Thursday, March 19, 2009

Reading Obama's NCAA Bracket (updated)

Obama has caused a lot of stir with his NCAA bracket, and that he even took the time to fill one out. You can view his bracket here. Bloggers have already tried to subscribe personality characteristics and political motives to his picks. One blogger thinks that Obama's picks show a conservative (read: not a big risk-taker), yet pragmatic approach to leadership. On the other hand, Nate Silver uses statistics to prove that Obama chose swing-states in his bracket, obviously politically-minded choices. Personally, I don't give too much weight to either theory, as they are just March Madness picks; let's not read too much into them.

Obama's bracket upset Coach K of Duke for his selection of UNC as National Champions. Saith Coach K:
Somebody said that we're not in President Obama's Final Four, and as much as I respect what he's doing, really, the economy is something that he should focus on, probably more than the brackets.
It has been theorized that this was a political response, as Krzyzewski is a devout Republican, but Obama responded graciously and knowledgeably:
Coach K, I think, is a great coach, and you know Reggie Love, my assistant, played for Coack K, and so, you know, it's not surprising--I didn't take them to go to the finals. Look, you know, he's a competitive guy. I just don't think they've got the inside game to go all the way, but I look forward to him proving me wrong.
Picking up on this non-controversy, Congressional Republicans have agreed with Coach K's sentiments, mocking Obama for taking the time to fill out a bracket and go on Jay Leno's show in the midst of the AIG scandal and economic distress.

Update: The Christian Science Monitor, after reviewing both sides of the blogosphere and looking at the actual video, believes that Coach K was having a light-hearted moment.


Katie said...

For those of us who don't follow NCAA sports but still want to get in on the brackety fun... the Bracket of Evil can be a good time.

The smart money has FOX News over Ann Coulter, but the real test is going to be Walmart v. Exxon.

Game on.

Darren Staley said...

Also don't forget that Obama was endorsed by former UNC coach/god Dean Smith (for the record, I'm a Duke fan).

That said there is an audible groan, even from the most liberal Democrats, that Obama isn't handling the bank bailouts properly, especially in regards to AIG, Geithner, and the understaffed Treasury.

Now, I fill out a bracket every year, even during years when I haven't seen a single game. But there is a perception that someone who fills out a bracket is actively following the sport and especially the tourney.

If I were advising Obama I would have encouraged him, when asked about the tourney, to say that while he generally loves following March Madness he just has too much on his plate right now to make any educated guess.

This would be followed by saying that he is confident that the effects of his economic policy will free him up to follow next year's action more closely.

Such a move would acknowledge the current situation while throwing in a good dose of optimism for the near future.

Again, this is not a big deal to me personally, but in some respects it does look a bit improper.

Also for the record, I'm not a fan of the Leno appearance either.