Pete Souza/White House
President Obama in the White House Situation Room watches then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on TV.
President Obama in the White House Situation Room watches then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on TV. Pete Souza/White House
Rick Holter, a senior editor at Weekend All Things Considered, sees a relationship between how President Obama chooses his NCAA brackets and his foreign policy:
Obama's picks the last three years actually say a lot about him as a decision maker — even reflecting how he's approaching the North African unrest.
Bear with me here... His final four in both the men's and women's brackets are all No. 1 seeds. (He says that's the first time he's picked it that way.)
In fact, his final eight in the men's bracket are 1-2, 1-2, 1-3, 1-3. He picks Kansas to win it all (they're the No. 2 seed overall).
Last year, he also picked Kansas (when they were the No. 1 overall). The year before, he picked North Carolina (the No. 1 overall), and the Tar Heels won.
Obama really knows basketball. But he's a chalk guy. Cautious. Picks favorites. And while he doesn't often win the pool (who does?) he's not bad at picking the ultimate winner.
That approach is evident in other parts of his game — particularly foreign policy. He's encouraging Cinderellas in Egypt (where they won — or didn't...), Bahrain, Libya.
But he's not willing to really get in there and tangle with the No. 1 seeds (Gadhafi, Saudis, etc.)
In short, Rick appears to be sizing Obama up as a foreign-policy realist (he's not alone) but with a splash of idealism, which puts him somewhere between Henry Kissinger's realpolitick on one end and Paul Wolfowitz's neocon idealism on the other, but closer to the Nixon Secretary of State.
I wonder if Kissinger picked Kansas to go all the way, too?