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Obama the Boxer vs. Blago the Brawler

obama-aliOkay, I admit it, I’m a boxing fan.  Not that I enjoy watching grown men and women pummel each other’s faces into unrecognition, per se; next to making up words, observing the ritualized human drama of mano a mano (hand to hand, not man to man) competition play out in the structured, regulated and supervised environment of the boxing ring is just plain fun.  More honest than wrestling, grittier, more real and less time consuming than a soap opera, and minus the gratuitous sex, boxing is a curious, yet entertaining  mix of theater and thuggery.  I like it.

It’s a simple sport; there are only four kinds of punches; jab, hook, uppercut, and straight right (or left, depending upon whether the boxer is a right-hander or southpaw.)   While boxers are required to be matched according to weight, the best fights feature fighters of comparable experience and skill. Since the rules are basic, (don’t try to kill your opponent, don’t bring anything into the ring to hit him with, like a bat, don’t hit him in the nuts) and those that aren’t standard are negotiable per fight, the most crucial element, in any match, is style.

Again, we’re talking simplicity simplified, here.  There are three basic styles of fighter, imho; “boxers,” guys not concerned with knockouts, content to win on points, primarily throwing flicking, annoying jabs in an attempt to keep the other guy preoccupied  to the point that he can’t mount an offense of his own.  Boxers are skilled at defense, bobbing, weaving, dancing out of the way of punches, all the while sticking their fists in the face of their opponent, but not really trying to hurt him, either, often because they know they can’t.  In fact, boxers don’t want anybody to get hurt, least of all themselves, if they can “hit, without being hit” they’re happy.  It’s even likely that boxers can’t “take a punch,” that’s the reason they’re “boxers,” not “fighters.”  While they may be considered textbook technicians and strategists, and their showy “flash and dash” can delight casual boxing observers, they are pretty much despised by purists and real fans alike, who prefer their champions be a little more rugged, willing to “mix it up” once in a while, and not prissy, wussy, light punching “rabbits.”

Then there are the “punchers.”  These guys are one-half step up from Neanderthal; they want to hit, and hit hard, anywhere, face, body, doesn’t matter; if they hit you, you’ll be hurt.  They often have no defense at all, they don’t need it since they seem to not only be impervious to pain, they enjoy it.  They’re usually not fond of the jab, might not even know how to throw one, the hook, uppercut, right hand, and whatever punch they make up at the spur of the moment in the heat of battle is just fine, thank you,very much.  “Throw hard with bad intentions,” if you miss, do it again.  “He can run, but he can’t hide,” at some point in the match, the “boxer” is going to run out of real estate, energy, or both, then the “puncher” will hit him with the force of a sledgehammer, and the fight will be over.  Whatever punishment is inflicted or received before that is irrelevant.  That is how a puncher “thinks,” that is how he wins, that is how he plans to win.

The style most fans and purists prize most is a combination of the two former ones, the “boxer/puncher.”  This guy knows how to avoid being hit, but if he is, he’s perfectly capable of “shaking it off,” and coming out swinging.  He’s not intimidated by a “puncher,” he can take it, plus, he’s got a fair bit of power in his own hands.  A “boxer” poses no problem for the “boxer/puncher” either, he’s just as skilled both defensively and with the jab, and his is more stinging than annoying.  Also, his “power punches” are often just as devastating as a pure “puncher.”  He’s a thinking man’s fighter, possessing a wide array of skills, he can formulate a strategy to exploit just about any other fighter’s weaknesses, nullify his strengths, and effectively counter with his own.  This is the guy fans and purists love, and opponents fear.

Politically, Barack Obama is a “boxer.”  Since fans enjoy watching the “sweet science,” his ability to avoid trouble has been more than enough, so far.  His  flashy “bob and weave” technique is fun to watch; the trouble is, he hasn’t yet been really hit.  Until now.

Rod Blagojevich is a “puncher.”  In fact, he’s a street brawler with gloves on.  “Style, shmyle, let’s get it on” is his motto.   His blunt, brash, no-nonsense, “whaddya got, whaddaya want?” approach has always gotten him into trouble, and has been easy for Obama to nullify in the past, all the while playing to the crowd, showing off his political dancing skills, and avoiding the clinches.  In fact, when Obama, knowing Blago came into the ring already bloodied by the investigation into his bludgeoning style, employed his “juke and jive” technique of peppering Blago with jabs by dangling Valerie Jarrett as a potential successor for his vacant Senate seat, then snatching her from contention before abruptly making his resignation official, effectively  maneuvered Blago into the corner right before he got hit with the right hand of arrest, it looked like Obama might be a boxer/puncher after all.  Thinking he had delivered a knockout from the accumulation of punches,  followed by the impeachment blow to the gut, and that his opponent was headed out of the ring on a stretcher, Obama allowed himself a brief, poor man’s impression of the Ali shuffle as victory dance.

