Democratic political consultant and commentator and super sports fan James Carville talks about President Barack Obama’s re-election, who he’d like to play in a movie and why he’d be a lousy commissioner of college football:
Who’s more interesting to be around: politicians or athletes?
Politicians. In order to survive, politicians, in essence, have to be multi-dimensional. Athletes, by nature, have to focus on a single thing — they spend most of their lives in sports. Of course, there are exceptions. Drew Brees, in particular, comes to mind.
Is there an athlete or coach out there who would make a good president?
It would more likely be a coach, because being a successful politician — particularly a mayor, governor or president — is really about getting people to do difficult things. That is in essence what a coach does. The nature of being a political leader is getting people to follow you when sometimes it may be adverse to their interests. Good coaches get their players to do very difficult things. Actually, I think that is one of coach (Les) Miles’ strongest attributes — his players really care about him and follow him and do a lot of difficult things for him. I’m sure that if coach Miles got into politics, he would be an inspirational leader.
College football is need of a commissioner. Are you up for the job, and what would you do to improve things?
College football would be stupid to make me commissioner. I would make it illegal for LSU to play anything other than home games. There is no possible way I would ever consider being objective about my Tigers.
Which were you sweating more: the LSU-Alabama game, or the presidential election?
LSU-Alabama. I thought we had a chance to win the Alabama game, but I knew there was no chance that Democrats would lose the election.
If Obama can be reelected, why can’t the Saints go back to the Super Bowl?
Because Obama only had to beat one person! There are a lot more NFL teams then there are Republican presidential candidates. And by the way, Mitt Romney and the New England Patriots are both from Boston, but no one would ever say that Mitt Romney is a better politician than New England is a football team.
You’re an LSU grad who teaches at Tulane. Why can’t you get them back together on the football field?
My alma mater and my employer? I’ve been in politics long enough to know what to do in that situation — get out of the way and keep my mouth shut.
Who were your sports heroes when you were growing up?
Ralph Kiner, Bob Pettit, Billy Cannon.
What’s your all-time favorite sports movie and why?
“Raging Bull.” My daddy boxed for LSU (yes, there was a time when LSU had a boxing team and a pretty good one at that.) I’ve always been a fight fan, but in addition to that, it wasn’t just a great sports movie, it was a great movie in general. Honorable mention would go to “Chariots of Fire,” “Hoosiers,” and “Field of Dreams.”
Bill Hader does a bang-up job of playing you on “Saturday Night Live.” What sports figure would you be best qualified to portray?
Nick Saban. He might be the only person more intense than I am.
You and Mary are co-chairs of the local Super Bowl host committee. How’s that going?
I’m too nervous to make an assessment, but people who know more than I do tell me that it’s going very well. I just hope that our city and our state will put our best foot forward and show the world how great we really are.