In Cambodia, I imagine

by Kieran Healy on October 21, 2004

David Post complains that John Kerry was not at the game to see the Red Sox beat the Yankees:

AND WHERE WAS JOHN? … I’m surprised that there hasn’t been much talk about why we didn’t see Kerry at any of the games. He’s the junior senator from Massachusetts; he’s got a bona fide reason to snap his fingers, get the front row seats, put on his sox cap and jacket, and root like an ordinary human being. What, he doesn’t want the national TV exposure?? Was he worried about alienating Yankee fans? I guess one shouldn’t make too much of what is “just a ballgame,” but really: to his constituents, this is the most important thing going on at the moment; he’s lived and worked in Massachusetts all his life; is he the only person in that category who wouldn’t take free tickets to see these games? I honestly don’t get it, and it does make me wonder about the guy.

Note the pincer movement here. On the one hand, Kerry should have been at the game because that’s what “an ordinary human being” would do. On the other hand, Kerry is not a regular guy, because he’s a senator, is running for President, and he could have snapped his fingers to get front row seats. So, either he snaps his fingers or he doesn’t. He chose not to, for whatever reason, and so leaves himself open on the flank David attacks: “who wouldn’t take free tickets… does make me wonder about the guy” and so on. But say Kerry had snapped his fingers and gotten front row seats, his face on the Jumbotron and the inevitable TV News coverage. What then? It’s obvious. He’d have opened himself up to whinging on just the opposite grounds, viz, “Isn’t it typical of an elitist Senator who hasn’t been to a game all season to just snap his fingers, get front row seats, and try to use the Red Sox’s historic victory as a campaign rally? A classier guy—any ordinary human being, really—would have stayed away and let the fact that the Sox beat the curse have the limelight.” Heads I win, Tails you lose.

{ 26 comments }

1

novalis 10.21.04 at 5:22 pm

Also, if the Sox had lost, Kerry would by association be seen as a loser.

2

Ralph Hitchens 10.21.04 at 5:31 pm

My understanding is that Kerry is a hockey nut, but more a player than a fan — carried a bag around during primary season with skates, smelly uniform of sorts, etc., always ready for a pick-up game.

3

Bruce Wilder 10.21.04 at 6:11 pm

Then, there are the shots of Kerry windsurfing: nobody ever says, whoa!, this is a sixty year old guy, athletic enough to windsurf! No one says, windsurfing is a young person’s hobby, no oh no, its a “rich man’s sport” evidenced supposedly by the pricetag of the equipment, (which most people rent anyway).

4

norbizness 10.21.04 at 6:14 pm

More importantly, how goddamned useless is David Post?

5

djw 10.21.04 at 6:24 pm

I don’t know who the hell he is, but this post provides me with all the empirical data I need to sufficiently answer that question to my satisfaction.

6

KCinDC 10.21.04 at 7:09 pm

More Volokh, less Conspiracy, please. Fortunately David Post doesn’t, much. A few of the conspiracists seem to be under the impression that they’re posting on the Corner or some random Kerry-bashing site.

7

R J Keefe 10.21.04 at 7:40 pm

Sad witness to the fact that this election is really about critical thinking.

8

CW 10.21.04 at 7:46 pm

I too am unfamiliar with DP, but it appears that the VC is suffering a pre-election infusion of partisan hackery, notwithstanding their generally high level of discourse. eg, their newest addition, jim lindgren, apparently an otherwise super-brain, finds the “joke” below funny. and when I expressed concern about the deleterious impact of such drivvel in an e-mail to EV, I got a prissy reply to the effect that he “likes” JL and didn’t consider me “serious” because I labeled various JL postings “partisan crap”. not the most sophisticated description I’ll admit, but inaccurate?

maybe post-election, they’ll go back to boring, erudite legal analyses.
===============
re. debate question “what have you learned from your strong wives?

> … (I’m recylcing a joke I heard last spring):
>
> [What KERRY might have said]: I developed my economic plan for the country from interacting with both my
> wives. Now I just need to find a rich country for the US to marry.

9

jif 10.21.04 at 8:02 pm

Um, John was watching the game with his campaign team in Ohio. There’s photographic evidence even: http://us.news2.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/afp/20041021/capt.sge.tyy14.211004153804.photo01.photo.default-379×269.jpg

10

james 10.21.04 at 8:02 pm

Think World Cup Soccer. Thats how Red Sox fans view beating the Yankee’s.

11

dsquared 10.21.04 at 8:05 pm

Bruce: absolutely! It amazes me that people manage to claim, in the face of all evidence, that windsurfing equipment is prohibitively expensive. Bush’s cowboy boots almost certainly cost more than Kerry’s windsurfer.

12

aeon skoble 10.21.04 at 8:05 pm

Come on, people, it’s not like the identity of David Post is some big mystery. As on most blogs, most of the VC contributors have “about” links — David Post went to Yale and Georgetown, is a law prof, has a JD and a PhD. I just learned this 2 minutes ago, as could any of you. His whole CV is on line. Disagree with his views or don’t, but the “who is this guy?” approach is not only ad hominem, it’s lazy.

13

a different chris 10.21.04 at 8:58 pm

>Um, John was watching the game with his campaign team in Ohio.

