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SuperMouse's avatar

Was Obama picking brackets on ESPN inappropriate in the face of all the current turmoil?

Asked by SuperMouse (30809points) March 17th, 2011

President Obama appeared on ESPN to pick his brackets for March Madness. This is the third straight year he has done so and it seems to be a tradition in the making. In light of the current situations in Japan, Bahrain, Libya, etc., should he have forgone it this year?

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31 Answers

JmacOroni's avatar

I felt like he should have passed this year, although I don’t really have a rational reason for it. Just seemed like bad timing.

12Oaks's avatar

I like him doing that. He never gets this stuff right so, as a gambler, I now know which teams not to pick bettering my chances for some tax-free income! And that’s a good thing.

Cruiser's avatar

HS the fun ‘n games of the real world is not going to grind to a halt just because of a devastating earthquake, a little bit of radiation and turmoil in Libya. I’m sure his tradition of picking the Final Four took a whole 3 minutes and the media spends all f’n day making a big deal out of it….sheesh.

tedd's avatar

If anything he paid less attention to it this year than any before. He picked all #1 seeds to the final 4 and largely chose favored teams throughout.

Besides, as much trouble as we have right now… its not like the world is about to implode and we’re all going to die… Exuding some kind of aura that we are in my opinion is far worse than exuding that things are calm enough that he can take 10 minutes to fill out a bracket.

janbb's avatar

I don’t have a problem with a little fun. If he were going off to a ranch for a month, I wouldn’t be happy.

iamthemob's avatar


In reality, really bad stuff is always happening somewhere.

marinelife's avatar

No. He has made statements about how upset he is about Japan and about the situation in Libya. Isn’t he, like all of us, entitled to a little respite from sadness and horror?

MacBean's avatar

This reminds me a little of when George R.R. Martin says something about a football game and his “fans” start complaining that he should be writing instead of watching football. He’s a human being, not a machine. Let him have a little fun. If all he does is work work work then he’s going to go off his rocker and be utterly useless.

(In before “But Obama already IS utterly useless!”)

filmfann's avatar

Obama gets a pass here from me, and I don’t care a whit about college basketball.

ratboy's avatar

Of all the grave issues to be concerned about, is this one of them?

sinscriven's avatar


Life on this planet is always full of pain and suffering. There will never be a “good time” to relax if we allowed suffering to swallow us. Besides, he’s got one of if not the most stressful job on the planet. I’m sure it’s nice for him to have a little lightheated fun and pick something whose consequences does not mean people will die, or starve, or suffer.

Jaxk's avatar

In the grand scheme of things it really doesn’t matter. However, if I recall we blew a cork when the president of BP said he wanted his life back. Not to mention the horrible action of going to a yacht race. We seem to have different rules for Obama. And of course he seems to take these opportunities at the worst possible times. The world is crumbling and he’s golfing, vacationing, playing basketball, or throwing some celebrity party. Kinda reminds me of ‘Animal House’. When things are really looking hopeless, ‘Road Trip’.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Jaxk, President Obama does not run a company that is directly responsible for these disasters. That is an “apples and oranges” kind of comparison.

Jaxk's avatar


I disagree. His ‘Let them eat cake’ attitude is disheartening even though he may not be directly responsible for the bread shortage.

SuperMouse's avatar

“Let them eat cake“attitude? I disagree with that characterization. In the beginning he talks about the tragedy in Japan and urges Americans to donate to help. IMO it is a huge stretch to compare his picking his brackets to the callus behavior of the president of British Petroleum.

WasCy's avatar

No, not inappropriate.

I don’t particularly care for this president or agree with him on most matters of major policy (or any other president, for that matter). But it’s important for all Americans to realize that “The President does not ‘run the country’; he doesn’t even ‘run the government’. All he does is command the executive branch of the federal government.” (And that federal government should be much smaller and less intrusive than it is.)

There is relatively little that the president can do about the economy (thank God) and next to nothing that he can do about Libya (as if he cares to) or Japan (as much as he would like to) or any of the various other occurrences around the world. The president’s job is to appoint and support a team of players, from economic advisors to military commanders and spy agencies, to name a few, who do their jobs to do what they can do in their own spheres of influence and control.

