It doesn't matter how you try to sell it to us, it doesn't matter how many celebrities you get, it doesn't matter how many bars open early, it doesn't matter how many beer commercials they run, we don't want the World Cup, we don't like the World Cup, we don't like soccer, we want nothing to do with it.So where does this stuff come from? Is it racism? Is it just a right wing media outrage machine trying to find some talking point for the day? Well, maybe, but I'm going to take the position that this is actual principled conservatism at work.
What do I mean? Well, Bill Clinton gave a wonderful speech at the dedication of his presidential library in 2004, during which he tried to explain and validate both major American ideologies:
America has two great dominant strands of political thought... conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that are no longer needed or should never have been erected in the first place.I think the soccer issue is one instance where conservative leaders are simply trying to draw a line. They feel they've made enough accommodations to other countries and cultures. They simply do not acknowledge soccer as an American pastime and feel they are justified in trying to exclude it from our main culture. We cannot just keep adding things to our nation and assume that the nation will still stand for anything. Lines must be drawn. This far, no farther.
It actually reminds me of a story my grad school mentor John Zaller told me about a conversation he'd had with a conservative colleague back in 1982 after this person had seen "E.T." Apparently, Zaller's colleague was furious with the movie because it represented Hollywood liberals admitting space aliens into the human family. And yes, it kind of did that. As Zaller summed up (and here I'm quoting from memory), "Leave it to liberals to admit space aliens into the human family, and leave it to conservatives to be offended by it."