

Steve- don't you have a similar theory about neocons.

Obama just made a special olympics, that's so low class and immature...will he be held accountable? Why start now.

BTW- was reading Ace of Spades comments on that- man, they almost make me ashamed to be conservative- what an unfunny echo chamber that site has turned into...I think a commenter a while back mentioned that but i had to see for myself. Who else besides Steve is worth reading and has comments? I'm curious.

Maryland will upset Memphis tomorrow btw

Anonymous said...

Great analysis. I first started visiting your site to get an impartial look at Obama and his complicated past. Thanks for more great insight on it. Probably the only person willing to provide such analysis.

Anonymous said...

What other artiste types have we had as President, previous to living memory?

Anonymous said...

Sure, we need to get the message out there that Obama isn't the Messiah. But I'm not sure that his actual number of work hours is worse than that of other presidents; he just happens to channel it into different things.

Anonymous said...

i don't have any trouble believing that obama spends almost as much time either playing sports or thinking about sports, as he does working on being president. he's a half black american man with two affirmative action degrees. it's probably normal for him to think more about sports than about his actual job.

the duke coach actually commented that it was ridiculous for the president to spend any time doing this while other important matters were at hand.

i note again the hilariously pro-black slant of the US sports media. barack obama doesn't know much about sports, and wasn't good at them either. it's no secret that ESPN, SI, and many white fans themselves, dislike or even openly despite the majority of white NCAA basketball players. yet all of them have done better than barack obama. every white guy sitting on the bench in the NCAA tournament is better at basketball that barack obama. but now, as president, obama's every opinion on sports is important enough to report on. no previous president ever had his opinions on sports instantly and regularly reported on, and some of them were far better athletes.

Anonymous said...

the way a left-handed flyball pitcher might rethink his childhood allegiance to the Red Sox when he realizes that Yankee Stadium is better suited to him than Fenway Park.

I wonder what percentage of iSteve readers understand this compared to other types of web sites. A site that skews both nerdy and traditional American... hard to guess.

Anonymous said...

BTW- was reading Ace of Spades comments on that- man, they almost make me ashamed to be conservative- what an unfunny echo chamber that site has turned into...

I discovered Ace of Spades only maybe a year ago (thanks to Andy Levy), and the comments have degenerated considerably in that short period of time. Most of it has been since last October.

I think it was the election that did it, with Ace & Co. going Bruce Lee on anyone who dared to criticize the McCain/Palin ticket. Thoughtful people who thought little of either got the hell out of Dodge.

Dennis Dale said...

His half-brother Roy was a drunk until he became Abongo the fundamentalist Muslim.
I can't decide which fate is more frightening, becoming "Roy the drunk" or "Abongo the fundamentalist Muslim."
The drastic measures of recovery are as much to be avoided as the addictions necessitating them. Moderation, always, children.

Gen. Sir Charles Napier said...

For the rest of his life, Barack Obama will never work as hard as he did during his campaign.

Anonymous said...

Obama is a narcissist. He needs the "fix" of an adoring audience reflecting back at him his own perceived brilliance and "coolness".

Sitting at a desk having to think hard about problems doesn't offer him the same kind of affirmation, I imagine. Rather, it drains his energy. Unless of course he's sitting there writing about himself.

I can see that he would need an emotional support team around him. After all, narcissism is really just a defense against profound insecurity.

Anonymous said...

Who else besides Steve is worth reading and has comments?

The classical liberal Protein Wisdom site is also very good, esp. Jeff G's postings. (There's also a couple of Catholics [Darleen, Dan] posting regularly there, who get predictably mixed up on stem-cell/embryo issues and the like, and who aren't in Jeff's league anyway, even on topics where their religion doesn't irrevocably skew their worldview.)

Jeff and Steve actually had a bit of a dialog going, a number of years ago:

How the right hijacked the magic words...?

The Race Race

Race Race, Redux

Anonymous said...

BTW, speaking of Catholics, stem cells and embryos, if you haven't seen Carl Sagan's thoughts on the abortion issue, they're very worth checking out:

Abortion: Is it Possible to be both "Pro-life" and "Pro-Choice"?

Anonymous said...

t99 is jealous that O is partying with the babes, whilst he (t99) is waiting to get nuked in NY.

Seriously though, t99 makes some good points. I also think Bush was undervalued. O's behaviour reminds me so much of Mandela. He was glowing on the world stage, whilst those evil whites he shat on kept the country running.

Anonymous said...

