Posts Tagged ‘hardball’

Opening Next Frontier in Political Hardball

March 20, 2016

New York Times National, Monday, February 15, 2016

NEWS ANALYSISOpening Next Frontier In Political Hardball, by Emily Bazelon

“It takes no feat of imagination to guess how the debate about replacing (Supreme Court) Justice Scalia, who died unexpectedly on Saturday, will take shape.  Within a couple of hours of his death, Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader joined by fellow Republicans like Ted Cruz, said that Justice Scalia’s seat on the United States Supreme Court should remain vacant until after the November presidential election.

It’s called delay, delay, delay,” Donald J. Trump said at the opening of the presidential debate on Saturday night.  Harry Reid, the Senate minority leader, countered that it would be “unprecedented in recent history” for the Supreme Court to go a year without a full complement of justices.  Before the evening was over, President Obama promised to nominate a successor, saying he expected a timely Senate vote.”

Baseball has two balls, hard and soft.  The Big League Baseball teams play with hard balls.  The implied connotation of “Political Hardball” is that the Republicans and Democrats will play hard to deny a vote or get a justice confirmed.


Is Governor Christie Playing Hardball?

January 14, 2014

New York Times, Thursday, January 9, 2014

In Calm of Nature Reserve, Feeling and Fearing Christie’s Influence. by Michael Powell, Gotham

According to this New York Times article, Governor Christie of New Jersey, does play hardball, that the governor is tough when someone doesn’t endorse either him or one of his projects.

“…Somebody crosses the governor, on a matter large or small, someone displeases him, and unfortunate stuff often happens.  Last month my colleague Kate Zernike collected a baker’s dozen examples of his retributive justice.  A former governor blocked Mr. Christie on some matter and the state Police superintendent pulled his police escort.  A political scientist at Rutgers declined to endorse a Republican gerrymander of state districts, and darned if the governor’s office didn’t cut $169,000 for an institute directed by the professor.”

More examples are listed in this article, as well as a battle the governor faces on a project he backs of a pipeline though a protected area of New Jersey: “As it happens those who dust for the governor’s fingerprints have found another hardball example in southern New Jersey…”

Governor Christie plays a hardball game as governor.  Baseball pitchers throw a hardball in professional leagues.  The idiom is used to show toughness.

Playing Hardball

November 4, 2013

The New York Times, Monday, November 4, 2013

Playing Hardball:

Cloak and Dagger Tactics on Both Sides of the Rodrquez Case

This article is by Steve Eder, Serge F Kovaleski and Michael S. Schmidt

“…In the nine months since Mr. Rodriquez and more than a dozen other (baseball) players were linked to a South Florida anti-aging clinic that is believed to have distributed banned substances to professional athletes, baseball officials and one of their star players (Mr. Rodriquez) have engaged in a cloak-and-dagger struggle surpassing anything the sport has seen.  The extraordinary tactics, playing out in multiple locations, reflect Major League Baseball’s resolve to prove one of its star players cheated, and that player’s determination to discredit baseball officials.

Witnesses for both sides in the pending arbitration proceedings claim to have been harassed and threatened.  Some were paid tens of thousands of dollars for their cooperation.  One said she became intimately involved with an investigator om the case.  And some witness accounts have shifted, leaving each side scrambling to defend the sometimes inconsistent stories provided by former employees and associates of the now-defunct clinic, Biogenesis of America.

This article began on the front page of the New York Times and continued on two subsequent pages in the Sports Section.  Hardball is usually used as a metaphor for tough tactics.  The term itself refers to a ball which is smaller and harder than the soft, larger ball used in softballCloak and dagger is an old term for secret techniques, even criminal ones, particularly in older crime stories as in the Sherlock Holmes series.

Schumer Plays Hardball on Cnooc

August 4, 2012

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL Friday, July 27, 2012


 Schumer Plays Hardball on Cnooc, by Keith Johnson

WASHINGTON–Senator Charles Schumer said he would ask Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to use Cnooc Ltd.’s proposed $15 billion purchase of Canadian energy firm Nexen Inc. as leverage to pry open the Chinese market for U.S. companies,”  that approval of the transaction should be withheld until China’s government makes enforceable commitments to ensure reciprocal treatment for U.S. companies.  Mr. Schumer believes, according to this article, that approval of the Cnooc-Nexen transaction should be a test of these reciprocal agreements.  

