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.