Beastmaster - I don't think he was talking about a former President. Think Head of State. Maybe Chancellor?

Truth said...

"every white guy sitting on the bench in the NCAA tournament is better at basketball that barack obama."

Well, I would certainly hope that anyone who got a scholarship to a Division I university to play basketball is better than the skinny 47 year old President of the United States...but then on the other hand, he is a whole hell of a lot better at politics than "any white guy sitting on the bench at the NCAA tournament."

Anonymous said...

For worthwhile blogs with comments, there's also:

David Thompson: Culture, Ideas and Comic Books

Butterflies & Wheels (left-leaning classical liberal, whose overt Palin-hatred has probably receded into the background since November)

Victoria said...

I'm at a loss to understand how anyone knows the details of these guys' daily comings and goings. You know what time a President goes to bed at night? What time he walks into his office in the morning? How much time he spends thinking about sports?

I always picture Presidents meeting with people into the wee hours or, at least, endlessly on the telephone until almost dawn. Which staff member spills the details of these guys' daily lives? Who spilled the details about Bush?

Victoria said...

BTW- was reading Ace of Spades comments on that- man, they almost make me ashamed to be conservative- what an unfunny echo chamber that site has turned into

Aren't there lots of sites like that? Most "conservative" sites, like the current talk show hosts and pundits, are nothing but echo chambers. It's hard to remember now, but the pre-Bush days of the mid-90s was a great time on the net, when conservatives felt free to exchange opinions. Criticism was not only directed at the left, but at Republican politicians, many of whom were viewed as not having the country's best interests in mind. I trace the end of those halcyon days to the rise of GWBush, and the Free Republic's rejection of any further criticism of him.

Anonymous said...

Gen. Sir Charles Napier sez:
For the rest of his life, Barack Obama will never work as hard as he did during his campaign.

He has another one to go. I can't figure out whether it’s going to be tougher than the first one or not. I'm sure the MSM devotion will be as pathetic, if not more so, if that's possible. But maybe some dumb-ass white wimmenz will have wizened up to the fact that O. does not intend to bed them anymore. So the GOP may get a vote or two more the next time.

Anonymous said...

"Danindc said...

BTW- was reading Ace of Spades comments on that- man, they almost make me ashamed to be conservative-"

And yet they have become, in many ways, the face of "conservatism" in America. It is thier like who have pumped up the ratings of FOX news and ninnies like Sean Hannity (who still has Karl Rove on his show, as if the guy were some kind of genius).

Ace himself could often be pretty funny (kind of an uncensored Jonah Goldberg), but the people who post there just come across as being slavishly in thrall to neo-conservative orthodoxy. They complain about illegal immigration, but then will shout you down if you point out that McCain is one of the biggest stooges on the issue.

Bear-in-mind, many who post there are nominal "adults" who seem to be consumed with the latest comic-book movie or video-game release.

You might call their movement "Fanboy Conservatism" - and being a fanboy is apparently as effective at building an electoral block as it is in scoring with girls.

Anonymous said...

testing99 said...

He stoked populist anger, and now must reap the whirlwind.

I don't think so. Unless you have proof otherwise, I consider this a nation of sheep.

Even Dems like Bayh and media people are realizing Obama is both radical and stupid. "Let's charge combat vets for the care they require caused by wounds in combat!"

That is real funny, now they realize what they should have know about Obama. Nice.

albertosaurus said...

I told all my friends my prediction that Obama was unlikely to do very much after he was elected. I based this prophecy on his behavior after he became the President of the Law Review - he wrote no articles, and his legislative history - he authored few bills.

I thought I was dead wrong after all the changes he wrought in his first month as President. Maybe not.

The biggest set of changes were all those spending bills passed in the guise of being a stimulous or bailout. I think these eruptions of federal spending are now being attributed to Pelosi, Reid and a passel of suddenly unfettered Democrats. Obama doesn't seem to have worked very hard at controling congressional spending exhuberance.

If Obama has indeed rationed his time so as to preserve himself - good for him. It's Reaganesque.

I like politicians who don't try to work too much. Eisenhower was ridiculed for playing golf so much that Kennedy - a better golfer - could never be photographed with a club in his hand. Kennedy would have been well advised to have been less activist when The Bay of Pigs invasion was broached by his generals. Eisenhower had heard the same advice from the same generals but had just hit the links. I like a well rested finger on the nuclear button.

The disastrous Jimmie Carter was photographed carrying his own luggage and a pile of briefing books onto airplanes. He tried to master all the details of every federal department. He wore himslf to the pathetic frazzle seen in his famous malaise speech. Overworking himself was just one of Carter's mistakes.

