What did Barack Obama have to lose? With his approval ratings already low and no other election to win, why not keep it real?
“This simply is not the way a sitting president in the age of social media paranoia is supposed to act.” North Siders, gotta love ‘em.
The great Morris Day once sang: “Ain’t nothing worse than rejection. I’d feel a little better if you slapped my face.”
I guess when the President of the United States, a serious sports fan who claims Chicago as his home, finally opens a Twitter account (@POTUS) and follows four of Chicago's major five teams, it doesn't feel good to be the one left out.
Public rejection on such a viral level -- Obama had 1.5M followers in less than 24 hours -- is like a slap to the face of a franchise. It’s nothing that the Cubs haven’t experienced before in other ways, including 100-plus years of losing lovably, but it's not necessarily something the 10th-most popular franchise in North American sports is used to.
It’s hard not to take it personally.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 18, 2015
President Obama choosing not to follow the Cubs is simply a typical South Sider move. Not an oversight. A reminder that even diplomacy when it comes to Cubs/Sox relations has limits. If Obama had decided to follow the Cubs on Day 1 of having a Twitter account, it would have been as if Tony Romo’s first tweet had been “Redskins 4 Life!” when he joined last week.
Obama's decision wasn’t the act of a commander-in-chief, it was the act of a true Chicagoan -- one who knows boundary partisanship when it comes to baseball in this city is just as important as district lobbying and foreign policy in Washington, D.C. Anything else from a native son of the Chi would have painted Obama as a sellout, as someone who conforms, a moderate conservative whose desire to please a nation makes it impossible for him to take an unpopular stand.
In D.C., across the country and around the world, that may be tolerable. But here in the land of Jordan, Oprah, Kanye, Studs and Rahm? Residents have been exiled for less.
Obama couldn’t go out like that. Not on the first day. Maybe down the line he’ll cave in, do the right thing and click the blue icon to follow the Joe Maddon renaissance up north. But until then, Obama had to stay true to how we raised him south of Cermak.
So Cubs fans, instead of being mad at Obama for not following, maybe the best thing to do is realize that like politics, sports loyalty is all about strategy. Recognize that the president did what he had to do if he plans on coming back to the South Side of the city to reside, raise his children and watch his library unfurl.
And know that had he opened a Twitter account three years ago when he needed your votes, you probably would have been the sixth Chicago team he’d have followed. Behind the Sky, of course.