Playing it safe
The Democratic Party lost the 2014 midterm elections last week to the Republicans, and the Miami Dolphins lost its ninth game of the season Sunday to the Detroit Lions. The reason was the same in both cases: The Dems and the Dolphins both played it safe instead of playing to win.
With 3 minutes 47 seconds left in the game and the Dolphins in possession of the ball deep in their own territory, holding a 16-13 lead, they needed to make at least one first-in-10 to run the clock down. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill had been passing well. Did they have him throw? Huh-uh. They played it safe, running on the first two downs, then having to make a first down on a single pass play. The pass went incomplete, the Dolphins punted, and Detroit marched downfield to score a touchdown with 13 seconds left. The same thing happened two weeks earlier in the Dolphins game with the Green Bay Packers.
Of Dolphins and Democrats
Playing it safe is dangerous. Just ask the Democrats. The accomplishments of Barack Obama’s administration were many – so many that Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman called him one of the most successful presidents in our history. Obama’s achievements are listed on various websites, one naming 269. The economy occupies center stage, as he pulled it back from the brink of another Great Depression like that in the 1930s, with job losses mounting, and brought 55 straight monthly increases in jobs, lowering the unemployment rate to today’s 5.8 percent. He became the first president to reform our health-care system, which has provided insurance to many millions of uninsured and lowered health-care costs; ended the war in Iraq and began the drawdown of the war in Afghanistan; guided the elimination of Osama bin Laden; saved the auto industry; slashed the budget; repealed the military’s don’t ask/don’t tell sexual orientation policy; increased taxes on the filthy rich; oversaw the passage of the Dodd-Rank Wall Street Reform act; and on and on.
But the big Republican donors poured money in to demonize Obama at every turn. How do people respond to such trashing? A clue to the answer is in the advertising business: People buy products and services whose names they are most familiar with. The Republicans made a lot of noise, and that’s what the people heard.
When the cock crows four times …
How did Democratic candidates for Congress respond? They ran like jackals from their president. One of them received notoriety for her answers to whether she had voted for Obama. Alison Lundergan Grimes of Kentucky, who ran for Mitch McConnell’s Senate seat, would not tell an interviewer whether she voted for Obama in 2012. As political commentator Tavis Smiley said, Judas denied knowing Christ three times. Grimes shunned Obama four times. And it hurt those Democratic candidates’ chances of winning. The more they avoided any connection with Obama, the lower his poll numbers went, which in turn made the Democrats even more unpopular. If all of the Democratic candidates had trumpeted Obama’s accomplishments, standing by their man, the know-nothing electorate would have learned something, and the outcome of the elections likely would have been much different.
Alison Lundergan Grimes
Play to win
If the Miami Dolphins had aggressively played the game of football and done what was necessary to get a first-in-10 instead of cringing in fear of making a mistake, the final score likely would have been in their favor.
Democrats and Dolphins: a parallel universe.
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