Harvard Law professor Randall Kennedy likens President Obama to an immortal baseball hero as a “Jackie Robinson figure.” The professor told the New York Times: “Jackie Robinson breaks the color barrier and encounters all sorts of denigration, people spitting on him, and because he was a pioneer he had to be above it all.”
This comparison makes no sense for two reasons. First, which prominent politicians or pundits ever “spit” on Barack Obama, or denigrated his racial background? Major criticism of the president has always centered on policy and performance. Second, the great Jackie Robinson rose “above it all” through magnificent achievements as a ball player, with his greatest seasons coming years after he broke baseball’s color line. But Obama’s mixed record in the five years since his historic election hardly qualifies him as an All Star presidential player.