Cubs fans know that Chicago has a reputation for making really, really bad trades. Just mention the name “Ernie Broglio” to any denizen of Wrigley Field and watch them turn four shades of crimson in shame. (Just to make Windy City fans feel better, former Dodger GM Fred Claire finally got around to admitting the swap of a young Pedro Martinez for Hall of Oblivion infielder Delino DeShields was “a bad trade”.) This week, Jim Geraghty notes that another Chicago dealmaker offered a trade deal without knowing the players involved. In joking with Bibi Netanyahu, Barack Obama noted that both Israel and the US have Liebermans that often find themselves at odds with their national leaders:
“So,” Obama announced, according to the source in the room, “we’ve decided that we are going to trade our Lieberman for their Lieberman,” referring to the independent American senator and the hard-line Israeli foreign minister.
Perhaps Obama should have thought that one through before making the offer, as Jim explains:
In an Israeli cabinet meeting, Avigdor Lieberman reportedly proposed giving the Palestinians an ultimatum of bombing banks, gas stations, and commercial centers. On another occasion, he called for the execution of members of the Knesset who met with Hamas. He opposed an amnesty proposal by saying, “It would be better to drown these prisoners in the Dead Sea if possible, since that’s the lowest point in the world.” Then there was the comment that could be interpreted to suggest a nuclear strike on the Gaza Strip. He’s proposed requiring citizens to sign loyalty oaths or forfeit their right to vote.
What do you suppose the odds are that Barack Obama actually intended to endorse Avi Lieberman’s positions on Israeli-Palestinian relations? Probably a lot higher than the odds that he had no idea who or what Israel’s Lieberman is.
Maybe Chicago dealmakers should refrain from proposing trades altogether.
Addendum: DeShields was a terrible trade for Martinez, but he does good work for baseball. He and Oil Can Boyd work hard at promoting baseball in American inner cities, and his son is apparently a good high-school prospect in football and baseball. Dodger fans have nothing against DeShields and wish him well. Fred Claire, on the other hand …
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