NFL fans across the country rejoice today as referees from the NFLRU officiate the first slate of games since reaching a deal with the league to end the lockout that thrust replacement refs into the spotlight.
This Wednesday, Jim Lehrer will moderate the first presidential debate of the general election. Lehrer is experienced and respected, and at least one political operative is grateful that voters won’t have to deal with poor decision-making or unbalanced officiating from the moderator’s chair. From Politico:
“He’s the Ed Hochuli,” Chris Lehane, who worked in the Clinton administration and served as Al Gore’s campaign press secretary, said, comparing Lehrer to the respected NFL referee. “He really is the ultimate referee, the ultimate umpire: someone who is perceived by the public as being genuinely objective.”
Hochuli, of course, is known not only for his professionalism, but also for his incredible fitness, and is trending after uttering the best quote of the entire lockout: “As soon as I heard the rumors today, I got down on the floor and started doing pushups.”
There’s no word on what Lehrer said when he first heard he would be moderating this debate, but it may have been something along the lines of, “Sure, what else is new?” He has moderated 11 in his career so far.
Harvard professor Roger Porter–who teaches the popular Government 1540: The American Presidency–is as excited to see Lehrer back in action as many fans are to see Hochuli back in stripes. Porter said Thursday that he wishes Lehrer would moderate every debate, citing his exemplary fairness and pointing to the fact that Lehrer goes so far as to refrain from voting.
Both Lehrer and Hochuli will try to fade into the background this week and let the players and pols shine. Be sure to check back later in the week for the HPR’s analysis on who did a better job.
UPDATE: Consensus on the debate seems to be that Lehrer swallowed his whistle last night and in general turned in a poor performance. We’re going to have to give this one to the guy in the white hat.