Back in 2004, when Barack Obama allegedly compared himself to LeBron James, little did he know he'd be setting himself up for a string of conservative zingers that shows no sign of stopping. Former Florida Republican congressman turned MSNBC host Joe Scarborough became the latest right-winger to take note of the comparison when he penned a guest column for Politico this past Monday.
In 2004, Obama, then just a lowly Illinois state senator, catapulted himself to political stardom by delivering a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. In his book about the president, David Mendell quoted Obama as snapping, "I'm LeBron, baby. I can play on this level. I got some game."
Of course, now are both once-popular idols marred by some bad decisions and underwater approval ratings.
"Despite both men's abundance of promise and surplus of confidence, they are now bound -- not by greatness -- but by their own collapse when the klieg lights burned at their brightest," Scarborough writes.
Interestingly, Scarborough's complaint seems not that dissimilar from those of lefties who claim the president has shied away from taking leadership stances on progressive causes.
"How do you explain to frustrated Democrats that every time they want their president to stand up and fight, he instead disappears into the woodwork?" he continues. "There's only one answer. He's LeBron, baby."
Of course, Scarborough's LeBrObama allegory isn't that fresh.
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National Review Online's Neil Minkoff drove the comparison home in August:
The most compelling part of the Barack Obama-LeBron James comparison is the baffling way each wilts when the lights are brightest and the stakes highest. LeBron has now appeared in two championship series (2007, 2011) and an Eastern Conference finals (2010), where he played poorly and shrank whenever the game was tight in the fourth quarter. LeBron didn't want the ball and played hot potato whenever the ball found its way to him. Similarly, Obama is said to be "leading from behind" when he dishes off health-care reform and negotiating the debt-ceiling agreement to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Obama has passed responsibility for Gitmo policy and trials for terror suspects to Eric Holder, his attorney general. The buck has been passed to NATO for our military presence in Libya. At each crisis, Barack Obama hasn't wanted to take responsibility for a decision, so he relied on his teammates in his cabinet and Congress to carry him.
Minkoff's NRO colleague Jim Geraghty beat both to the punch just a day after the last game of the NBA Finals in June with a simple, pithy post.