When it's Time to Play Ball
Lets face it, next to Red Sox baseball, politics is the preferred sport of many in this area. But if you think about it, a baseball season and a campaign season have many parallels.
They both start their spring training in February, one in Florida and the other in Iowa, and end at around Nov. 1st. They both have two leagues or parties, which after a long grueling season end up having one representative from each face off in their respective fall classics. Remember how torn we were in 04 dividing our attention between the World Series and the Presidential election? By seeing the Red Sox at the White House celebrating their victory and George Bush throwing out the first pitch for the Washington Nationals, the distinction between both can become blurred.
George Bush with an ERA (Earned Re-election Average) of around 52%, and his battery mate Dick Cheney, the great signal-caller behind the plate, will soon be retiring from the game. The question will soon become predominant in the minds of fans: Is there anyone in the minors ready to step up to the plate to replace them in the starting line up? It looks like the CL (Conservative League) will have several recognizable candidates ready for the 2007-08 season. There will be many who enter spring training, but by the start of the season in New Hampshire only a few will be left standing.
Lets look at the main prospects from which the winner will most likely face Hillary, the ace of the Liberal League. Theres Americas mayor. He had a good run in New York, and even threw a no-hitter on 9/11, but he plays too much like the other league. Especially on social issues. He cant win the CL pennant.
Theres the veteran senator from Arizona. Hes a gutsy ballplayer whos taken some severe hits for his teammates early at Vietnam, but has the reputation lately of not being a team player. Although he came in second place two seasons ago to George Bush with his exciting curveball and change-up pitches, you need the confidence of your teammates in this league to win the big one. How about Bill Frist? I think he needs a few more years in the minors. Arnold would love to try out for the bigs. Hes got a great fastball and star power that would fill the stadium seats every night, but hes ineligible.
Besides, his record on steroid use would disqualify him anyway. Jeb Bush? George Pataki? I think both of them would rather stay in the minors, at least for the time being. And like the Conigliaro brothers and the Martinez brothers, there will always be unfair comparisons between Jeb and his veteran older brother. Newt Gingrich is thinking of making a comeback. He led his team from last place to first in the mid-1990s and is now itching to come out of retirement. But although he used to confound the LL (Liberal League) with his screwball, Newts best days on the field are probably behind him.
Whos left to represent the right? Can anyone beat the presumptive Liberal League champ and her husband who, to the chagrin of many traditional fans that believe in the integrity of the game, may enter the Hall of Fame when eligible? Theres one minor league prospect that may have what it takes. Hes had great success at the Olympics and is in the prime of his career. Major league scouts have had their eye on him since he beat Shannon OBrien in the finals for the triple A farm team. Hes got speed, agility, is a smart base runner, and can come through in the clutch. Hes the finesse pitcher from Massachusetts, Governor Mitt Romney.
1. Hes got the intangibles; he looks and acts the part. If you were casting for the part of a President for a TV movie, wouldnt Mitt be the prototype? In our media-saturated world today, image is 90% of the battle.
2. Hes had a trial run of taking on a woman in the gubernatorial race and came out victorious. Such a battle test shows he knows how to beat a woman without seeming like a bully; a missing quality that sunk Rick Lazio against Hillary in the NY senate race.
3. Mitt automatically takes with him two big blue states: Michigan where he grew up (and his father was governor) and Massachusetts where he sits in the governors seat today. The math has it that a Republican taking these two solid blue states would have a very difficult time losing the presidency.
4. Hell get the independent vote because hes a Massachusetts conservative. Such an apparent oxymoron might sit well with the on-the-fence crowd; and is anyone on the fence about Hillary? I think not.
But there are some weaknesses in his game that he needs to overcome. Are you listening, Mitt?
1. You need to rid yourself of nuance. Thats what did in John Kerry against Bush, and if the country sees more of the same from a Massachusetts politician, youll be immediately turned off.
2. You must be unambiguously pro-life. Again, wishy-washy might get you elected in this unusual state, but it wont fly across red America. They like clarity and conviction. Tell the country you only promised to uphold the laws in Massachusetts but were never for the choice to kill pre-born children nor to experiment on them for their stem cells. Which brings me to the next point.
3. Do not run for Governor in 2006. Youll have to run to the left to get reelected and every potential presidential primary contender for 08 will record and parrot back your compromises and nuances for all of red America to see. And if you run with moral clarity in Massachusetts on protecting human life in all of its stages and protecting marriage as having one person from each sex, youll lose convincingly in this state that the devil is most proud of and eliminate your chances for the national stage in 08.
4. Choose Condy Rice as your VP. Without saying a word she neutralizes the two major constituencies Democrats rely on women and blacks. If you dont choose her, how about Rick Santorum? He could deliver a third big blue state, Pennsylvania, which could be the knock out punch. He could also erase any hesitancy social conservatives may have in coming out to vote for someone from Massachusetts.
There you have it. Four reasons why we could have a President Romney in 08 and four suggestions as to how to make it a done deal. Mitts got two more years in the minors to work on the weak parts of his game. With the proper coaching and conditioning, he could win the big one and spare this nation from a President Hillary.
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