Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Shared Language of Sports and Politics

We've often discussed how politics is seen as a sport, so I found it amusing that Bernanke would try to use the Washington Nationals success as an object lesson for the gridlock in Congress, which faces a looming crisis on the debt ceiling once again.  Fortunately, in sports you can be dictator.  A general manager is only answerable to the owner.  Players are bought and sold based on their productivity, and cities are usually left to cover the bills for the lavish stadiums these professional teams enjoy.  So, it isn't a very fair analogy to say the least.  Just the same, Bernanke used the opportunity to boast of his favorite team.

Recently, Obama weighed in on the NFL referee lockout.  Other politicians frequently use sports analogies as a way to identify with their electoral base.  The debate the other night was compared to a prize fight, with a number of photoshopped images to demonstrate the point.  It seems we just can't get away from this, especially in a highly charged election year, where the presidential race is often compared to a horse race.  Here's a good piece from BBC on the shared language of sports and politics.


  1. Well, we do like "winners" in this country, although I always bristle at the use of sports analogies in the news -- gentlemen, this is not a game!

    I think it was in that Fallows story that he noted how CNN called each republican primary debater out onto the stage as if it were a prize fight. Very weird when you think about it.

  2. ... as is the whole debate structure. What I like about European politics is that the leaders have to field tough questions, and are pressed to answer them. The debates, like the notorious interviews, are really nothing more than press opportunities. Very little is said. It just comes down to how well one or another presents himself or herself, and hopefully not forget their prepackaged lines.

  3. Exactly! Which is why Romney did so well in the first debate. Looking forward to the next ones to see if any of that dynamic changes.

    As an aside, I arrived in London to live the first time in the fall and the labor party was having its meeting in Brighton. I was amazed at how they really addressed and argued about issues (and called each other comrade which I had never heard before), and that it was broadcast on BBC.