Coach K Speaks Truth to Madness

Every once in a while, ordinary citizens — people far removed from the political process — become a part of the national conversation.

For example: During the 2008 campaign, for better or worse, Joe the Plumber became a voice that brought media attention and (to be sure) scrutiny.

A new voice has emerged. For years, everyone has known him as Coach K, even while I, as a graduate of the University of North Carolina, have called Mike Krzyzewski many other names not always fit for print.

At a press conference today, Coach K addressed President Obama's not selecting Duke Univeristy to go to the Final Four in the presidential bracket, saying, "As much as I respect what he's doing, really, the economy is something that he should focus on, probably more than the brackets."

The quote has taken off like wildfire. Coach K has tapped into a populist sentiment that accurately reflects the uncertainty and anger many Americans are feeling while President Obama highlights his NCAA picks and appears on the "Tonight Show."

The president has picked my alma mater to win the championship. I hope he's right. I also hope that he works with both parties in Congress to find a common-sense solution to the economic challenges we face.

Right now, I can tell you what teams our fan-in-chief has picked for the Final Four (UNC, Louisville, Pitt and Memphis). I can't tell you four concrete things the president is doing to fix the economy. That's troubling.

My feelings on the North Carolina/Duke rivalry (note to ACC fans from other ACC schools: North Carolina and Duke have no rivals other than each other) are perfectly summed up in the title of Will Blythe's fantastic book on the rivalry, To Hate Like This Is to Be Happy Forever. As a diehard Tar Heel, I'm pulling for my team all the way.

Today, I also fully support the Duke basketball coach. That's something I never thought I'd say (even if I hope Duke loses).