And got sucker punched.

Hot Rod lunged off the canvas and caught Obama with a head ringing blow just barely above the belt by appointing Roland Burris to Obie’s seat in defiance of just about everybody.   Obama’s supporters, who were heading for the exits, his cornermen, who were headed into the ring, forgot to wait for the count of ten.  All seemed stunned, both that Blags had it in him, and that Obama wasn’t invincible, after all.  Hadn’t Blago heard them declare him dead in one voice?  Didn’t he know he had lost every round on the scorecards?  How did he muster the strength to get up off the floor and throw a haymaker?  They know the game, and they know that wasn’t a lucky punch. That was boxing.  How come Obama the “boxer” didn’t see it coming and get out of the way?  How come the ref didn’t stop the fight?   And more importantly, what do they do now?

Right now, the bell has rung between rounds and the Obama team, with the help of the ref and the timekeeper, are trying to keep their guy on the stool until his cobwebs clear, and they can come up with a winning scenario even the cynical boxing/political public will buy.  They’re also kicking themselves for forgetting that pure “boxing” doesn’t always win fights, for not considering that their guy might have a glass jaw, and  for not knowing that a “puncher” who can “box” will beat even a “boxer/puncher” every time.    Sometimes, with just one punch.  That’s why, when you beat a guy down, it’s best for all concerned to finish him off.

That is, if you can.

*Note: I wrote this post a couple of days ago, but was reluctant to post it here for fear that the subject matter might not be everybody’s cuppa.  But in light of the Chicago Tribune revelation that Rod Blagojeveich was indeed once a boxer, I figured it might now be appropriate.  Interestingly, by stressing his preoccupation with his hair, and his tendency to keep his hands over his face in the ring, the Tribune writer deliberately attempts to portray Blago as a vainglorious wimp without providing any substantiation, like, say, his Golden Glove record.  I seem to remember Muhammad Ali combing his hair in the ring after every fight, and being criticized for not keeping his hands up, but overall, people seem to think he was a pretty good boxer in his day.

66 Responses

  1. Just read the other day that Jack Dempsey enjoyed testing his opponents by punching them hard in the family jools to see how long it took them to recover. Blago can’t use this tactic on Barry for obvious reasons: it appears there ain’t nothing down there under the emperor’s robes. Blago would be better advised to take on that vast coterie, including the MSM, which currently serves as protective padding and camouflage for The One.

  2. Well, Blags has thrown a couple of jabs of his own; the first was his heads up to Willie Brown that Team O was pushing Jarrett while he (Blago) preferred Lisa Madigan (he wanted her out of his hair, ha, ha) and the most recent, the dime drop that Reid nixed all the black guys.

  3. Obama ain’t no Cinderella Man

  4. Cinie,

    The DC denizens are going to have to get used to “the chicago way” now. I don’t think they’ll know what hit them.

  5. I hate to hijack the thread or go off-topic but I just read this:

    WASHINGTON – New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson on Sunday announced that he was withdrawing his nomination to be President-elect Barack Obama’s commerce secretary amid a grand jury investigation into how some of his political donors won a lucrative state contract.

    Richardson’s withdrawal was the first disruption of Obama’s Cabinet process and the second “pay-to-play” investigation that has touched Obama’s transition to the presidency. The president-elect has remained above the fray in both the case of arrested Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and with the New Mexico case.

    A federal grand jury is investigating how a California company that contributed to Richardson’s political activities won a New Mexico state contract worth more than $1 billion. Richardson said in a statement issued by the Obama transition office that the investigation could take weeks or months but expressed confidence it will show he and his administration acted properly.

    “But I have concluded that the ongoing investigation also would have forced an untenable delay in the confirmation process,” Richardson said. “Given the gravity of the economic situation the nation is facing, I could not in good conscience ask the president-elect and his administration to delay for one day the important work that needs to be done.”

    Richardson said he will remain as governor and told Obama, “I am eager to serve in the future in any way he deems useful.”

    The announcement came ahead of Obama’s Monday meetings with congressional leaders on a massive economic recovery bill he wants lawmakers to pass quickly.

    Obama said he has accepted Richardson’s withdrawal, first reported by NBC News, “with deep regret.”

