Politics

Obama wants a second chance

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Three-legged dog wanted second chance.

Obama wants a second chance, too.

President Barack Obama called the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, ostensibly to discuss solar energy usage, and Michael Vick’s name came up.

The President said, according to Eagles’ owner Jeffrey Lurie, that he was glad that the team gave Vick a “second chance.”

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This judge looked an inmate square in the eyes and did something that left the entire courtroom in tears:

“It’s never a level playing field for prisoners when they get out of jail,”  The President reportedly said. But of course the President said he condemned what Vick actually did.

What Vick did to his dogs was unspeakable.  As he was killing them, drowning them in a bucket of water, the dogs wanted nothing so much as a breath of air and the second chance to please Vick. They did not understand that the hand they craved was holding them underwater.  The man is a convicted felon.  Sure, he paid his debt to society.  But his record has not been expunged and it should it be. 

How level does the field have to be for a man with an exceptional gift? Can we expect people we welcome into our lives not to engage in an exceptionally horrific crime.

Who knows what motivates people?  Lurie and the President may have thought this was a win-win.  The President gives his approval of the second chance, which has been controversial, and Lurie leaked that approval to the press.   The President could then score points—primary vote points—with his not only the green voter but with his base.  The President must know that he might have a serious primary competitor.  Or he is attempting to warn a potential competitor, don’t try it because I have the African-American support I need to beat you in the primaries.

He isn’t the first president to see himself as the quarterback underdog, comeback kid, fighter, scrappy, hail Mary, pull it off in the final seconds politician.

The theme of the campaign may be “give this good man a second chance.”  He is, however, taking a huge risk aligning himself with a dog killer. He could alienate many of his supporters who don’t approve of Vick and really believe there are more important issues than the president taking time away from, well, being president of the free world to chat about a convicted dog killing felon.  

But the President has complained bitterly that he has been treated “like a dog,” in the press.  A line that when I heard it and saw it reported, made me very uncomfortable.  

The President had to know his conversation would get leaked to the press.  Is this a deliberate attempt by Obama to appeal to people who actually believe that Michael Vick and the President both got a raw deal?

Exceptional responsibility is not given to exceptional people.  It is earned.

All the conversation has done is keep the Vick issue alive and made an awkward mess of the tired relationship between power, politics and sports.