According to Wikipedia, “in the catbird seat” is a phrase used to describe someone in an enviable position, or someone who has an advantage, or the upper hand in all types of dealings.
Red Barber, a popular baseball broadcaster in the 1940s, made the phrase famous by using it often in his broadcasts. For example, a batter with “three balls and no strikes” was in the catbird seat.
Arguments come into play when you try to figure out who used the phrase first. Some say that Barber did, but some say that James Thurber did in his short story, “The Catbird Seat.”
I don’t think anyone got all worked up about who said it first. Most people just enjoy using the phrase.
I think the phrase is applicable to today’s so-called fiscal cliff in which it is clear to me that President Barack Obama is in an enviable position — or the catbird seat — in dealing with the Republican Party over the tax decision that has to be made.
The President appears to have more power in representing the middle class, a more popular group, in his battle with the Republicans who represent the wealthier Upper Class.
The situation is clear, but the solution is not.
The stituation is not as simple as a batter with “three balls and no strikes,” but the President is coming off the campaign with the popularity of a re-election, he’s got a good eye for a fastball, and he can follow a curve when he sees one.
The Republicans do have some legislative power, but they have hurt themselves throughout a tough campaign by painting themselves closer to the wealthy and further from the middle class.
A good leader has got be on the side with the best balance, and I think the Democrats have shown better balance than Republicans.
Some of the quotations during the campaign by elected Republicans showed little understanding for groups who make up the middle class.
This is our system. We have chosen our President.
It is my hope that he will make the right decision, and I think he will.
Gillis Morgan is an associate professor emeritus of journalism at Auburn University and an award-winning columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org