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Le Devoir, Canada

The Kick-Off

By Claude Lévesque

Translated By Malina McLennan

7 February 2013

Edited by Rachel Smith

Canada - Le Devoir - Original Article (French)

The football fans crowded into New Orleans’ Superdome must have gotten momentary cold sweats on Sunday night when the lights suddenly went out in the stadium. The Super Bowl is one of the most-watched spectacles in the United States and abroad. For this reason, it has even been targeted by terrorist threats. What’s more, the infrastructure of the Big Easy doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, given the fact the levees of Lake Pontchartrain collapsed under the assault of Hurricane Katrina.

It’s been made official that the blackout cannot be blamed on the “electrifying” performance given by Beyoncé, who did not settle for the comfort of lip-syncing this time, unlike her performance in the Capital on Jan. 21 after Obama had given his speech.

The Political

Since everything is political, at least to an extent, the president’s press team made it known that he put the safety of the spectators above all else before enjoying the second half of the match. His wife Michelle commented on Mrs. Knowles’ performance (or Mrs. Carter, or Mrs. Z) on her Twitter account, declaring the singer to be “phenomenal!”

In 2012, the Giants — members of the national NFC conference — won the Super Bowl. In this instance, superstitious Super Bowl “logic” prevailed, since the Democratic candidate was re-elected to the White House. Although there will not be any important elections in the United States this year, according to “Superbowlogy,” the Ravens’ victory, as members of the AFC conference but having been a member of the NFL before its merging with the AFL in 1970, hints at a positive turn for the stock market.

Barack Obama will give his speech on the State of the Union next Tuesday. Let’s assume he does not allocate that much importance to Superbowlogy; he should at least cover the economy and maybe the rejuvenation of infrastructure as well — although not necessarily that of New Orleans — as a way of boosting employment in the United States. Also, the topics of immigration and guns will certainly come up.

Little Gains…

The president has addressed his fellow countrymen several times since his re-election in November, so often that it’s hard to believe he’s no longer on the campaign trail. His State of the Union will be the “kick-off” of the political year, but, as was said by a journalist for the Daily Beast, the game is won year-round with a series of small gains.

To finish off this long-winded metaphor, let’s say that the Republicans have very little chance of achieving a 108-yard kick-off return, leaving that to Jacoby Jones. It’s true that one of the chambers of Congress is practically hostile toward the president while the other was only allotted to him thanks only to a feeble majority. But the Americans have had enough of systematic blocking, and extremists like the tea party have lost the wind in their sails.

The Republicans resent Barack Obama for his speeches that resulted in no action; they’re inviting him to surmount partisan splits, while they were the ones refusing any and all compromise during his first term.

In his inaugural speech on January 21, the Democrat president made it clear that he will defend certain “liberal” values (of left or center-left) dear to several partisans who have been biting their nails for four years now. In Washington, where even small negotiations are required in order to achieve one’s ends, these words signal that he will not compromise at any cost.



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