Soccer Conspiracy

Watch it, socialist hippie soccer lovers of the world, or we'll unleash John "Bomb 'Em" McCain on you

It's been a weird couple of weeks for our right-wing media. First, FOX learned that those Susan Rice Benghazi talking points — you know, the ones that were supposedly part of an Obama-Clinton cover-up? Turns out they had been provided by David Petraeus and the CIA.

Then, just as they were recovering from this bit of balloon-puncturing bad news... THE WORLD CUP! And what's worse, Americans everywhere are into it, big time.

Aha! Obama is using the World Cup as a diversion from his many scandals. To our rescue comes the intrepid FOX News team led by Ann Coulter, with radio support from Rush Limbaugh. These two patriots remind us that soccer isn't even a real American sport — no, it's a socialist sport. Which goes further to prove that Obama the socialist is using this socialist international competition to deflect attention away from his many failures — such as supposedly "losing Iraq."

Speaking of Iraq, John McCain is all charged up (as is his "Charlie McCarthy" sidekick, Lindsey Graham, who delivers the lines McCain sends his way). McCain and Graham have just the solution to the Iraq mess: Bomb the hell out of them. (Drones, drones and more drones should do the trick.)

The former presidential nominee does have a thing about dropping explosives. During the Russo-Georgian crisis in 2008, he urged that we "bomb, bomb, bomb the Russians in Georgia." Remember his Patrick Henry-like line? "We are all Georgians now." (It kind of lost its punch when it was revealed that some of his campaign high rollers had money invested in Georgia, but oh, well.)

Then, after Obama was elected, McCain moved on to "bomb, bomb, bomb Iran." Then he shifted to "bomb, bomb, bomb Syria." (This one is debatable, although McCain never could identify the "patriots" who want arms and money from the U.S. and weren't likely Islamic radicals.) Then came Ukraine, and McCain got back on his high horse to "bomb, bomb, bomb to save Crimea." (Um, John? Crimeans voted to be annexed by Russia.)

Today? Well, who has time for Ukraine when all hell has broken out in Iraq again? On cue, enter McCain stage right, and again, it's that familiar chorus of "bomb, bomb, bomb," and now it's back to Iraq. Drones, drones and more drones is his answer.

But for McCain's most inane line, I nominate: "We had that war won." That is, before Obama just moved the troops out — on that timetable set by George W. Bush. Now it is becoming clear that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is the major problem in Iraq. Maliki, you'll recall, was "elected" in 2006, which, if my memory is correct, was during George W. Bush's watch.

Enough about McCain; back to soccer. The first conservative to warn the country to beware this insidious socialist sport wasn't Coulter nor Limbaugh. That honor goes to the old Buffalo Bills quarterback, New York congressman and HUD Secretary under Ronald Reagan: Jack Kemp. Back in 1986, Kemp went on the floor of Congress to warn us all about soccer:

"I think it is important for all those young out there, who someday hope to play real football, where you throw it and kick it and run with it and put it in your hands, a distinction should be made that football is democratic, capitalism, whereas soccer is a European socialist [sport.]"

In the interest of moving us beyond jerking knees, I recommend that you pick up Franklin Foer's book, How Soccer Explains the World. Published in 2004, the book portrays soccer not in how it serves as socialism's stalking horse, but rather in how soccer explains the failure of globalization, the rise of corporate hegemonies and the persistence of nationalism and tribalism.

Still, I can make a case that soccer, if not insidious socialism on the move, is clearly not an American sport. Why? Because — drum roll — when soccer is watched on TV, we don't see any commercials except at halftime. And if TV commercials aren't as American as apple pie, I don't know what is.

The American way is to pay Comcast (or some other corporate giant) from $100 to upwards of $200 a month for the privilege of sitting, night after night, through wave upon wave of commercials. During the last hour of most nighttime movies on cable TV, we endure upwards of 25 minutes of commercials. We sit there like so many zombies.

We do this — and seemingly are OK doing it — because why? Because we are Americans and America is about consumption. Maybe soccer is about socialism after all. ♦

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About The Author

Robert Herold

Robert Herold is a retired professor of public administration and political science at both Eastern Washington University and Gonzaga University. Robert Herold's collection of Inlander columns dating back to 1995, Robert's Rules, is available at Auntie's.