Keep your eye clear, and hit ’em where they ain’t

Willie Keeler

Four Years and six months ago I was in NH for a NRO event along with a lot of other bloggers and reporters after all of us watched one of the GOP primary debates that was notable for George Stephanopoulos suddenly asking Mitt Romney a question about contraception that had everyone, including Romney scratching their heads. It had not been an issue in the campaign nor in the country or years and while Roman Catholics will tell you artificial contraception is a sin to my knowledge Mormons have no problem with it.

That night everyone was talking about how weird the question but a few days later things became clear as the entire media jumped on this as an important issue.

You see many things were going badly in the economy, in foreign affairs and the folly of Obamacare were just starting to become apparent, the Democrats needed a distraction to protect the president so they pivoted bringing out an issue that had been settled for years to change the submit and hit republicans at the same time.

It’s sort of like the tactic used against Ted Williams in the 40’s called the Williams Shift repositioning players completely to change the dynamic of his hitting.

tedwilliamsshift It the same tactic used against David Ortiz today in an attempt to make those hits come with a little more difficulty.

While both Williams and Ortiz had occasional failures against the shift, in the end their skill levels were/are so superior that the shift could not stop them from hitting through it and as both demonstrated regularly if the ball is off the wall or out of the park no amount of shifting is going to make any difference.

Alas for the GOP Mitt Romney was no Ted Williams or David Ortiz. Romney being Romney and the GOP being the GOP, they fell hook line and sinker for this nonsense hitting directly into the shift and giving the media exactly what they wanted. It was one of a series of foolish and timid moves that turned what should have been a very easy election for the GOP into the disaster that the next four years of Barack Obama became.

Fast forward to 2016. Hillary Clinton has had the worst week in the history of history, the attempt to portray health questions as a conspiracy theory have failed. Leak after leak makes her look bad. The polls have gone south, Trump has bested her in a televised forum and thanks to his new campaign team has not only avoided mistakes but gotten positive press and cultural coverage that even playing the David Duke card has not been able to counter and if that’s not bad enough ISIS continues to advance, the refugee crisis continues to fester and Obamacare exchanges are dropping like flies What does one do if you are the palace guard for Democrats mainstream media?

Why you play the “shift” card and trot out birtherism.

The fact that Barack Obama has barely four months in office and that it’s an issue that nobody cares about doesn’t matter. The media needs to change the subject so suddenly the entire press corps decides there is no bigger issue to settle and they will not stop asking about it until Trump satisfies them.

In other words the shift is on and they are daring Trump to hit it over or through them counting on the fact that despite his media skills he is not enough of a Ted Williams or David Ortiz to successfully hit through the shift.

But while it’s true that Donald Trump is no Williams or Ortiz, he’s also no Mitt Romney and his new campaign team of Breitbart’s Stephen Bannon and Kelly Conway are not the normal GOP consultants advising him to hit into the shift and take their chances.

Instead Trump announced a press conference to address the issue, the MSM rushed to cover it live (something that they have been a lot less enthusiastic to do since he became the nominee) ready to take his statement and pound him with question after question, furthermore as he was apparently “running late” they continued to promote the event to ensure the maximum viewership when he did make his statement…

…and then this happened

The media found themselves giving their audience 20 minutes of military heroes endorsing Trump on live TV before he finally came on Camera to say

“Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it.”

Not only did Trump get the media to cover his endorsements but he got them to cover live his pronouncement that “birtherism” was a construct of the Hillary Clinton campaign. (a Statement spin not withstanding backed up by on CNN by a Clinton campaign manager but by a respected veteran journalist former McClatchy Washington Bureau Chief James Asher.

A story repeated on the McClatchy site yesterday

“During the 2008 Democratic primary, Sid Blumenthal visited the Washington Bureau of McClatchy Co.,” Asher said in an email Friday to McClatchy, noting that he was at the time the investigative editor and in charge of Africa coverage.

“During that meeting, Mr. Blumenthal and I met together in my office and he strongly urged me to investigate the exact place of President Obama’s birth, which he suggested was in Kenya. We assigned a reporter to go to Kenya, and that reporter determined that the allegation was false.

“At the time of Mr. Blumenthal’s conversation with me, there had been a few news articles published in various outlets reporting on rumors about Obama’s birthplace. While Mr. Blumenthal offered no concrete proof of Obama’s Kenyan birth, I felt that, as journalists, we had a responsibility to determine whether or not those rumors were true. They were not.”

Blumenthal, who worked in the White House with President Bill Clinton and later was employed by the Clinton Foundation, could not be reached Friday but said in an email to The Boston Globe, “This is false. Period.”

In other words the Trump campaign instead of hitting into the shift as he might have been inclined under the old management team, poked the ball into the empty left field for an easy double.

The fit this gave the entire MSM was epic which comes from a single miscalculation.

You don’t have to be a David Ortiz or a Ted Williams to beat the shift, you just have to be good enough to go the other way and hit the ball where they ain’t.

And Trump is.

Update: Don Surber adds a bit of Irony:

For a decade, the city wanted the grand post office turned into a hotel. Trump did it. Today was the opening of the hotel. That was the reason for the event — not to discuss birtherism, which was the Clinton Camp’s topic of the day.


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At baseball crank, (who I really need to link to more) they are asking what is the one sports event that you would want to go back and see.

His choice of game 7 (actually game 8) of the 1912 world series is a pretty good one (Giants Red Sox) the final game of one of the greatest world series ever played, but my choice is a less significant pair of games in the standing but more incredible in terms of drama.

In 1941 Ted Williams going into the final two games batting .3995 His manager offered to sit him since Major league Baseball rounds up, Williams was having none of it.

When he came to the plate the Catcher for the A’s (then in Philadelphia) informed him that Connie Mack (the manager/owner of the A’s) told the pitchers to “pitch to him” and not around him. Williams in the hottest spot he would be in outside of an airplane at war managed to go 6-8 in the double-header and get his average up to .406. Nobody has come within 15 points of him since, not Gwynn, not Boggs, not Brett, not Yaz, not Bonds, not Ichrio. not Carew not nobody.

And he did this in an 8 team league without expansion pitching.