Streetcar Line

Volleyball Dad Channels Tug McGraw

Believing is the first, essential step toward winning.

By 10.9.12

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I was in the grocery store's produce section trying to figure if "scallions" were the same things as the "green onions" needed for my wife's recipe when Volleyball Mom saw me and made a beeline my way. She said she was sort of embarrassed that I had cited her in last week's column, but was glad I had found her insights to be worth relating to my readers. She said her husband had gotten a kick out of it too.

Speaking of her husband, she said (after I made a few pleasantries) she wanted to relate something he had said after the debate. Apparently she had told him the debate had made her feel as if Mitt Romney might really have a chance to win the presidency. "Might?!?" he had answered. "Might? No, not 'might,' but 'will.'"

She continued: "Then he started telling me this story of some baseball player named Tug. He was really intense. Apparently this Tug guy ran around saying 'Ya gotta believe' and then won a championship and started leaping around like a maniac, or something. And my husband kept saying that we need to be like Tug, that we 'gotta believe.' We gotta believe Romney's gonna win. We gotta believe the country isn't doomed. We gotta believe the Constitution still matters. Gotta believe, gotta believe, gotta believe. The more he said it, the more enthusiastic he got. It was like he was channeling this Tug guy or something. You men are so funny with your sports stories."

It might have been funny, but Volleyball Mom's husband had a great point. Tug McGraw had a great point with the Mets and again when he reprised his message with the Phillies. Ya gotta believe. Really gotta.

If you are a right-leaning American, ya gotta believe not just that Romney can win. Ya gotta believe in why he will win. Ya gotta believe Romney will win because Americans are tired of 45 months of bad economic results. Ya gotta believe Romney will win because the large majority of the public is tired of seeing the United States look weak on the world stage by bowing to foreign leaders, apologizing to foreign audiences, and having our embassies violently protested, burned, and looted. Ya gotta believe Romney will win because citizens are tired of crushing debt, high energy prices, a large drop in household net worth, and several downgrades of the federal government's credit ratings.

But Americans believe in more lasting things, and more positive things, than a mere need to stop bad times and bad tidings. We hold dear some noble ideals, noble ideas, and noble aspirations. Ya gotta believe -- we gotta believe -- in some of the great truths recognized in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Federalist Papers. We should believe them not because they are recognized in those great documents, but because they already were truths before the writers of those documents had the wisdom to recognize them, and because they remain true today and always will.

We know that our rights, especially our religious liberties, are unalienable. Those rights come to us from God, not from government. Those rights are not entitlements to material goods, but rather to the freedom to pursue our own goods, material or spiritual, without interference from the heavy hand of central government. Those liberties recognize that no men are angels -- and that therefore, no men should have unfettered power, due to supposed expertise or civil station, over the private decisions and pursuits of other men, even if supposedly for the others' own good.

We believe, therefore, in limiting government. We gotta believe it. We limit government by multiple mechanisms. We enumerate the central government's powers, and insist that any other powers belong to the people or to the more local entities of political organization. We insist, also, that not even the president is above the law, and that indeed by design he is in domestic matters answerable to the Congress whose prescribed powers are antecedent to and more numerous than his. And we fought a king in significant part because he "erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance."

We also understand the wisdom of the prime author of our justly famous Declaration: "A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned." This is, he justly wrote, "the sum of good government."

Nothing more is necessary. Very little more is even acceptable. The truth is that we are not defined by our government; our government is defined, and circumscribed, by our people.

We now look at Mitt Romney, and we see a man who understands the enterprising nature of American people who value just such freedom to pursue their own, self-chosen goals. We see a winning candidate who aspires to unleash the energy of the entrepreneur, and who inspires the great capabilities and patriotism of the most accomplished Olympians. We see a leader who has known tremendous success and wants to share it -- to use his knowledge of how success is gained in ways that enable us to find that success for ourselves, by emulation but not by regimentation. And we see a soon-to-be president who will not -- nay, never -- be intent on "transforming" us into a nation of his own fevered imagination, but who will instead be determined to create the conditions where we can improve the America we already love, through our own choices, to fulfill our own visions.

Ya gotta believe all this. Ya just gotta.

And then you have to work and sweat and rally like Tug did, to make that belief a reality. Everybody knew old Tug was a bit of a rapscallion. But in his unquenchable spirit, and ours, was and is the recipe for success.

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About the Author
Quin Hillyer is a senior editor of The American Spectator and a senior fellow at the Center for Individual Freedom. Follow him on Twitter @QuinHillyer.