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A Football Lesson For The GOP


GOP and Football
We watched more football than usual last weekend, perhaps to escape all the truly frightening news coming out of Obama’s Washington, but mostly because there were some good match ups and classic rivalries on TV.
 
And we were struck by an interesting phenomenon that has relevance for the fast approaching 2014 midterm election and the prospects for a GOP takeover of the U.S. Senate and gains in other key races: football teams that were behind didn’t play it safe to lose. When they were behind they threw bombs and went deep for the win.
 
The drive to win, indeed the fundamental ethos of the game of football, is that you use all of your skill and energy – you put it all on the field – to win. It’s not a gentleman’s game where a technically proficient loser gets a lot of credit for looking good on the field, but still losing.
 
No doubt this drive to win the game, to take risks and to give it your all is why football is America’s most popular sport – Americans love winners, admire fighters and generally despise those who sit out a battle and play it safe.
 
In UCLA’s 20 to 17 win over Texas the Bruins weren’t sitting on the ball when they were behind; Jerry Neuheisel threw a 33-yard TD pass to Jordan Payton with 3 minutes left and won the game.
 
The team that was behind almost never stalled, and of those that didn’t go for broke when they were behind (I’m thinking of the Georgia vs. South Carolina game) all too many stayed behind and lost.
 
Of course going for broke doesn’t guarantee you’ll win, just watch the replay of the Florida vs. Kentucky game, but not going for broke pretty well guarantees you will lose.
 
The point of this digression through the weekend’s college football games is that the Republican National Committee, the Republican Senatorial Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Republican candidates that are listening to them all seem to be stalling and trying to run out the clock while they are behind.

The notion that you can run out the clock for the campaign by basically standing for nothing, and then kick a 50+ yard field goal to win by 1 point reminds us all too much of the 2000 presidential campaign and Karl Rove’s strategy to win Florida – and the presidency – by 537 votes, or perhaps more correctly by 1 vote on the Supreme Court.
 
As our friend (and NJ GOP Senate candidate) Jeffrey Bell documented in The Case for Polarized Politics and CHQ Chairman Richard A. Viguerie argued in his latest book TAKEOVER, Republicans almost never win unless they nationalize elections and draw a sharp and clear contrast with Democrats on policy and the conservative agenda.
 
Merely trashing the opponent while standing for nothing (the preferred campaign tactic of the Republican permanent political class’ consultants) means the Republican almost never wins a close campaign.
 
And in state after state where Republican senate candidates should be ahead running away: Arkansas, Alaska, Iowa, Georgia, North Carolina, and Colorado come immediately to mind, the race is close, statistically tied or the Republican candidate is behind in some credible polls.
 
Republicans don’t have to throw a bomb or kick a 50+ yard field goal in every race to take back the Senate; with Obama’s record, and the positions the Senate Democrats have embraced, all the GOP candidates have to do is run solid plays on every down.
 
But you don’t get four yards in a cloud of dust to win the game if you take a knee or throw the ball out of bounds on amnesty for illegal aliens, Obama’s contempt for the Constitution, Congress’ out-of-control spending and how to effectively confront the great national security threats facing the country today.

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