Mr. Schumer is playing hard with the Chinese in order to “level the playing field” for U.S. businesses.   Hardball is used in Major League baseball.  For more information go to http://www.sportsidioms and look up “baseball.”

Hardball: A Way Through the Debt Mess

June 14, 2011

The New York Times OP-ED, Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Way Through the Debt Mess, by Joseph A. Califano Jr.

Mr. Califano offers a possible way though the current standstill in the U.S. budget  and debt ceiling process.   He tells the story of President Lyndon Johnson’s response to a similar problems in 1967 and 1968, the years of “The Great Society” and the Vietnam War.  President Johnson “knew a litle hardball, combined with some well-placed promises, could save the (budget and debt ceiling) bill.”  The bill raised the debt limit and taxes, and cut spending after a lot of manuvering.

This is a fascinating, timely article by “Mr. A. Califano Jr., who was a special assistant for domestic affairs to President Lyndon B. Johnson, (and) is the founder and chairman of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia (University).”

Of course, hardball is a sports term derived from American major league baseball where the ball used is hard as compared to the softer ball in the game of softball, the assumption being that hardball is tougher.

Federal Judicial Appointments: Playing Hardball

February 14, 2011

New York Times OP-ED Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Empty Bench Syndrome, by Jonathan Bernstein

“On Monday (2/7/11) the Senate finally confirmed three federal judges nominated by President Obama last year, thanks to a deal between the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, and his Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.” 

“There is a vacancy crisis in the federal judiciary system, the result, according to Democrats, of more than a year of Republican obstruction of President Obama’s nominations… The Republicans have managed to slow the process to a crawl by deploying an array of delaying tactics, like demanding the full 30 hours of debate allowed after a filibuster is defeated.”

This is hardball--but the majority (Democrats) can fight back.  For example, the Democrats could push the extra time required by the Republicans’ tactics to the weekends…”

One can deduce from the part of the article quoted above that politicians playing hardball make getting judicial appointments difficult.  The sport of “hardball” or baseball is considered more difficult than playing softball where a softer ball is used rather than a  hard one.

Please see the sports idioms, hardball and softball, in the website.  Thanks.

Richard Holbrooke Played Hardball

January 23, 2011

Obituary; The Economist, December 18, 2010:

“Richard Holbrooke, diplomat and troubleshooter, died on December 13th, aged 69”

Richard Holbrooke was President Obama’s “special envoy” to Afganistan and Pakistan for the U.S. when he died.  This obituary not only spoke to his latest mission for the U.S., but a previous one as an emissary for war and peace in the Balkans.  The Serbs were not making “concessions at the (negotiating) table”;  he “more or less singlehandedly decided to play hardball with the Serbs.”

The idiom “hardball” is explained in  Go to the alphabetized list for the explanation.  It also referred to in the previous blog.


Immigration Hardball: A National Doubling-Down on Enforcement

November 16, 2010

The New York Times, Monday, November 15, 2010:  Editorial Page

Immigration Hardball

“Republicans will have the next two years to set the immigration agenda in the House of Representatives. If their legislation looks anything like their campaign ads, there will be no way for illegal immigrans to get right with the law and no real solution to the problem of illegal immigration.  Just a national doubling-down on enforcement, with still more border fencing and immmigration agents, workplaces locked down, and states and localities setting police dragnets on what always wan–and still ought to be–federal turf.” …

The head of ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) under POResident George W. Bush once gave the Senate a ballpark estimate: $94 billion (to detain and deport every last illegal immigrant it finds).

There are two baseball idioms (in italic) in this article as stated above:  “hardball” and ‘ballpark estimate”, the latter similar to “in the ballpark” (see for the explanations) and “doubling-down”, a gambling game idiom, used in the game of black jack for doubling a bet.

The author of the editorial believes the Republicans will get much tougher with illegal immigration.