Two events in the news bring this to mind. One is the intention of the golf grand Pooh-Bahs to punish Tiger Woods because he objected to a functionary hurrying play in his latest tournament so that his opponent who had a one stroke lead rushed into a triple bogie (3 over par) on the sixteenth hole allowing Woods to catch-up and take the lead.
That Tiger objected to his opponent being rushed was a generous display of sportsmanship that is all too rare these days. Forget all his great wins and remarkable record, in my book it is his finest moment because this fierce competitor revealed his respect for his fellow competitors and a refusal to gloat over what he regarded as a tarnished victory.
Would that the participants in the current debate on health care showed some of the same class. Unfortunately we are witnessing a hard truth that we have yet to cope with: that there is a determined right wing in this countrty that is always playing winter rules and lacks a sense of sportsmanship that is a hallmark as politics at its best.
Compare if you will the Clinton, G.W. Bush Administrations and the first seven months of the Obama Administration. The Clinton Administration was hobbled from its outset by a series of investigations and outlandish charges, including that Bill and Hillary murdered one of their closest friend, Vince Foster. The culmination was the Lewinsky affair which paralyzed the Clinton administration for its last two years.
Yet, the country enjoyed great prosperity during his term, and he had some amazing successes, including bringing a semblance of peace to the Balkans which for centuries had been synonymous with ethnic hatred and political instability – the precipitant cause of World War One being an assassination in Serbia.
The press feasted on his travails.
Then came eight years of the utterly incompetent George Bush Administration which ignored pointed warnings about Bin Laden plotting to attack America, let him slip though our fingers in Afghanistan and lied us into war in Iraq.
In the meantime “regulatory reform” laid the ground work for the gravest financial crisis since the time of the Great Depression.
The media essentially gave GWB a free pass. Mendacity and manipulation in the White House was scarcely noted. The Democrats, cowed by the media, more or less played possum until the 2006 election. John Kerry, when faced with outrageous accusations about his combat record in Vietnam, turned turtle.
And now after seven months of the Obama Administration, we have seen the most vicious attacks since the Clinton era and a media which reports gravely on the most atrocious lies and in a fair and balance manner, giving the lies legs.
Tiger Woods, in giving his opponent his due, was a lot like the Democrats: playing the sportsman. But the Obama opposition is beyond sportsmanship and truth. It’s all winter lies, moving the ball for a better position to destroy your opponent.