But jif, that is a “fact” and therefore is something of value only to those pathetic liberals that occupy the “reality-based” world. David Post has faith that Big John, whatever he did, was somehow sleazy and nefarious, and faith is fact in his world.

aeon- lame, lots of people went to college, you know that wasn’t the question being asked here. But thanks for pointing it out, it amuses me that most of Bush’s base would consider Mr. Post’s CV to be pretty girly.

14

a different chris 10.21.04 at 9:07 pm

>Um, John was watching the game with his campaign team in Ohio.

But jif, that is a “fact” and therefore is something of value only to those pathetic liberals that occupy the “reality-based” world. David Post has faith that Big John, whatever he did, was somehow sleazy and nefarious, and faith is fact in his world.

aeon- lame, lots of people went to college, you know that wasn’t the question being asked here. But thanks for pointing it out, it amuses me that most of Bush’s base would consider Mr. Post’s CV to be pretty girly.

15

a different chris 10.21.04 at 9:08 pm

>Um, John was watching the game with his campaign team in Ohio.

But jif, that is a “fact” and therefore is something of value only to those pathetic liberals that occupy the “reality-based” world. David Post has faith that Big John, whatever he did, was somehow sleazy and nefarious, and faith is fact in his world.

aeon- lame, lots of people went to college, you know that wasn’t the question being asked here. But thanks for pointing it out, it amuses me that most of Bush’s base would consider Mr. Post’s CV to be pretty girly.

16

aeon skoble 10.21.04 at 9:23 pm

Different Chris, I was responding to this, primarily: “I don’t know who the hell he is, but this post provides me with all the empirical data I need to sufficiently answer that question to my satisfaction.” Also this commenter: “I too am unfamiliar with DP, but it appears that the VC is suffering a pre-election infusion of partisan hackery” — first of all, it’s not clear that because he’s criticizing Kerry, he must be a Bush partisan, and second of all, there’s that “who’s this guy?” theme again — so it _was_ the question for some people, and that’s what I was referring to. I wasn’t taking a stand one way or the other on Kieran’s interpretation of Post’s post.

17

Ted Barlow 10.21.04 at 9:27 pm

For the record, I don’t know how well Crooked Timber would stand up against the Volokh Conspiracy on the “partisan hack” scale. Also for the record, that’s mostly my fault.

18

KCinDC 10.21.04 at 9:39 pm

Ted, I think the complaints are about expectations. Maybe things have been different in the past, but I expect frequent partisan posts (and perhaps occasionally what others might call hackery) on CT. They seem more out of place on VC — if they hadn’t been very rare, I probably wouldn’t have started reading VC regularly.

19

dop 10.21.04 at 9:43 pm

I do remember seeing yesterday Kerry explaining why he wasn’t attending the game. (I’ll post a link if I can dredge it up.) But basically, it was along the lines of, ‘at this point, winning the presidency is a far more serious matter, and I’m not going to take my eye off the ball’ (I’m paraphrasing, of course.)

20

djw 10.21.04 at 10:09 pm

Aeon, if I’m looking to David Post for legal advice or academic scholarship, I’ll follow the bloody links. All I’m interested in, however, is interesting and insightful political commentary. And I maintain this post contains sufficient information to assess his likely contribution in that category.

Ted: your self-deprecation is charming, but it’s not close.

21

CW 10.21.04 at 11:07 pm

speaking only for myself:

re hackery, kcindc has it right. as a first time visitor, I have no opinion on CT’s position on the scale.

re.”who’s this guy?”, djw has it right. res ipsa loquitur. not being familiar with a poster’s writing and caring who s/he “is” are different, as anyone not primarily interested in showing off would understand.

22

Jackmomorn 10.22.04 at 8:11 am

I See this as a lose-lose for Kerry. Baseball fans are incredibly loyal, which makes them, across the nation, more likely to resent the winner of the World’s Series. Yet, in Presidential races, the conventional wisdom is that the perceiveed winner will win. Given the Curse, I understand entirely Kerry’s distincing himself from the team’s success. How could one possibily calculate the odds?!?

23

Rob 10.22.04 at 4:27 pm

I’m inclined to think that Kerry’s attendance at a game would be extremely disruptive; lots of secret service, lots of additional bag checks, and what not. This would probably irritate some fans, and that irritation might find its way onto Rush or Fox News.

24

P O'Neill 10.22.04 at 5:36 pm

Howie Kurtz does another toss of the loaded coin:

“By the way, how does Camouflage Kerry have all this time at the end of a campaign to go hunting?”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A47633-2004Oct20.html

25

bryan 10.22.04 at 7:10 pm

john kerry once walked by me while i was eating a pasta salad and he deliberately did not fart directly on top of my food, why not? he’s tall enough. what kind of elitist pansyism prevented him from farting in my food.

26

Jay C 10.22.04 at 7:24 pm

Well, yes, presumably Sen. Kerry does have a few other things on his agenda at the moment that might impact his being able to take off time and pop down to Fenway for a ballgame……
But, just IMO, if he doesn’t make make some sort of effort to show up in Boston for at least one of the Series games…… well, then that would be would be BAD politics, in spades. After all, Presidents come and go: baseball is forever – and besides, as (presumably) a Red Sox fan, who knows when he would get the next opportunity!

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