Jobu weighs in on President Barack Obama’s visit to the B.S. Report with Bill Simmons (Apologies for the overused image, it’s the only one I could find).
For those of you who don’t know, Barack Obama appeared on Bill Simmons’ B.S. Report this week. You can read the interview and watch some video clips on Simmons’ Grantland, here. I can’t really think of another time when a sitting President of the United States sat down to shoot the shit with a sportswriter in an official capacity (note, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened). It’s pretty amazing, but I must admit I have a lot of mixed feelings about this. I’ll tell you why.
First of all, let me just say how excited I am for Simmons. I’ve been reading his stuff since I got to Boston College in 2000 and one of my buddies said “Here, I think you’d like this guy. He’s funny.” He was just a local blogger on Digital City Boston of AOL, and he was known as The Boston Sports Guy. Despite his Boston bias (something that still makes me not want to read him when the Red Sox are doing well), I ate his writings up and spread them to my friends from home, and anyone else who considered themselves a sports fan. I remember how happy I was when he was picked up by ESPN.com for Page 2, and have watched his career blossom in the years since. I even own both of his books. Needless to say, and you can probably tell from my writing style, he’s been a pretty big inspiration to what we do here at Jobu’s Rum. I am floored by the fact that he’s now interviewing the President of the United States. I’m sure it’s as much of a shock to him as it is to his fans at this point, and I mean that in a good way.
OK, I just wanted to get that out of the way so as not to slight my favorite sportswriter or his followers in any way. Now on to the business at hand. Do we really need our president bullshitting with a sportswriter? This is the issue I’m very torn on. I understand that we’re in the middle of an election, and any good candidate worth his salt should be fueling up the publicity machine for September. I also understand that a lot of President Obama’s appeal is that he’s kind of like an “everyman.” You can picture yourself sitting down at a bar with him and watching the game with a couple of cold beers. I get that this perception of his personality (and his promises of change, policies, etc) had a lot to do with his successful campaign back in 2008. Let’s face it, to most of America, the Presidential election is a popularity contest (I am not excluding myself from this statement, either). In a way, I think it’s cool that he is a sports fan, and is interested in what goes on in the world of sports.
In another way, I find his appearances on sports related programming a little off-putting. Do we really want to hear what our president thinks of his favorite sports teams? Do I care that he thinks the Bulls are going to win the NBA Championship this season? Do we want our president to sit down with us at the bar and tip back a couple of cold ones?
To be honest, I kind of don’t. I don’t want to get into politics, because that’s not what we’re about here at Jobu’s Rum, but this country is not doing well right now. Reports vary on how well we’re doing compared to four years ago, when President Obama was first elected, but it’s pretty evident that we’re not out of the woods yet as far as the economic crisis goes. One of the big criticisms of this administration is that, after a lot of talk and promises, little of value has been accomplished the last four years. While it’s not fair at all to blame President Obama for this alone, he’s still the guy up front who made all the promises.
Shouldn’t he be in a meeting somewhere fixing the economy? Shouldn’t he be furrowing his brow while listening to an advisor’s plan to fix healthcare once and for all? Shouldn’t he be meeting with some diplomat or another to help our foreign relations? Again, we’re not a political blog, but it seems a little ridiculous to me that he’s laughing it up with Bill Simmons talking about how hard it is to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a major league baseball game when people are losing their homes every day, and unemployment is still a major issue (although it is slightly down, according to Google).
Maybe I’m being too hard on President Obama. There’s nothing wrong with the President having interests outside of politics. After all, he is a human being, and he was one for a very long time before being elected. I love sports, so why shouldn’t President Obama? Hell, former President George W. Bush used to own the Texas Rangers for crying out loud. I voted for Obama in 2008 (admittedly his personality had a lot to do with it), so please don’t think I’m just anti-Obama and just looking for reasons to hate on him. That really isn’t the case. I just want what’s best for society, and despite all congratulations due to Bill Simmons for an incredible crowning moment in his career, I don’t think “the best for society” sitting down for fun times on the B.S. Report.
If President Obama wants to secure his re-election (which I suspect he will anyway), I’d much rather he stick to political shows. Hell, I might even accept him on Piers Morgan or something like that. Talk about the economy, talk about health care, brag about killing Osama Bin Laden, but don’t tell me stories about how you don’t cheat at Golf (you’re not supposed to cheat at anything, Mr. President). He should save that for five years from now, when he has a little more free time on his hands.
Alright, the political portion of Jobu’s Rum is now officially over… Unless Rick Santorum can dunk a basketball. That’s how you debate!
Here’s some video of President Obama on the B.S. Report, courtesy of Grantland:
Interview image courtesy of: Pete Souza/Official White House Photo
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