Nick Wallace ’14
One plays quarterback for the New York Jets. The other is the commander-in-chief of the United States. What could Mark Sanchez and Barack Obama possibly have in common? The answer: more than you think.
Both Sanchez and Obama represented “hope and change.” After a disappointing 9-7 season without making the playoffs in 2008, the Jets traded their first two picks of the 2009 draft along with three players in return for Sanchez, who was selected fifth overall. Coupled with the hiring of the outgoing and flamboyant defensive personality of Rex Ryan as head coach, the addition of Sanchez forced Jets fans to believe that their team would once again be a contender in a division dominated by Tom Brady and the Patriots the previous decade. Similarly, Democrats rejoiced when Barack Obama, the senator from Illinois who gained national recognition at the 2004 Democratic National Convention for his epic keynote address, won the 2008 Presidential election. Obama replaced the Bush administration, which became infamous for the use of signing statements, the implementation of the Patriot Act, and the launch of a pre-emptive and unjustified war against Iraq. Essentially, Bush turned the role of the American President into a unitary executive to which the other branches were subordinate.
Both Sanchez and Obama enjoyed early success. Sanchez and the Jets played in back-to-back AFC championship games in 2009 and 2010. He helped lead the Jets to four playoff road wins, which was tied for the most of all time before Eli Manning passed him in subsequent seasons. In 2011, Sanchez led the Jets to the most efficient red-zone offense in all of football, throwing for 21 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions. President Obama also enjoyed success early in his first term. As President, he signed laws to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and ended the excessive deregulation of the finance industry that caused the financial meltdown of 2008. He ended the imperialistic war in Iraq and ultimately ordered the military operation that killed Osama Bin laden.
However, Sanchez is ultimately blamed for the Jets latest woes, and President Obama is criticized for being the reason why the American economy isn’t growing fast enough.
But the truth is that Sanchez isn’t the reason the Jets are a mediocre football team. Their offensive line is in shambles, and even the departure of the incompetent Wayne Hunter has not helped. A quarterback needs time for a play to develop in order to succeed; Sanchez is not getting it. Additionally, the Jets struggle to run the football and suffer from injuries to two of their star skill-players, Santonio Holmes and Darrelle Revis. Has Sanchez struggled as well? Of course. But to point all fingers at one member of a team is ludicrous. Mark Sanchez doesn’t stink, the team does.
Similarly, Barack Obama is not the reason why the United States is losing its hegemonic position in the world. Countries like Brazil, Russia, India, and China are rising. Moreover, the president traditionally has little control over the economy. The Federal Reserve controls inflation. Congress makes the budget. While the contemporary presidency features presidents that advocate for certain economic plans to be put into effect, Congress ultimately needs to give it the “go-ahead.”
Like Mark Sanchez, President Obama isn’t the problem; it is the entire American political system. President Obama inherited the mess previous administrations created; it will take time to fix it. But things will not be fixed with the expanding polarization of political parties. Tea Party Republicans elected in 2010 came into the House with an “anyone but Obama” mindset. Failure to compromise and work together has led to ineffective governance that would leave the founding fathers ashamed.
And where does Tim Tebow fit in to all of this? Tim Tebow is Mitt Romney. Simply put, they are both worse alternatives that will not fix the problem. With his lack of receivers, slowing defense, and horrid offensive line, Tim Tebow would struggle more than Sanchez. Romney’s inexperience in foreign policy, his neoconservative social views, and his inability to connect with the American people will ultimately put America worse off than it is right now.
Let’s not call for change just for the sake of change. Keep Mark Sanchez. Keep President Obama.