Fortunately for Obama, the answer's easy -- he'll be watching the debate, since he's a White Sox fan.
Sen. Obama is an avowed White Sox fan. Asked by the radio hosts about his feelings for the Cubs, he deftly answered: "I’m not a Cubs hater," unlike some White Sox fans.
But, for viewers in Chicagoland (and to a lesser extent, the Los Angeles area), the timing of the debate presents an interesting dilemma because the Cubs-Dodgers playoff game is slated to begin 30 minutes after the Biden-Palin debate starts.
Some readers might be wondering what sports might have to do with the Presidential race. I bring this up because Obama is very much a sports fan, and he was interviewed on ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike show this morning. Some of the salient points got covered in a WSJ blog entry.
HANGING OUT WITH OBAMA
For all the pushback about Obama as an elitist, he's probably the only Presidential candidate in recent memory who actually would be in his comfort zone hanging out at a bar having a few cold ones and just talking sports with the other fans. Dubya's got a rep for being a sports fan, but I view his fandom more along the lines of the corporate fans who watch games while sequestered inside of a glass skybox. I can't picture Bush out in the elements sitting in the cheap seats with the everyday fans.
And unlike McCain (who tried to pander to Pittsburgh Steelers fans by changing his Green Bay Packers/POW story), Obama has clearly declared which teams have his allegiance (i.e., the White Sox and the Bears). And in those interviews (like on Ed Schultz's show, where he always brings up football with Obama, since Schultz is a fan of the division rival Vikings), it's obvious that Obama's knowledge and love of sports is not just a scripted talking point to make him seem more connected with Joe Six-Pack.
MORE THAN AN AVERAGE JOE
But, while Obama can relate to the sporting interests of Joe Six-Pack, his interests and areas of expertise go beyond that of your average Joe Six-Pack. That's why Obama's running for President, and other average Joes are not and should not. Unlike what Palin has been saying, being an average Joe Six-Pack is not a pre-requisite for President, and frankly should be a disqualifier. Call me an elitist, but I want my President to be someone exceptional -- someone with a greater breadth and depth of knowledge about public policy than I have, someone who is exceptionally intelligent, someone who has a strong emotional temperment, and basically someone that I can look up to and say that they are doing something that I could never do myself.
APPLYING SPORTS STRATEGY TO CAMPAIGNING
I've written about this before (one of my previous diary entries highlights how he takes his strategic cues from Muhammad Ali), but I think that Obama's experience as an athlete and as a "student of the game" has applied some valuable lessons to his campaign. This picture dates back to 2004 when he was editing his keynote address to the DNC. The portrait on the wall provides a clue as to what inspires him as he goes into the arena of political combat. (thanks to Begone for hosting this image)
Think about the various approaches to winning a sporting event that he has applied to his campaign.
a well-thoughtout strategy
knowing the rules (e.g., using different campaign strategies for caucuses and primaries)
playing for the long-haul (e.g., not losing sight of the strategic goals for the tactical approach of winning daily news cycles)
knowing when to play defense (e.g., not going all attack all the time like McCain has)
knowing when to play offense (e.g., timing an attack so that it's targeted and inflicts specific damage on McCain)
keeping an even keel -- don't get too high, don't get too low
adjusting the gameplan as conditions change
All in all, I think that Obama has done well for himself by being a sports fan. When he talks sports, you know that he's not pandering. Yet, it also seems that he has applied the approaches to winning an athletic event to also winning a presidential race. After all, it's all just a game, right?
WHAT ABOUT THE WORLD SERIES?
Of course, it becomes MORE THAN A GAME if somehow baseball's post-seasons ends with an all-Chicago World Series. It's actually a serious question, but here's Obama's reply (in jest).
While John McCain suspended his campaign last week amid the financial crisis, Barack Obama threatened Thursday to put his on hold for a reason a bit closer to home: A potential all-Chicago World Series between the Cubs and White Sox.
"I think I’m gonna skip the last week of the presidential race if there’s a cross-town series," Obama joked in an interview on the Mike & Mike in the Morning show on ESPN Radio, as the two hosts laughed in the background. "We’re gonna just be back in Chicago. I’ll tell America: ‘I’m sorry guys, but I’ve got my priorites straight.’ "