    “Governor Richardson is an outstanding public servant and would have brought to the job of Commerce Secretary and our economic team great insights accumulated through an extraordinary career in federal and state office,” Obama said. “It is a measure of his willingness to put the nation first that he has removed himself as a candidate for the Cabinet to avoid any delay in filling this important economic post at this critical time. Although we must move quickly to fill the void left by Governor Richardson’s decision, I look forward to his future service to our country and in my administration.”

    A person familiar with the proceedings has told The Associated Press that the grand jury is looking into possible “pay-to-play” dealings between CDR Financial Products and someone in a position to push the contract through with the state of New Mexico.

    State documents show CDR was paid a total of $1.48 million in 2004 and 2005 for its work on a transportation program.

    Richardson ran against Obama in the Democratic presidential primary, but withdrew after a poor showing in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.

    He is one of the most prominent Hispanics in the Democratic Party, having served in Congress and as President Clinton’s ambassador to the United Nations and energy secretary. As governor, he has kept up an international profile with a specialty in dealing with rouge nations. Obama also considered him to be secretary of state.

    CDR and its CEO, David Rubin, have contributed at least $110,000 to three political committees formed by Richardson, according to an AP review of campaign finance records.

    The largest donation, $75,000, was made by CDR in June 2004 — a couple of months after the transportation financing arrangement won state approval — to a political committee that Richardson established before the Democratic National Convention that year.

    Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy! 🙂

  6. uh-oh…my comment at 2:28 is in moderation.

  7. Bostonboomer, I think the D.C. establishment was comfy with Obama’s version of the “Chicago Way,” but were too blinded by his light to realize that by taking him in, they opened the door to the seedier (majority) side of Chicago and Illinois politics.

  8. Very interesting. Thanks. I like sports analogies. Just the other day it occurred to me that there was a substantial difference between baseball on the one hand and football and basketball on the other hand. In both football and basketball, two opposing gangs try to steal something from each other. Football seems more like infantry charges, basketball more like special ops. Baseball doesn’t involve stealing, except for stealing bases, and is more like an orderly contest. But two gangs stealing from each other–that’s what the US of A has become, in large part.

  9. When is the “O” going to tell Richardson the resign as NM gov?

  10. I love boxing too — ever since I first saw Raging Bull I’ve been hooked. Great analysis! I really enjoyed it.

  11. Richardson stepping down due to grand jury investigation. The pendulum is starting to swing back. In 4 years it will be hard for the Democrats to extricate trhemselves from the stench of corruption. That’s what they get from taking their leaf from the GOP playbook.

    God what I wouldn’t give for a third party that actually kept their hands clean.

  12. CWaltz, in Chicago, Democrats have always been corrupt and in charge.

  13. Now here is the Soap Opera Title:

    WASHINGTON, D.C 20500

  14. So glad you reposted this !! I am gonna repost my coment too 🙂 I love your writing 🙂

    Boxing is far from my favorite sport . OK I hate it .. two grown men in a ring pummeling each other senseless ,is well, senseless to me . But I loved your verbiage and every last verbal punch you just threw .Wow ! what a knockout post !! Your verbal fistiana paints the canvas ( rather than kisses it ! ) with quite a picture The vision of bo in the corner, reeling ; and almost falling off the stool from the sucker punch he did not see coming is a wicked and delightful combination . Let us hope if bo manages to get up, Hot Rod throws him the Sunday Punch he so dearly deserves

  15. oh, and thanks for the LaMotta clip!

  16. Thanks Swanspirit. There’s a saying in boxing that “the most dangerous punch is the one you don’t see coming.” Even if it doesn’t knock you out, it exposes cracks in your defense. That’s the danger for Obie and the Obacrats. Even if they manage to gang up on and defeat Blago, the rest of the world can now clearly see his/their weaknesses, and possibly exploit them.

  17. angienc2, I thought La Motta/Robinson was appropriately illustrative.

  18. afrocity, how ’bout “Lifestyles of the Low and Slimy?”

  19. Don’t you fight to win? Did somebody forget to tell Blago the fix was in? Shall we all buy stock in popcorn companies?
    Is this a 10 round fight? My money is on Blago.

    How is your mom? Did they find out what the problem was?



  20. Yo, Andrienne!!!!

    My money is on Blago too.

  21. “Senate Dems prepare to clash over Burris appointment.”


    There will be no speaking for this party in 4 years.

    This reminds me of the Rocky marathon a few days ago. It wouldn’t end and he ended up broke in the Bronx.

