David Post: Democrats’ team deserved this defeat

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 9, 2014

When you’re losing, take a chance. At least try to win.

Play your best player, even if injured.

1988 World Series. Bottom of the ninth. Behind 4-3. Two outs. The favored Oakland As were leading the Dodgers. Oakland’s star reliever, baseball’s best at the time, was pitching. A walk put a runner on first base. It’s “Casey at the bat.” Up to the plate limped the Dodgers’ leading hitter, Kirk Gibson, with two injured legs. The fans are in a frenzy.  Strike one! Strike two! A moment later, Gibson smacked a home run, gimped around the bases, fist pumping, and propelled the Dodgers to the World Series championship.

1970 NBA championship game. The New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers are tied three games each. Willis Reed, the Knicks’ center and the NBA’s most valuable player, had an injured leg and missed the previous game.  He sat in the locker room as his team warmed up. Just before the game started, he limped onto the floor and the fans erupted. The Lakers were stunned. When he lined up against Wilt Chamberlain to start the game, he didn’t even jump, but he made the first two, his only baskets of the game. He hobbled around for the first half, mostly trash talking to Wilt the Stilt. The Knicks won.

1997 NBA finals. Michael Jordan has flu-like symptoms and a 103 fever. He played, the Bulls won, and he almost had to be carried off the court.

Injured stars want to play.

The Democrats deserved to lose this election. Terrible coaching. Terrible leadership.  Terrible teamwork. Their star player not only sat on the bench; his team didn’t want him to play, and he didn’t beg to limp on to the field. The Democrats didn’t even try to win and in losing, took some of their players down with them.

Republicans told the country how terrible Obama was and how bad the economy was. The Democrats didn’t fight back.

Don Draper of “Mad Men” or any marketing firm — except whomever the Democrats hired — would love to have this story to sell:

Since becoming president at the beginning of the nation’s most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression, this is what has happened:

More than 9 million jobs have been added to the economy.

The unemployment rate has dropped from 10 percent to 5.8.

Federal tax receipts have grown almost 50 percent, from $2.1 trillion in 2009 to $3 trillion in 2014.

Discretionary federal spending, the dollars Congress controls, have declined from $3 trillion to $2.9 trillion. (To be fair, automatic spending — mostly Social Security and Medicare, but also Medicaid and assistance to the poor — has increased more than related tax receipts by $0.12 trillion).

General Motors, the world’s largest auto company, was saved.

The banking system was saved without any depositors losing a dime.

The stock market, and retirement accounts, almost tripled.

Health care costs have risen less than at any time in the past five decades. 

Eight million more people have health insurance.

Mortgage rates are at historic lows.

Housing prices are rising.

A half million more people have jobs since Labor Day.  Wages are up. People have more money in their pockets for this upcoming holiday season.

Who knew? Did anyone tell the voter?

Republicans played “Brer Rabbit and the Briar Patch” with immigration reform, silently watching as the Democrats ignore millions of their own voters.

Would the result have been different had the Democrats played offense rather than play ostrich? Maybe not. Races and tournaments have only one winner. Most contestants prefer to lose trying than to lose not trying.

The voter got two messages during this election: Your leader and his results are terrible — and we agree.

When teams bench their leaders and play to not lose, they lose.

And they should.

David Post lives in Salisbury.