Reagan showed us the right way to be an executive. When the CIA told him that they conducted their briefing at 7:00 AM, Reagan said good, do so, but I won't get there until 9:00. Reagan famously failed to recognize his own Secretary of Housing at a political function. This was one of his finest hours. First because it showed that he didn't bother with inconsequential government funtions. He focused on the Col War, and secondly because housing chiefs so often are prosecuted in a scandal - its never to soon to distance yourself from those housing types.

So if Obama is indeed limiting his work input he will be subjected the same sort of criticism that Reagan endured. To me however recognizing your flesh and blood limits is a mark of wisdom.

Anonymous said...

Oh my God!! We got ourselves a BLACK President!!!!!

Anonymous said...

James -- Obama is if not a crypto-Muslim, certainly prone to constantly refer to his Muslim birth, upbringing, relatives, and so on when addressing foreign audiences.

He's not gone to Church since leaving Trinity a year ago. So much for his Christian background.

Obama certainly DID go to Pakistan one summer while at Columbia, presumably it was not for the surfing or girls. He seems absent at Columbia, Mr. Big Man on Campus at Harvard and Occidental. During this period he had a Pakistani room-mate who's drug use he notes disapprovingly in Dreams From My Father, it's quite possible that his path away from drugs during this period was through a Mosque, which would account for his lack of presence on campus and politics at the time -- Obama being absorbed by Islam.

He certainly lives and breathes racial resentment towards Western culture, and that would not be the first time this sort of resentment has found an outlet in Islam.

Anon -- Obama's work habits have been all over Politico, Ace of Spades, Hotair, as they have been compared both favorably (Dems) and unfavorably (Reps) to Clinton, who was notorious for that erratic, late-night, staff-burnout work pattern.

Moreover, this is NOT the 1880's. Obama's failed to staff up Treasury, so literally there are not enough people to work on the recovery plan that was due in Feb, now pushed back to APRIL. As markets simmer in uncertainty.

Meanwhile Obama wastes time doing personal appearances, campaign-style, Leno, making gaffe after gaffe, and appearing arrogant and out of touch, and critically mishandling key political events as he's tied up trivia.

Obama knew about the AIG bonuses. Presumably he knew they were both required to keep the place running, and politically explosive. He was passive and avoiding of the issue, let Dodd, Pelosi, Rangel and other run the issue, created a big mess, and failed to exhibit leadership to achieve his objective: FIX the markets and clean up the mess.

That's Job ONE for him, and he's having parties and going on Leno and having a good time, instead of focusing on achieving his most important objective.

[Ace: Yeah McCain was a sack of dung. Still preferable to Obama the disaster, if for no other reason than he'd be checked not enabled by a Dem Congress. See my other comment -- elections have consequences among them the Hispanization of America with Obama plus Democratic Congress. Ace at least understands political reality in Congress, instead of pretty lies about how Ron Paul will save us all.]

Recap: Obama COULD just delegate like Reagan or Bush, but that required running things out of the Cabinet offices, fully staffed. Which he has not done. Running things out of his White House Staff, as he is doing, requires constant attention and grueling hours, and requires avoiding staff burnout. Which was what Rove called Clinton's achilles heel -- too much work burned out Clinton's staff and led to churn and lots of incompetents, policy mistakes avoidable.

What you all and PARTICULARLY Steve don't get is that technology makes everything happen FASTER by speeding up communication of events. Only Kaus seems to understand this, and the requirements for staff for political leaders to react INSTANTLY and more importantly, act to prepare for problems before they break.

Anonymous said...

"...let Dodd, Pelosi, Rangel and other run the issue..."

spose there's a reason why u leave out the real culprits...

Anonymous said...

A black American man very interested in basketball: no stereotypes around here, no sir.

Anonymous said...

