Monday, July 06, 2009

Bye Sarah, We hardly knew you

I was in Traverse City Friday when I got a call from my friend CJ asking what I thought of Palin's announcement. Since I hadn't seen the TV I had no idea what he was talking about and I was shocked when he told me she was resigning. Her actions have created quite a buzz in Republican circles ranging from criticism to praise. Here is my take:

Sarah Palin is most concerned about Sarah Palin. In her speech she talked about Alaska and how her resigning was good for the state. The reality is that she is no longer having fun being governor and therefore moving on. Granted she has received a lot of bad publicity but unfortunately, like her resignation, she mostly brought it on herself. She was the one who agreed to run for VP while knowing that her teenage daughter was pregnant. Did she not think that the media would care about that? She is the one who reportedly refused to prepare for her interview with Katie Couric which ended in a disaster. And now this.

Did she really think she would get positive coverage for quitting in the middle of her term? And the way she framed her announcement was preposterous and pretentious. If she was intent on resigning, the least she could have done is make the announcement with dignity and class. Most people would give her some slack if she simply said I am tired of the spotlight and being dragged through the mud and I want some time away to rebuild my family. Instead she turned her resignation into a badge of honor and noted how she was inspired by her visit with the troops. I am sorry but those troops don't quit when the going gets tough. They don't go home halfway through their deployment. If anything, her visit with them should have inspired her to stay the course. After all, wasn't her claim to fame that she was tough minded and could take on the establishment? Apparently not.

If she was really interested in helping Alaska, she should have dropped the pretense of running for president and focus on accomplishing reforms before she left office. Instead with dropping poll numbers and a tumbling economy to contend with she somehow decides it's in the best interest of Alaskans for their leader to give up and go home. It doesn't make any sense. As for her presidential aspirations, as my New York friends would say "forget about it".

One of the criticisms of her last year was that she was untested and not ready to be President. Quitting the one job that will give her the necessary experience and skills to become President is not the right plan. If she can't take the heat of Alaskan politics how is she going to handle being the leader of the free world? Leaving the Governor's office early does little to inspire confidence or build her already thin resume. She could have used her time in office to learn the issues and sharpen her ability to govern. She could have demonstrated the type of leader she would be for the country by her actions in Alaska. Well maybe she just did that.

Now what is she going to do? Write a book or join the talk radio/Cable TV circuit. Yes they pay more but they don't help prepare someone for the presidency. In the end her demise is hardly a disappointment. Less than a year ago most people in the lower 48 states had never heard of her. And outside of the first few weeks of the campaign her performance was less than impressive. With Sanford's trouble and now this, somewhere Mitt Romney is smiling.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

The Pistons

I have been a Pistons fan for a long time. I grew up cheering for the bad boys and enjoyed the past several seasons and the 04 championship. That's why it is so painful to watch what is happening to the team.

Joe Dumars is making a lot of suspect decisions lately; from hiring Michael Curry last year to passing over Dejuan Blair to draft a 6'11 kid who weighs less than I do and wasn't even the third best player on Gonzaga. Now he thankfully dumped Curry who was the worst coach in the league but then to counter that smart move he just signed two middle of the road players to expensive long term contracts.

When the Pistons unceremoniously shipped off Billups it was supposedly to free up cap space so they could sign a big time free agent. Did anybody have Ben Gordon in mind as that premier free agent? Yes he is a scorer but he is also a ball hog and a terrible defender. For every three he jacks up he gives up two layups. But that isn't the worst part, he plays the same position as Rip Hamilton and let's face it Hamilton doesn't much like sharing his minutes. Just ask Curry and Iverson.

In addition to Gordon the Pistons signed Charlie Villaneuva who is a lackadaisical forward who even Milwaukee didn't want. And the Bucks are not exactly overflowing with all stars. Yes the guy has talent and it's tempting to think he might put it all together but he hasn't done it so far and there is no reason to believe he will ever reach his potential. To me he is a younger, less talented Rasheed Wallace but without the defense.

After these two signings, the roster is now officially a mess. They have three shooting guards because Stuckey is not a point guard no matter what they say. Then they have two small forwards in Prince and Villanueva plus the last 5 draft picks who may or may not work out. But there is no proven point guard and our big guys consist of only Maxiel and Kwame Brown. It might be the worst front court in the league. Add to the mix that the defense and rebounding that has been a hallmark of the Pistons is virtually gone. This reminds me of when the Steelers tried to become a passing team and skimped on the running game. That didn't work out and neither will this.

The best hope for Pistons fans is that they deal Hamilton for a big guy like Chandler or Okafur and both are realistic possibilities. I have been down on Hamilton for several years. Mostly because he complains every time something doesn't go his way but also because he is easily replaceable. There are a lot of guards who can hit a mid range jump shot. I would even consider tossing in Prince if they could land a better big man like Bosh or Stoudamire. Prince has been solid and I like him but he has capped out his potential and simply put; he is not an all star.

Hopefully I am wrong and Joe D's moves will pan out. But I am not optimistic.