We were all caught up in various degrees of expectation when Barack Obama was elected in 2008.
Twenty-seven months later our expectations are affected by realities. And many of those realities have statistics relating to them
Unemployment Rate – January 2009 (7.8%), March 2011 (8.8%)
Gas per gallon – January 2009 ($1.84), April 2011 ($4)
US national debt – January 2009 ($10.7 trillion), April 2011 ($14.2 trillion)
Median price of US resale homes – December 2009 ($175,400), February 2011 ($156,100)
US casualties in Afghanistan – 2001-2008 (634), 2009-2010 (858)
Rounds of golf – George W Bush (24), Barack Obama (60+)
Approval rating – January 2009 (63% approve/20% disapprove), April 2011 (47% approve/48% disapprove)
Granted, statistics can be misleading but when combined with expectations they enable folks to react with something beyond uneducated bias.
John Burciaga’s usual columns in the Newburyport Current refuse to face the realities we’ve experienced during the Obama administration. Instead of disputing the statistics, John plays his favorite (only?) card – the race card.
To John, (“Memories of the uncivil war”) those who question the President probably have skin-texture motives.
That brings me to Carl Crawford. When the Red Sox signed the outfielder to a pricey contract in the off-season, the expectations from fans around here were high. After all, Carl had a .295 career batting average and had stolen 107 bases over the last two years.
Unfortunately, Carl hasn’t started out so well this season. In fact, Manager Terry Francona has tried to change him around in the batting order hoping to make him productive.
The home fans haven’t been thrilled, either, after enduring Carl’s .127 batting average and ten strikeouts through the first thirteen games. Some of the fans have started combining their expectations of Carl with his performance and have begun delivering vocal, negative reviews. Some places call that, “booing.”
When will John Burciaga come to Carl’s defense in a column? When will he tell us the horror stories of Louise Day Hicks, Bill Russell, and Jackie Robinson? When will we be told that if Carl’s skin was lighter he’d wouldn’t be booed?
Baloney, John. Like the man you make excuses for, Carl hasn’t delivered. The unfair part is that Carl has only been at it for thirteen games in a 162-game schedule. It’s early for him but Barack Obama has been at it for over two years. From where I’m sitting, he appears to be unconscious to the negative realities he has created here and elsewhere that impact us.
Speaking of unconscious, I was amused to see that Vice President Joe Biden reached that state during the President’s speech on the budget deficit. Some have hinted that his dozed off condition was not a sign of rudeness but actually the shooting of a training film for air traffic controllers.
Seriously, the President has not met expectations and thus earns the negative reviews. When John Burciaga brings skin color into the discussion, rather than performance, it reads like either racism or the effort of someone who has run out of defenses. Which is it, John?
(This article appeared in the April 22, 2011 issue of The Newburyport Current.)