So LeBron James is abandoning Cleveland for sunny Miami. That's a tough break for Ohio sports fans. But what effect might LeBron's departure have on Ohio's politics? I think it helps the Tea Party, for reasons I'll lay out.
First, let's stipulate that reading any kind of meaning into a celebrity sports event is by its very nature pretty ridiculous, more like fortune-telling than the rigorous political analysis you've come to expect from The Atlantic. But I have to justify spending all afternoon watching ESPN and reading Bill Simmons (and gawking at models). So here goes.
I've spent the week traveling around Texas, particularly the Gulf area southeast of Houston, whose residents have been hit hard by the offshore drilling moratorium, the end of the Space Shuttle, and its successor program, Constellation. At the Fourth of July parade I attended in Friendswood, near the Johnson Space Center, the economic dislocation was palpable. Everybody worried that jobs were leaving and not coming back, so their kids would leave, too. NASA's decline in particular--Obama's space policy would end the agency's manned flights, a source of tremendous local pride--was upsetting to everyone, because the whole area was about to lose its identity.