  22. Thanks for the release, whoever did it.

    Back on topic, I loved how NQ portrayed Harry Reid as Wallace blocking the school house door. What the hell are the Dems gonna do? They are so screwed! 😆

  23. Regency, LOL!!!!!

    I watched that Rocky marathon.
    Ashes to Ashes…

  24. I just commented on a new thread Sunday: Double X and now it’s nowhere to be found………………

  25. Why is Richardson suddenly withdrawing? This investigation has been known all along, hasn’t it?

  26. I seem to remember that in Dempsey’s day there was no “neutral corner” and many of his opponents were knocked out while trying to regain their feet.

  27. I believe even more that, once Blago “Trumped” Obama & crew with Burris. They turned back to Caroline Kennedy & NYS’s Clinton seat.
    All the media was full of “You Know’s” & Paterson is leaning against her.
    Suddenly Speaker Silver comes out & she’s BACK IN.
    Ugh…………….. “I hate politics”!!

  28. When a politician proclaims his innocence while announcing his retirement/withdrawl/resignation then he’s GUILTY

  29. myiq, “protect yourself at all times” had to come from somewhere.

  30. Has Richardson resigned?

  31. myiq2xu, on January 4th, 2009 at 3:02 pm Said:

    When a politician proclaims his innocence while announcing his retirement/withdrawl/resignation then he’s GUILTY

    Yeah, you rite!

  32. afrocity: He’s withdrawing his name from sec’y of commerce.

  33. Might Richardson have been able to ride it out if not for the negativity of the Burris/Blago mess the Obacrats allowed to fester?

  34. I see Hilary looking over the headline of Richardson withdrawing. She puts down the paper and Hilary says to no one in particular:

    That’s Karma, Bi-atch.

    Bill looks up and smiles knowingly.

  35. afrocity
    At No Quarter they are using the phrase
    “As the Hot Rod Turns”
    There is an old mystery story about people in a house and each one disappears called “10 Little Indians”
    At the rate backtrack’s bunch are going down may it should be called” 10 Little Indians on Speed”
    The funny thing about this whole mess is they make “the gang that couldn’t shoot straight” look intelligent.



  36. Sorry went off topic. Just love seeing the Obots get theirs and so soon too. Can’t wait to see who’s next.

  37. They’re after Hillary know, claiming that she earmarked $5 million for Rob Congel’s highway something or other in return for some donation to something. I’ve honestly forgotten the details.

    They were never gonna make this easy.

    James Carville: Bless yo’ heart, Judas. Bless yo’ heart.

  38. Too many “pundits” over look one thing about Blago. The “Political” elite have been hunting his scalp here in Chicago for YEARS!

    They were truly pissed when he gave a Tax break and free CTA rides to the Elderly. They were Up In Arms when he gave children “FREE” medical care!

    The came after him when he tried to eliminate most of the “PORK” from the budget.

    Say what you will about Blago…I believe this is a “Political” witch Hunt and that there is MORE to this story than is being told!

    The Madigan Clan has been after Blago for years! Mell and his cronies DESPISE him!

    Believe it or not…Many of the “Common” folks do like him! Do not believe all you read in the “National” and the “Conservative” Tribune Media!

    I think Blago will beat this rap…I am of the Opinion that Fitz shot his wad to protect someone higher up!

  39. TW: This has Big D’s finger prints all over it.

  40. I will be schadenfreuding as long as the carnage is confined to the corrupt Obama/Chicago/DNC cabal.

  41. “I am of the Opinion that Fitz shot his wad to protect someone higher up”

    Great mind think alike, Dragon. Now WHO could Fitz possibly be protecting that higher than a sitting governor?


  42. Torch….

    Check out my site…RedDragon62@Blogspot. I wrote a piece on just that subject!

    Sorry River….i couldn’t help some shameless self promotion.

  43. I’m waiting for Andy Sullivan blame Hillary for Judas Richardson’s demise.

    You know he was on her “enemies list”

  44. Torch….

    Check out my site…RedDragon62@Blogspot. I wrote a piece on just that subject!

    Sorry River….i couldn’t help some shameless self promotion.

  45. I was too out of Character for Fitz to do what he did Torch!

    He IS protecting someone and we all know who it is!

    Fitz NEEDS Obamasiah….He has greater aspirations. He will run for Gov…WATCH!

  46. It

  47. I’ll go with Blago too. He looks like someone you wouldn’t want to cross. And if he lands a solid one, you’re gonna be in a world of hurt. Let’s hope he nails Obama but good. I don’t like boxing but this is a match I’d pay to see! Of course I guess that in the end we’ll be paying through the nose.

  48. TorchWood, are you a Torchwood fan?

  49. Just got an email from Terry McAuliffe announcing his run for governor of VA. So I sent him $10.

  50. I don’t know about Blago, but my money is definitely on his wife — whooza! I wouldn’t cross her for all the tea in China.

