What the GOP and the NCAA Have in Common

We’ll have to wait and see what the computers determine in the next BCS rankings but barring some miracle, the National Championship game will come down to LSU and Alabama.  These two teams are some of the Blue Bloods of College Football and have proven that in recent years when LSU won the BCS championship in 2007 and Alabama won it in 2009.  In case you missed it, these two teams already played each other earlier in the year with LSU winning 9-6 in overtime.  LSU beat the dog snot out of Georgia today to win the SEC championship and since Alabama (who is arguably one of the two best teams in the nation) will play in the title game but they couldn’t even win their division (LSU and Alabama are both in the SEC west).      

Crazy isn’t it?  This is the first time ever where two teams from the same conference will meet in the game that will decide the NCAA National Championship in football.  Of course this would all be moot if the NCAA would adopt the same method for crowning a champion as just about every other sport in the world (playoff) but that again looks impossible while the large conferences (PAC-10, SEC, Big 10 and Big 12) continue their stranglehold on this sport. 

This crazy way of picking a champion may be unique to college football but there is another organization that appears to follow the same method and I’m referrubg to the GOP.  Am I the only one who sees the similarities between the BCS and the current Republican presidential primary race?

Right now, barring some miracle, Republicans are going to choose between two political Blue Bloods for their nominee – Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.  Mitt and Newt are analogous to the SEC and the Big 10 conferences while other candidates that have been backed by the Tea Party are analogous to the conferences like the Mountain West and Conference USA. 

Boise State, TCU and Houston all have great records this year but they will not be allowed consideration for the BCS championship game because the sports writers, commentators and the big money behind the sport mount smear campaigns against them every year. 

You know the ‘arguments’ against allowing mid major conference champions to play for the national championship.  They don’t play the tough schedule week in and week out.  They don’t have the fan base to bring to large bowls (i.e. money).   They don’t have the tradition of the SEC and Big 10 so schools from these conferences must have their rankings biased to compensate for that.

Does this sound familiar to what we hear from the pundits on TV about the Republican candidates?

Bill Kristol stated in early November that there was little chance in the first place that Herman Cain was ever going to be the Republican nominee.   In hindsight, I have to agree that Cain was not the best choice and I left the Cain train a few weeks ago but it wasn’t due to claims of sexual harassment or affairs.  For me, I left because he didn’t do with his campaign what he said he’d do as President – surround himself with top advisors.  His leadership staff showed inexperience when they didn’t prepare Cain for the questions that would come on foreign policy.

But even before the foreign policy gaffs, pundits were against Cain and did what they could to make it very difficult for him to sustain the momentum he garnered during the debates.  There was a great post at The Real Red Barron this week that stated my frustration very well.

The Tea Party was a revolt against politics as usual. It was as much a revolt against the excesses of Republican politicians as it was a revolt against Democratic politicians. The Tea Party put Republican elected officials on notice that we – the base of the GOP – were not taking it anymore. Since the Tea Party led the GOP to historic wins in November of 2010, the Hill GOP – particularly House Republicans – have behaved in an uncharacteristic fashion. They have held the line on spending, refused to agree to raise taxes at all, and worked to reign in the size of government. These politicians didn’t suddenly get religion. They didn’t find political Jesus, they found fear – fear of the Tea Party. The only thing that stands between Republicans on the Hill going back to the bad old days of the Bush era GOP is the Tea Party.

Tea Party Conservatives need to be ready the next time around since, I’m sad to admit, it is too late to bring a new candidate into the 2012 race.  In the future, we must support so called ‘outsiders’ who are capable and worthy of the Oval Office and defend them against the resistance of the establishment. 

But all is not lost for now.  In this election cycle we can’t let the pundits dictate our views and we must push to have candidates in local elections that will not join in the Good Ole Boy politics that both the Democrats and Republicans have been guilty of.  If we can’t get a Tea Party candidate in the the Oval Office in 2012, let’s increase our membership in the House and make gains in the the Senate. 

Future ‘outsider’ candidates must learn from Cain’s failures and handle themselves better when the white hot light bears down on them when they choose to seek the highest office in the land.  Future Tea Party presidential candidates must surround themselves with those who have experience in the political arena and counsel them on how to act like a politician while they are campaigning.  It sucks but the inertia built up in the nomination machine can’t be changed overnight and we have to play in the system before we can change the system.   

The NCAA should adopt a playoff system for football and let the teams play out the championship on the field and the GOP should stop the snark against ‘outsiders’ and let the voters decide the eventual presidential nominee. 

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