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How Politics Is, And Is Not, Like Football

Everybody's making football analogies these days. Ezra Klein argues that political reporters should follow the example of football, and have political specialists and policy specialists, rather than try to make their reporters do both:

Sadly, the political media isn't as well organized as your average football team. There are two big things that go on in this town: Politics and policy. It would make a lot of sense to have people who focus mainly on one or the other, and news outlets do. But because lots of people read about politics and very few people read about policy, the political reporters end up prospering, and they're left with the megaphones when the election ends and policy begins. ...

The idea that knowledge of politics is the same, or even particularly related, to knowledge of policy is really poisonous, and utterly pervasive. Take Peggy Noonan's column arguing that "the public in 2009 would have been happy to see a simple bill that mandated insurance companies offer coverage without respect to previous medical conditions" but, instead, the White House got "greedy for glory." You don't need to know a lot about health-care policy to know why the administration didn't do this, and the answer isn't "glory."

I like the general point here, but the example implies that Noonan's ignorance of policy overshadows some other specialty of hers, and I'm not sure what that would be.

Meanwhile, Eric Cantor has an op-ed in the Daily Caller comparing the Obama administration to the Washington Redskins. Feel the smarm:

These days D.C.-area football fans aren’t the only ones sorely let down.

Once again, hyped new personnel were brought into the nation’s capital – not just to the NFL’s Redskins, but to the White House — on the promise of change you could believe in. Now both Redskins devotees and American citizens everywhere are struggling with disappointment.

I think it would be a fair comparison if the other NFC East teams had been able to have a say in every play the Redskins called -- say, it's 3rd and 8, the Redskins want to throw downfield, the Giants coach says that's too risky and insists on a punt, and they compromise on a fullback dive.