A big year for the Chicago Cubs

If the Chicago Cubs win the World Series this year, where is there for Theo Epstein to go? I mean, after breaking both the Red Sox and Cubs droughts, what can’t he do? I guess maybe become Commissioner to make baseball popular again. The Sox look great this year, and I feel good about us making the World Series, but I’ll certainly have less animosity than I usually do towards the NL entrant to the series if they’re from Chicago. 

The mastermind behind the Chicago Cubs
I enjoyed reading up the ups and downs of Theo’s career, and how he has managed success and failure. It’s particularly interesting to hear that what drove him out of Boston was the organization’s shift towards entertainment over winning, post-2004. I’ve noticed it, too, in my annual visits back to Fenway. Certainly there were the streak of “splash” signings that didn’t seem to make much sense, but the “pink hat” culture really ha changed going to games there. For someone who wants to see a game (and wants the Sox to win) it’s jarring to see people doing the wave during a big at-bat, or signing “Sweet Caroline” if we’re down three runs. The culture Theo’s built in Chicago sounds like a good one, and it’s clear the patience the Ricketts family had for years is being rewarded.

Overthrow the Debate Commission
I’ll admit that prior to this cycle, the Commission on Presidential Debates was an aspect of the presidential election I hadn’t paid attention to. Now that we’re all learning more about the process that’s in place, I agree completely: overthrow it. I don’t expect the two current parties to encourage additional competition. But I do think that if we’re going to attach such weight to the debates, the rules around them ought to be designed by an independent body with at least the appearance of neutrality, and with revised standards that encourage the possibility of a third-party candidacy. Nate Silver’s proposal on a gradually rising standard of support for inclusion seems to make the most sense to me: give people a chance to make their pitch, and if it isn’t compelling, weed them out.

The subtle threat of the Clinton campaign
Among the many pitches you could make for a presidential candidate, “he’s so terrible it’ll realign the balance of powers” might a new one. Yet, it’s been the most compelling reason I’ve heard — and actually makes me think seriously about casting a vote for a man who is the opposite of everything I believe about the American system. In enumerating the massive overreaches of the Obama administration (a tradition that really even began under Bush post-9/11), The National Review argues that the republican form of government has rarely been so out of whack. I agree. Where there argument takes an interesting turn is that this gradual encroachment of the state is like the proverbial frog being brought to a boil: we don’t realize we’re cooked until it’s too late. The thinking goes that Trump is so completely unfit to be the President, that it would force a recalibration by the courts, congress and citizenry against the executive in a way that would bring the powers back into their appropriate balance. This line of argument makes complete sense, minus one terrifying reality: given their cowardice the past few months, what makes us believe that heretofore reliable conservatives such as Paul Ryan would have the courage to stand up?