Right Question

Asking the right question is usually more productive than trying to prove the right answer.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

How is a Democrat like a Red Sox fan?

In the wake of the Yankees stunning Division-title victory yesterday at Fenway Park, it occurred to me, that the recent difference between Democrats and Republicans bears a striking resemblance to the long-time difference between Red Sox fans and Yankees fans.

I could give a long list of similarities, such as the most superficial: Yankees players have long been required to show up clean-shaven with short hair. Perhaps in reaction to this, star Red Sock Johnny Damon sports shoulder-length hair and a scruffy beard.

But the most telling facet of the analogy is this: for one side, it's personal. Yankees fans love the Yankees, and don't particularly like the Red Sox; Red Sox fans both love and hate the Red Sox, but really, really hate the Yankees. Witness one of the more popular Red Sox tee-shirts: I support two teams... Boston and whoever beats New York. Similarly, it's hard to imagine any Democratic voter waxing rhapsodic over John Kerry, but ask him about George W. Bush and watch the emotions explode. Howard Dean who hates Republicans and everything they stand for is the proper spokesman for this party, which hates Republican officials far more than it loves Democratic ones.

In contrast, I can well recall, growing up in a staunch Yankees household, rooting for the Red Sox when they played teams from the south or midwest -- loyalty was by geographic proximity, not passionate personal hatred. This seems much more like most Republican loyalties -- which depend on "proximity" to one's own policy preferences, not party identification.

Much of this could just be human nature in response to a series of electoral defeats. The recent rise of the Red Sox hasn't yet banished the ghosts of generations of heartbreaking losses and trans-generational legends of the "Curse of the Bambino." For comparison, most Democrats can still recall the end of the multi-generational domination of our national legislature, and combined with two heartbreakingly-close Presidential elections... could we be witnessing the start of the trans-generational legend of the Curse of the Lewinsky?


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