posted on July 11, 2012 09:04
President Obama is the LeBron James of politics.
No one else in the game inspires the same passions – pro and con. No one else has the same political skills. No one else can put as many points on the board – for both sides.
For all the talk about Mitt Romney – his riches, his religion, his political record and his business record – this election will be about Obama.
That’s always true when an incumbent President runs. It’s truer now than ever, given the dramatically different ways Americans see Obama.
When he ran four years ago, he generated more interest and inspiration than any politician in a long time. Even today, he retains the ability – by himself – to fundamentally change the game by bringing in new voters and reshaping the electorate.
By the same token, he inspires more suspicion, hostility and outright hatred than any candidate in a long time. Part of it, of course, is his race. Part is his opponents’ effort to paint him as some kind of alien political figure, a socialist, even a dictator. Part of it is his own distance and diffidence.
Like LeBron James, Obama’s very uniqueness makes it hard to get a fix on him. He seems to operate on another plane. We understand politicians like Romney, because we see them all the time. We’ve never seen another politician like Obama.
Ultimately, as with LeBron, we’ll watch how he performs in the playoffs. Can he come through in the clutch – at the convention and in the debates? Will he rise to whatever crisis may erupt, at home or abroad? Will he look like a winner, one we want to stick with? Or will we decide that his game is just not up to the challenge we face?