Conservatives Haven't Seen Obama's Bracket But They Hate It

Fighting over the president's NCAA bracket is a cherished Obama White House tradition

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President Obama is filling out his NCAA bracket at the White House today under the watchful eye of ESPN basketball analyst Andy Katz and a network cameracrew. The fact Obama has done this every March since taking office, will continue to do it every March if he wins reelection, and seems content to just wildly and (usually incorrectly) make picks is of no consolation to the small segment of conservatives that quake with outrage every time the president spends time with his family instead of writing a flat tax proposal.

His latest bracket session--coming on the heels of a large earthquake in a country where he is not president, the threat of civil war in country far away from America, and improving economic numbers at home--was just too tone-deaf for the conservative blogosphere to handle:

  • National Review's Jim Geraghty was horrified that trying to pick a winner in Utah State-Kansas State was "how the leader of the free world will spend his day during this awful crisis."  
  • Big Government blogger Mike Flynn attempted to put the president's lack of priorities in context without shouting. For the most part, he succeeded.

Japan is suffering from a natural disaster that threatens to turn into an existential crisis. Colonel Q-ball has unleashed a blistering assault on pro-democracy rebel forces.  Large swaths of the Middle East are in turmoil. The federal government is bleeding red ink, with absolutely no end in site. The economy sucks and is getting battered by skyrocketing commodity prices and a volatile oil market. Near-record numbers of Americans are leaving the work force. If the world isn’t quite on fire…it is at least approaching a slow burn. But what's all that against a little MARCH MADNESS!

  • Townhall's Guy Benson turned up the snark to explain why Obama's brackets were a win-win. "By close of business tomorrow," he reasons America will know whether its president has Ohio State going all the way, but will have absolutely no clue where his administration stands on the battle over funding the federal government in 2011."
  • Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft wished the president would make war, not brackets. On Monday Qaddafi forces continued to bomb the oppositiomn, he writes. "But Obama was too busy to notice. He had to fill out his NCAA brackets "
  • Commentary magazine's John Podhoretz scored the week's first big upset when became the first person in history to suggest the White House brought out the best in Richard Nixon's character "[T]he president of the United States is going on ESPN to talk about the NCAA and delivering speeches today on his rather dull plan to replace No Child Left Behind with No Teenager Left Behind, or something like that....Nixon was elevated by his handling of the presidency. Obama is diminishing himself, and Americans and the world will know this."
  • James Joyner of libertarian blog Outside the Beltway offered the only right-leaning defense of the president's bracket. "This is a no-win situation," he admits. "If he’d canceled his annual bracket extravaganza, he’d be accused of a bunker mentality."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.