Obama's been in the news the last few days for his phone call supporting Michael Vick's return to quarterbacking, following Vick's conviction for dogfighting. Tevi Troy, Hudson Institute scholar and author of Intellectuals and the American Presidency: Philosophers, Jesters, or Technicians?, has an amusing piece on the starcrossed history of presidents and football:
First, the Washington Post reported that Obama again steps outside the lines, weighing in on a controversial issue that is unrelated to his presidency. In addition, Obama has been hit by liberal blogger Ezra Klein for being somewhat disingenuous about the reason for the call, with the White House now claiming that he called Lurie to talk about efficient energy use and unspecified “other things.” And of course, animal rights advocates are understandably upset that Obama implicitly praised Vick, who has paid a significant debt to society for his sins against our canine friends.
Obama's problem in this situation, however, may not be related to any of the above problems so much as making the cardinal presidential mistake of weighing in on or commenting about football. The football curse has plagued presidents for nearly a century, perhaps since Teddy Roosevelt famously intervened in 1905 to get college football teams to agree to use both helmets and more serious safety rules to cut down on injuries and deaths.
Read the whole thing. It's a fun little bit of history.