Knockouts. Home runs. Punches and grand slams.
Have you noticed how so much political commentary is spiced with sports terms? More than once before and after Wednesday night’s presidential debate, I heard commentators say Obama was sitting on his lead, running out the clock. I heard he let a fat pitch sail over the plate during the debate.. But most of the analogies were boxing-related. It seems extraordinarily cliched at this point.
Here’s a sample of what was said in the media and blogosphere after Wednesday night’s presidential debate:
New York Times: This debate was a lot more confrontational than the first two, with Mr. McCain repeatedly taking jabs at Mr. Obama.
Josh Marshall, Talkingpointsmemo.com: I’m not sure Obama knocked anything out of the park. But at the end of it, I don’t think McCain landed any solid punches either.
San Jose Mercury News: John McCain was hoping for a knockout punch. He didn’t get it in his final debate with Barack Obama, but he did land some solid jabs.
Ari Melber, Washington Independent: Barack Obama never delivered a knockout punch during the final presidential debate, but it did not matter. Obama won a T.K.O. – defeating his opponent without ever knocking him out.
Chris Cillizza, Washington Post: McCain did not score the knockout blow that many Republicans had hoped but he did land several solid body shots.
(London) Times Online: In the third and final presidential debate, the Republican nominee came off the ropes to charge at his rival and throw a series of punches without delivering the knock-out blow needed to change the result of a contest that – according to polls – is heading for a decisive Democratic victory.
Oddly enough, boxing is a dying sport. Maybe four years from now the analogies will be related to Mixed Martial Arts. Wouldn’t you like to see the very first tapout in a presidential debate?
It isn’t just boxing terms from the commentators, of course. We’ve heard “game-changer” about a billion times in the last few weeks when it comes to this presidential campaign. Will this be a game-changer or that be a game-changer, is there a game-changer out there?
Jaime Regalado, director of the Edmund G. “Pat” Brown Institute of Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles: There haven’t been many game-changers in the history of presidential debates. For there to be a game-changer, somebody needs to hit a home run or commit a balk and neither candidate has done that.
I don’t care if the next president is a singles-hitter or the heavyweight champion of the world. Just get the economy and the country straightened out. Otherwise, you and I may be the ones TKO’d, muttering “We coulda been a contendah” in a daze as we wonder where everything went so bad.