It’s better to have him picking brackets and showing a sometimes panicky nation that “life goes on”. I expect to see him on the White House lawn rolling Easter eggs with kindergarten children ere long. These are the things that he does best, and that I agree with him on.

I’m not saying a word about his picks, though.

Jaxk's avatar


There’s no question we will disagree on this. The president is supposed to be the face of the country. He is expected to at least appear to be on top of the situation for country and to some extent the world. While we are preparing for the Tsunami in Hawaii and the West Coast, Obama is out playing golf. While Japan is reeling from this disaster and the stock markets are crashing, the president is filling out his basketball brackets. While we are preparing for what the media is calling a nuclear disaster and wondering if it will reach the west coast, he is at a fundraiser for the next election. It’s simply bad form and gives the impression that he is disconnected from reality (or doesn’t care).

tedd's avatar

The president is dead set focused on the economy… hell thats what the whole trip to Latin America is about.

He has sent extreme US help, aid, military help to Japan… And he has left Hillary Clinton in charge of debating with the UN about whether or not to act on Libya (ignoring that he has openly condemned Ghadafi and said he needs to step down).

What do you want him to do, fly over to Japan and fix the reactor himself, whilst looking westward and shooting down Libyan bombers with his bare hands?

Hell neither of them are even American disasters.

ratboy's avatar

@SuperMouse, your rant makes me ashamed to be a rodent.

SuperMouse's avatar

@ratboy, rant? Wow, you have a very low standard for what you consider a rant.

iamthemob's avatar

@SuperMouse – I missed the rantiness too…

janbb's avatar

Me three. I saw no rant – rodential or otherwise.

tranquilsea's avatar

@MacBean But I don’t want another author to die before he finishes the series. And it’s not as though he hasn’t been promising a new book for….years. I think I’ve been abundantly patient although now I’m starting to lose interest in the entire series (ok maybe not)

cak's avatar

I think from time-to-time it is good to see the President (any of them) contact on a “regular people” sort-of-way. I completely agree with @WasCy.

anartist's avatar

President Obama is very focused on his job, and has a very formal sort of bearing. It seems to me that he makes a conscious effort to do these “folksy” things that came more naturally to some other presidents [Johnson, Clinton, Reagan] like picking brackets or taking the fam to 5 Guys for burgers or showing off the family pooch.

Even his occasional jokes during speeches [like when the Presidential Seal fell off the podium] seem a little more strained. More power to him if he can show a bit of his more human side.

Cruiser's avatar

@Jaxk…I am going to hand you a chill pill on this one. Each and every Pres is advised each and every morning and knows very well what the fuck is going on in this world. Lots of people paid HUGE sums of money just to play golf with PBO and he is paying off his IOU’s as any other pres or elected official HAS had to do. We are always cocked, locked and loaded to bring a world of hurt anywhere in the world or even Peoria IL if need be despite PBO whacking off on a golf course or the bathroom of Air Force One. PBO does know what is going on and we as a country are acting accordingly albeit 15 minutes to 5 hours too late! ;)

Jaxk's avatar


I would like to agree with you, unfortunately perception is reality. Obama seems to have a hard time dealing with issues that were not part of his preplanned agenda. His recreation in the face of disaster, merely feeds that image. Whether he is informed or not is quite different than being in charge. Rather than a photo-op at the golf course in his goofy shorts I rather see a photo-op in the Ready Room with his advisers. It doesn’t change much but gives the impression he is on top of the problem rather than on top of his game.

To be honest, I think his decision making is horrible and we’d be better off if he stayed on the golf course or basketball court all the time. Let those with more ability make the decisions. But as President, he is the face of the nation. And as such he should be giving at least the impression, that we know what we’re doing.

janbb's avatar

It’s funny how those of us who were anti-Bush made these same complaints about Bush but don’t feel that way about Obama. Plus ca change…....

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@janbb And vice versa…

janbb's avatar

@Dr_Dredd Oh, for sure. And conservative war-mongers are against multilateral intervention in Libya. The longer I live, the less I understand.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

And around and around we go…

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