With the crowd rallying behind him, Obama walks out to the mound to pitch a faithful ninth inning. This has to be one of the toughest walks of his career, I’m sure, because after pitching a perfect game for eight tough innings, he must close the game strong on the issue of Guantanamo Bay. In the bottom of the eighth, he struck out three of the GOP’s players, including power-hitter John McCain, and the GOP is beginning to look as if they are unable to compete with this contender.
The first batter he will face will be the Minority Leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, who has been at the plate twice now, both times grounding out. McConnell taps his cleats as he steps into the box, and Obama starts a quick wind up throwing a fastball down the center of the plate. The president signs his first executive order to close Gitmo and review all the detainees. McConnell watches the ball. Strike one.
Catcher Joe Biden lifts up his facemask, winks at his pitcher, and throws the ball back to the mound. It looks as if the order will also suspend all military commission proceedings for the next one hundred and twenty days. The crowd goes wild, and if you look to the GOP dugout you can see deep frustration on the players’ faces. McConnell steps back up to the plate. Obama, now taking his time, enters his wind up and throws a low curve ball. The Senate passes an amendment to the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2009 with a 90-6 vote, which will block funding for the transfer of detainees at Gitmo. The ball beans McConnell in the head, knocking off his helmet.
There goes the perfect game. Obama appears frustrated and looks to his dugout. It appears that he his motioning for his teammates to rise up and keep the momentum of the game pushing in their favor, but the teammates bow their heads, rub their necks, and pace around the dugout. The look of frustration on Obama’s face is palpable, and, frankly, I don’t blame him. At a time when the Democrats need to be rallying behind their pitcher, a wave of apathy seems to have swept throughout the team.
The morale in the GOP dugout is rising. Biden lobs the ball back to the mound. Telling the umpire to hold the game, he runs out to speak to Obama before his next pitch. It looks as if the two are discussing the possibility of moving detainees to high security prisons in the United States. Biden walks back to the plate where John Boehner, teary-eyed, stands preparing for his at bat. Obama looks the Speaker of the House squarely in the eye as he shifts the ball around in his fingers. Here comes the wind up and the pitch. Curveball. Obama declares in a presidential memorandum that the Thomas Correctional Center in Illinois must make accommodations in order to accept transferred detainees. Biden frames the pitch. Strike one.
The GOP looks stunned at the umpire’s call and no doubt this will enrage their constituencies. I can already see GOP team members answering their cell phones and taking questions from heated supporters. Boehner awaits the pitch, and Obama delivers another curveball. The administration releases the Final Report of the Guantanamo Review Task Force and approves 126 detainees for transfer out of a total population of 240. Strike Two.
This report took much longer to finish than Obama had promised, but now that it is here it looks like there is a chance for due process to begin. The GOP is looking at Boehner to do something to block the president. Obama is taking his time on the mound, leering at Biden who is flashing him signs. Here comes the pitch to Boehner. He cracks off a line drive to right field as the 2011 Defense Authorization Bill passes through the House.
Boehner rounds first.
The bill passes through the Senate.
Boehner rounds second base and charges for third.
Obama threatens to veto the bill. And what’s this? Yes, it appears Obama is signing the bill into law. Incredible turn of events! Boehner stops at third as the ball makes it back into the infield. Obama has just signed a bill that directly contradicts his first executive order, and the president’s supporters on the left couldn’t be more confused by this turn of events. What started in the beginning of the inning as a ferocious roar for human rights has now dwindled to a quiet purr.
Senator Lindsey Graham now steps up to the plate. Obama wastes no time. Here comes the pitch. Screwball. The president gives the go ahead to resume military trials. Ball one.
And the entire crowd looks confused. The ACLU members are beginning to get up from their seats and leave the stadium early to get to their cars before traffic ensues. The players from the GOP are ecstatic with nationalistic pride, and they are performing awkward Caucasian dances in their dug out. Senator Graham stares at Obama as he lobs a pitch. The hunger strike among prisoners in Gitmo has reached an all time high number of participants and military officials are now force-feeding detainees. The ball pegs Graham in the right shoulder, and he takes a walk to first.
Diane Feinstein just threw over a cooler of Gatorade in a fit of rage, while Joe Lieberman, Independent senator from Connecticut and pinch hitter for the Democrats, takes a nap on the bench. The crowd has now almost completely disappeared except for a few groups that have stayed to protest, but their voices are inaudible in the enormous stadium.
The lights are flickering and the night is getting late. The president prepares for his next batter in an inning that seems unlikely to end any time soon. We will continue to call this game for anyone listening at home or watching our television broadcast, but I suspect that the number of listeners is few. The president seems to be simply going through the motions while his team sits like statues on its benches. If I didn’t know any better I’d say he’s decided to throw the game, and the GOP couldn’t look happier.