Former New York Yankees player and manager Yogi Berra was a magician with words. Some of his quotes are downright legendary. “Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.” Math was apparently not his forte. "Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours.” Or physics. "You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I'm not hungry enough to eat six.” This actually makes sense to me. As you can see, many of Berra’s quotable quotes are oxymoronic. Despite what it may sound like, an oxymoron isn’t a follower of Billy Mays. It’s a figure of speech that contradicts itself. My absolute favorite, though, has got to be “Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded.” I’d like to think that Berra’s sayings were meant to be ironic. I hope he was smart enough to realize the humor in a saying like “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” But sometimes people say stupid things without realizing how stupid they sound. Such was the case Tuesday morning, when a Republican congressman discussed the fact that many Americans were having trouble signing up for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) because the exchange websites were flooded with visitors eager to learn more about — and possibly purchase — insurance under the healthcare program. “Seeing how poorly this has been implemented, I am surprised that Harry Reid and Senate Democrats are willing to shut down the government over a law that simply is unworkable, unaffordable, and increasingly unpopular,” Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp said. Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert said it more succinctly. “Too many people signing up is always the surest sign that nobody wants it.” Except that Colbert was kidding. And I don’t think Huelskamp was. Republicans keep hammering the theme that they’re willing to shut down the government on behalf of the American people in order to do away with that dastardly Obamacare thingy that no one wants. Except that a CBS News poll released Thursday found that 72 percent of Americans disapprove of shutting down the federal government in order to smite the Affordable Care Act. Other recent polls offer similar results. So to simplify things: The ACA was enacted by both houses of Congress, signed by the president and reaffirmed by the Supreme Court. The last presidential election was largely made into a referendum on Obamacare and the incumbent (Obama) won. And polls show that Americans don’t want it undone. So … what are the Republicans fighting for? Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe they’re just crazy. Seems like the whole world is, lately. What was up with that woman who crashed the White House gates and then led D.C. police on a chase through the Capitol district? I’m sure we’ll get theories over time. I’ll bet one of them will be that she was a patriot just trying to do what she could to prevent the implementation of Obamacare. If that’s the case, Republicans may run her posthumously as a candidate for Congress in Connecticut. She’d probably win the primary. Yep. The world’s getting crazier all the time. Or as Yogi Berra would say, “The future ain’t what it use to be.”
— Scott Leffler is not exactly what you’d call a Yankees fan. But his father instilled in him a healthy appreciation of Yogi Berra. Follow his occasional oxymoronic tweets @scottleffler. And remember, "You can observe a lot just by watching."