Since I began supporting Barack Obama in mid-2007, I’ve believed he was more Ronald Reagan than Bill Clinton.? More vision, less strategic.? More governing, less tactical politics.? More transformational, less transitional.? Which means that when Barack Obama is through, this country will be changed for the better, top to bottom.

I’ve also learned since those early days that Barack is a very different kind of fighter.? We’ve taken to calling it the rope-a-dope.? I think it was Tolstoy who said, “the most powerful warriors are patience and time.”? By deploying those two warriors, Barack takes a big risk that some other warrior will get short term advantage.? Sound familiar?

Think of Ali vs. Foreman, the definitive display of rope-a-dope.? By deciding to let Foreman punch himself tired, Ali took the substantial risk that one of those punches would land, and knock him out.? In that fight, patience and time were always on Ali’s side, so long as he stayed committed to it.? The temptation was there, every round, for Ali to exhaust himself fighting back against a younger, bigger, more powerful fighter.? Ali resisted, saving it all up for one, final, decisive flurry of genius in motion.

Watch the last 3 minutes of the fight if you haven’t yet, and listen to the announcer.

This brings me to Evan Bayh.

In politics & governing, sometimes your allies are the ones you have to watch closest.? Sometimes, you need to smoke out the people who aren’t going to be there when the going gets tough.? This entire first year of the Obama presidency has been one long smokeout, to the point that Obama allies are leaving the field in retirement from politics itself.

When those fleeing the field include an ally who Obama had once vetted for vice president, Evan Bayh, that means the going has gotten VERY tough.? Or it says a lot about Evan Bayh, that he would fight so hard for himself to be VP, and less than 2 years later turn tail and run when his country needs him to fight for them.? Politics can be quite clarifying of one’s character, no?

Either way, the hysteria of today’s media environment, and Evan Bayh’s jumping ship, reminds me of how it would have gone down if oddsmakers were allowed to keep giving odds into the 3rd minute of the 8th round of the Rumble in The Jungle.? Just a few seconds later, every one of them would have lost their shirts.

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  • mvirenicus

    i'm willing to admit that stranger things have happened, tim. your analysis might well be correct. but at this time, based on information gleaned from voluminous sources, it appears that obama is listening to all the wrong people; and unless he comes out swinging very very soon, the democratic base is going to remain depressed and the proof will be in the pudding this november.

  • Nifty Lawrence

    The biggest problem with your analysis is boxing doesn't compare at all to politics. For one, Ali never had to worry about mid-term elections.

    But, hey, we all know Obama is a committed & principled guy. In fact, he's taken (at least) two positions on tons of issues — public financing of his campaign, military commissions, releasing White House visitor lists, indefinite detention of terrorist suspects, the public option for health care, the USA PATRIOT ACT, bonuses for Wall St executives, releasing detainee abuse photos, the state secrets privilege & earmarks. To name just some.

  • I wanted to write this post. You beat me to it and did a better job, by far, than I would have done.

    I was only going to focus on Bayh and his Palin-like excuse for quitting.

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