  51. Angienc2:

    Blago’s wife Patty is a VERY strong Woman! I would not want to be on the receiving end of her anger!

    She can hold her own.

  52. Just think…a year ago (ish), Richardson was watching a football game with his pal Bill and everyone wanted a piece of him. And this year…oh how the mighty have fallen.

  53. Cinie,

    Isn’t Muhammed Ali a “boxer?” But he could stand up to a good punch. I don’t think Obama is even a boxer. He whines and cries everytime anyone lays a glove on him. I think he has a glass jaw.

  54. Sophie,

    John Kerry didn’t get much return on his efforts. And he let Obama speak at his convention and gave up his entire mailing list.

  55. Bostonboomer, I think a lot of Ali’s opponents tried to dismiss him as “just” a “boxer,” but, guys like Frazier and Foreman found out there’s a price to pay for forgetting Ali was the same Clay that knocked out Sonny Liston, the brute, and kept him on his stool after a beat down. Both Ali and Ray Leonard took and delivered a much better punch than foes gave them credit for.

  56. So, is there anything to the Congel/Destiny, Inc. donation to WJC’s foundation or is this more media horse crap?

  57. good article swanspirit.
    i really enjoyed it.
    i.m bettin on blanco

  58. Nobody trusts a traitor.

    If he’ll betray them, he’ll betray you.

  59. Comparing BO to Ali: It’s one thing when you THINK you’re the greatest because everybody has told you so. It’s another thing to KNOW you’re the greatest because you’ve proved it–over and over again-including in the ring of social justice.

  60. excellent and well written post cinie.

  61. I totally expected Blago to do what he did with the appointment and can not believe that Obama, Reid et al did not expect such a move. But I think their failure speaks to their entry into the DC bubble. This is all about arrogance. I also was not surprised when Blago told about Reid’s contacts with him and his maneuvering to stop JJJr. , Emil etc. You can bet that none of that was done without some knowing involvement of O’s folks. This should help to throw the Black Caucus and the Dems into opposite corners of the ring. It is just too funny for words.

  62. Think they can make it to Jan. 20 without a dust-up? The inaugural balls could be special fun this year.

  63. Thank you again for such exquiste REAL journalism.

    Whew. Such writing. Cinie, me thinks you are a journalist, m’dear.

    Thank you for being here in this haven of thought~!
    It is such a pleasure to real “the new journalism” at the Confluence
    among friends!

    And one wonders why the papers are going broke?
    Could it be that the writing just isn’t being penned by actual scribes?


    I learned that one from RD!

    I bow before your pen.

  64. Helenk

    They did a bunch of tests all have been negative(There was some concern that she took too much medication). They, at this point, think it was a stroke even though the CTs came back negative. My sister says she was a little more coherent and not so much out of it today. Yesterday she was really disoriented and did not want to go to the doctor. Then again, she’s not a big fan of doctors anyway. Her primary care doctor wanted her to get an ultrasound of her legs because they thought she had a clot. She’s only 60 but has already had two small heart attacks.Stubborn thing didn’t want to go and she is almost an immovable object when she gets something in her head. She doesn’t take care of herself either. My stepfather is gone and my siblings are grown so she figures life is over(I’ve tried telling her to get some help coping with the change from being full time caretaker to husband and children but again it is like talking to wall). It also doesn’t help that she is on the lower end of economic rung. She can’t survive on reduced Social Security and her body really can’t tolerate the 12 hour shifts she works(Shes a property clerk at the county jail). it’s a big mess. I feel for my sister because she has been doing the bulk of the legwork when dealing with mom and my brother, who seem to feed off each others feelings of hopelessness. I am hoping that my sister takes my advice and gets social services involved to take some of the stress off her and maybe get them some of the help they might need since somethings got to give there needs to be a transition.

    Sigh. It would be easier if I were in Florida, but then again my family would also probably drive me crazy if I were closer (my mother is an expert in guilt 101 and treats life like a walking soap opera). Heck, she doesn’t even have to be here and I feel bad for typing that and thinking it aloud.

  65. Cinie,
    I wanted to say that I almost never read about boxing. I don’t like anything much about it.
    (Except for Cassius Clay/Mohammed Ali who was brilliant and beautiful and an artist at the sport. I watched him box in the Olympics and never missed a match if I could help it.)
    But this post – your writing – was brilliant and I read through to the end. (Never happens when it’s about boxing) It (your writing) reminded me of watching Cassius Clay box. (yes, i’m that old) I wouldn’t have missed this for the world. Thank you.

  66. Cinie,

    What fun! And so apt.

    Your real first name wouldn’t be Joyce, by any chance?

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