Home / Robert Farley / Bell: A Genuine Problem for Obama

Bell: A Genuine Problem for Obama


I’ll confess that I haven’t watched the video, and I don’t understand most of what people are saying with regards to Obama’s embrace of Derek Bell. Nevertheless, while I’m generally reluctant to launch into rants about “Obama apologism,” this Derek Bell thing really does seem to me to be a bridge too far.  I appreciate that the speech (and apparent embrace) happened in 1990, when Bell was still in the minors and hadn’t fully demonstrated his craptastitude; nevertheless, I would expect that a competent chief executive would note that Derek Bell was simply not the kind of player who should be a regular outfielder for a good organization. At a bare minimum, we should hope that our President will be as smart and capable as Pat Gillick.  It should have been clear to Obama that Bell was a mediocre hitter with poor on base skills, no glove, and questionable commitment to the game.  I don’t think we even need to get into “Operation Shutdown” or Bell’s post-retirement drug problems to realize that this issue opens up serious questions about Obama’s judgment.

This can be taken too far; Derek Bell is obviously no Sarah Palin.  Nevertheless, I doubt that Hillary would ever have made such a mistake. I would like to think that Scott and others could get past their tribal defensiveness and acknowledge that this represents yet another serious problem with the Obama legacy.

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  • Drew

    Ah, I was just about to make this joke in the comments of the earlier thread.

    • Jesse Levine

      Bell’s career is pefectly centrist, which suits Obama fine.

  • Funkhauser

    I think you’re also missing the Breitbart B-team’s main point, which is:

    “Blackity blackity black black black!”

    • Warren Terra

      But Derek Bell isn’t “Blackity blackity black black black”.

      Although I don’t understand all these references to hitting and on base skills. What do these have to do with the career of a man “who can claim five Le Mans victories and although he made his name in sports cars, but has also raced in Formula One for Ferrari and McLaren.”?

  • c u n d gulag

    I can understand him accepting an embrace from Obama.

    But if it was Willard R-money trying to hug him, Bell would have run away, since he never like touching a Mitt.

    • rea

      It is true that Bell, like Michael Jackson, wore a glove on one hand for no apparent reason.

      • Furious Jorge

        Both of these comments are awesome.

  • SpectCon

    Why do leftists feel the need to supply the political right arguments they aren’t making and don’t intend to make?

    Farley, you’re under no obligation to defend Obama, obviously, but you’re missing the point that this isn’t about policy, it’s a campaign attack. What’s worse, it’s a campaign attack based on race-baiting.

    Funkhauser has it right…this is just another attempt to make Obama’s race an issue in an election year.

    Don’t further the race-baiting by engaging them, that’s part of their gambit. And if you do want to engage it substantively, please be sure to couch your words in such a way that they don’t further the race-baiting.

    • rea

      Does engaging them sabremetrically count as engaging them subtantively?

    • Craig

      An old chestnut:

      Steven Wright: I finally got around to reading the dictionary. Turns out the zebra did it.
      [the entire audience, except Homer, laughs]
      Homer Simpson: I don’t get it.
      Lisa Simpson: Dad, the zebra didn’t do it, it’s just a word at the end of the dictionary.
      Homer Simpson: I still don’t get it.
      Lisa Simpson: It’s just a joke.
      Homer Simpson: Oh, I get it! I get jokes!

  • Danp

    It could be worse. He could have hugged Bill Buckner.

  • Derek Bell is infamous in Chicago. And do you know why? After hugging Obama, Barack convinced Bell to be the 20th stirkeout for Kerry Wood’s famous 1998 pitching performance!

    This is at least the 2nd time Obama has sullied the National Pass time!

    • c u n d gulag

      Bowling is the national pass time?

      • “That was Bowling…” Pete Townshend
        “Yeah, I could tell…” Tom Smothers

        • c u n d gulag

          Back then, The Who were WMD’s.

  • elm

    I don’t understand your defense of Hillary. She claimed to be both a Sox and Cubs fan in a craven attempt to prevent anyone in Chicago from being offended. If someone told her embracing Derek Bell would win her votes (and it would not be surprising if Mark Penn identified overpaid out-machines –I’m sorry, Professional Hitters–as that year’s key microdemographic) she would do so in a minute.

    Sure, perhaps Obama truly believed in the value of Bell, but as Scott has pointed out before, it’s their actions that count not what’s in their heart.

  • SpectCon

    The GOP can’t really believe “Obama is a radical” will sell…can they? I mean they also have to complain that he bailed out those firebrands at the major investment banks…cognitive dissonance anyone?

    So….this HAS to be about race, in my opinion. Now, I could pick out a thousands things that show Obama isn’t Huey Newton, but one stands out.

    After Obama promised his daughters a puppy if he won, he undertook a six month search and ended up buying an ‘effing Portuguese Water Dog. I’m white, went to a good law school etc–I think I can speak about knowing whitey–and only one dog comes close in white-affinity: the Labradoodle. Even gap-toothed, hood-wearing, racist bumpkins wouldn’t be seen alive with a Portuguese Water Dog because they’re too blue blood/country club white.

    I’d put money down that Obama has Gordon Lightfoot and Jim Croce on his iPod. Case closed.

    • Bill Murray

      You don’t mess around with Jim

    • Even gap-toothed, hood-wearing, racist bumpkins wouldn’t be seen alive with a Portuguese Water Dog because they’re too blue blood/country club white.

      No sheet:

      The dog is a gift from Sen. Ted Kennedy, who owns three dogs of the same breed, known for high spirits and said to be a good fit for kids with allergies (such as Malia). Kennedy had been lobbying the Obamas to get a Portuguese Water Dog (or PWD) for months.

  • c u n d gulag

    I’m waiting for Mitt to embrace Mario Mendoza, and say, “I’m proving to the other Republican candidates, and America, that I’m as tough an out as Mr. Martinez, here.”

    • Bill Murray

      Santorum would come out against Connie Mack and the $100,000 infield.

      Newt would try to tie Obama to Moses Fleetwood Walker

      • c u n d gulag

        While Mitt demands A-Rod money!

      • gocart mozart

        Mitt was for “Oil Can” Boyd before he was against him.

  • Davis X. Machina

    Sara Palin never received an MBE for her services to tradional Celtic music, either.

    Soft hands.

  • gaz

    The whole thing is ridiculous.

    Nobody will care in a week (other than some freepers).

    The “guilt by hugging”/”guilt by association” thing is giant yawn-fest.

    Bell isn’t even that interesting.

  • Spud

    His SF story “The Space Traders” and the HBO film of it (part of a series called “Cosmic Slop”) was amusing.

    Sure he was extremely mediocre as a left wing racial arguments agitator, but you gotta hand it to someone who can turn his ideas into a genre piece.

  • I clicked through just to see if there were outraged comments by people who only read the headline. And … the internet never disappoints.

    • A nation of Emily Littellas.

      • If only. She at least said “Never mind,” shut up & went away once whatever was explained to her.

  • Charles Giacometti

    It could have been worse. He could have hugged Mike Cameron.

    • Spud

      or Kirk Cameron.

      Although according to the latest rumors he may like that sort of thing.

    • Tom Scudder

      Mike Cameron was a much better player than Derek Bell.

  • Mike Schilling

    It was bad enough being a follower of Bo Belinsky.

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