Skilled Politicians Playing Hardball

From a new novel, Scorpions, “The Battles and Triumphs of FDR’s Great Supreme Court Justices”, by Noel Feldman:

Chapter 5, Southern Pride, p. 51, 52

But the man who would become his (Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s) first Supreme Court nominee, Senator Hugo LaFayette Black, was someone Roosevelt did not meet until assuming the presidency of the United States in March 1933.  From the start, their relationship was competitive.

Roosevelt’s first order of business was to stimulate the economy and put people back to work.”  However, Senator Black had already introduced an economic recovery  bill himself in 1932.   Roosevelt’s advisors had  much more comprehensive ideas, but their ideas had not been made public.  “Black’s bill…was setting the agenda.  It sent a mesage to the newly elected president that Black was a man to be reckoned with, not a team player who would wait for an order before taking action.”

“Beneath the surface pleasantries, these two skilled politicians were immediately playing hardball.”

Team player is used all the time in sports, politics, and business to emphasize a group of people who play and/or work together to achieve a goal.   To play hardball in American sports usually refers to baseball, as the ball is quite hard and goes farther than in softball.  Playing hardball in sports, politics, and business denotes a tough approach to a goal.

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