LOL at truth. you know exactly what i mean. barack obama sucked at basketball when he was in his physical prime.

he is not the authority on sports that ESPN instantly made him once he became president. barack obama rode the bench in high school basketball 30 years ago. if he were white, his thoughts would be irrelevant to ESPN. but he's half black, so now they report his opinions on everything. NCAA football not to obama's liking? story!

if barack obama were white, ESPN would not have done the barack obama bracket show. instead they have filled the time with something else. probably by firing up old footage of christian laettner beating black NCAA basketball players, then starting in with their now standard anti-white message about how laettner was, in reality, a spectacularly bad basketball player, who annoyed us so very, very much by being good at a sport that he had no business even playing. don't white athletes know their place? it's standing on the sideline, cheering for 10 black athletes juggling an orange ball. in general, ESPN now hates white basketball success, and tells us daily that we should hate it too. it wasn't always this way, but it has been for 15 years at least. a timetable that is fairly similar to the US mainstream news media and it's current black = good/white = bad agenda.

on ESPN radio, dan patrick reported that according to SI, the most hated players in the 09 NCAA tournament were:

1 eric devendorf
2 tyler hansbrough
3 greg paulus
4 hasheem thabeet
5 jon scheyer

it is no coincidence that 4 out of 5 players are white. the lone black player was a foreigner. not a single black american was among the most hated. LOL! the NCAA tournament is what, 70% black americans? there is zero chance that a phenomenon is not in operation here.

the phenomenon is the US sports media and the hilariously pro-black slant it now operates under.

Anonymous said...

I watched about 5 minutes of Obama's town hall meeting in California. A woman told him she'd been RIFed. Obama had no idea what she was talking about. She explained "laid off," and he said, "Oh, you got the pink slip." I guess since Obama hasn't had a regular job in so long, nor does he know anyone that has a regular job, terms like "RIF" [Reduction in Force] are unfamiliar to him. He falls back on archaic slang like "pink slip."

BTW, if a Republican president failed to understand what "RIF" means in this context, it would be considered a colossal gaffe, evidence of being completely out of touch.

Anonymous said...

jody, no amount of praise you lavish upon Scots can keep your insipid opinions from annoying the piss out of me time and time again. The so called anti-white conspiracy in sports you constantly reference is vastly over exaggerated. Nobody talks about white NBA players because they are genuinely not good, barring a small handful of European players.

Nobody thinks that Obama is an authority on basketball. But if the current president happens to be a basketball fan and agrees to make NCAA picks, then of course ESPN is going to do a story on it, because it's interesting that the god damned president is going to fill out a bracket, and it will be funny to see how well he does.

Truth said...

"jody, no amount of praise you lavish upon Scots can keep your insipid opinions from annoying the piss out of me time and time again. The so called anti-white conspiracy in sports you constantly reference is vastly over exaggerated...."

The alarm is ringing Jodizo, are you going to wake up...or hit the snooze button again?

m said...

errrr Jody- somewhat have to agree with macsweeney....take a couple of steps back and collect yourself...obama was a decent hs bball player...he also picked a terrible bracket that espn promoted..- I know that is hard to accept but it is often have interesting insights ie. overwhelming hatred of white college players although devendorf is a punk...but your conclusions often go overboard.

btw md to beat memphis today

Anonymous said...

Although his presidency is barely a week old, some of Obama's work habits are already becoming clear. He shows up at the Oval Office shortly before 9 in the morning, roughly two hours later than his early-to-bed, early-to-rise predecessor. Obama likes to have his workout - weights and cardio - first thing in the morning, at 6:45. (Bush slipped away to exercise midday.)

He reads several papers, eats breakfast with his family and helps pack his daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, off to school before making the 30-second commute downstairs - a definite perk for a man trying to balance work and family life. He eats dinner with his family, then often returns to work; aides have seen him in the Oval Office as late as 10 p.m., reading briefing papers for the next day.

Obama probably works a lot, Bush probably worked a lot too. How many hours a day do you think he spends smoking cigarettes, crying on his friends shoulders' and filling out NCAA brackets?

Anonymous said...

If this is Chicago politics, Chicago is one weird town. Namely, Obama picked Gonzaga to beat Illinois in the second round. He should have been even more pessimistic about the Illini, but I was surprised that he didn't show more love for the home state team(they were a fifth seed, Gonzaga a fourth). I think it shows a competitive side. Most Pols(and non Pols for that matter) would probably show much more of a regional bias to their picks. His bracket looks better then mine so I'm not criticizing. Not much time actually working, perhaps the right wing bloggers have actually found the first person to go Galt.

Anonymous said...

Albertosaurus reminds me of one of the few Dave Barry columns I ever read. It was something like Barry's ideal government, where we'd put a mature housefrau and mother in charge of the Executive Branch. Then, a scrum of generals encrusted in brass would come to her, asking for billions to make some new super-mega-weapon. And "Marge" would say, "no."

Anonymous said...

Obama knew about the AIG bonuses.

He promised during the campaign to prevent bailed-out institutions from giving execs big bonuses. So it doesn't matter if he knew or not, because it was his job to know, and prevent them from happening.