When the first nip of chill is in the air and the trees become enflamed with the beauty of God's love, one's mind naturally turns to baseball; specifically the World Series. Yes, baseball is indeed our national pastime, a mainstay of American life along with mom and apple pie. No matter where some of our fellow countrymen are born, when they come to our shores the love of baseball soon washes over them like so much fluoridated water. Indeed, wherever American servicemen have gone on their liberating missions around the globe, they have brought the game with them.
But Autumn is also the season when we turn our minds to elections, as self-governance has also been a beloved exercise in our nation from its very birth. During the struggle for independence, our forefathers were out there pitching their brand of liberty while our brave minutemen perfected the classic American hit and run.
Of course, this independence and liberty are now threatened as never before and, for good or bad, it falls to the Republican Party to defend them. And so this week, even though we won't have a chance to even the score for our brutal defeat in last year's Fall Classic, we can chip away at our opponent's advantage. But what are our team's chances? Many in our present lineup leave much to be desired, and since there's really no organized minor league system in place, we must deal with the hand we've been dealt.
Sarah Palin, who, unlike Yankee outfielder Johnny Damon, has never been accused of "throwing like a girl," has shown in her one appearance in the Big Show that she can field with the best of them. And although she had the misfortune to be in the same battery with maverick John McCain, her prospects for a long and prosperous career look rosy, so let's just hope that she will not become a victim of the sophomore jinx.
Mitt Romney looks good and talks a good game but many are unsure if he possesses the heart and soul of a true champion and fear that he represents a classic case of warning-track power. Ditto Mike Huckabee who showed in the debates that he is all glove and no hit. He is, however a terrific barnstormer.
In politics as in baseball, a core group of Southern players is essential, and we have a few good ones. There's the wily old pro from Tennessee, Fred Thompson, who hit more than a few out of the park in the 2008 debates. And there's Mississippi governor Haley Barbour, who brought in our best rookie class ever in 1994 and is now considered by some to be ready for his breakthrough year.
After being sidelined the past few seasons with an embarrassing foot-in-mouth injury, look for Virginia's George Allen to return to form and maybe contend for comeback player of the year. After all, nobody hits lefties like big George.
Bobby Jindal is a promising rookie for the Pachyderms. But although he is a five-tool player -- a pro-life, anti-big government, tax-cutting, oil-drilling lover of the Constitution -- he needs to work on his intangibles. A little seasoning down in the Gulf Coast League can only do him good.
Another rising star is Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House Minority Whip. Talented and good-looking, he was responsible for Nancy Pelosi going 0 for 177 with House Republicans on the Stimulus bill. Also on the rise is Liz Cheney; fearless as her dad and nearly his equal when it comes to instilling dread into the hearts of opposing hurlers.
While no baseball team worth its salt would be without switch-hitters, in politics, those who swing both ways are most-often a detriment; to those who have strong convictions anyway. And all too often our team is forced into playing split-squad games with the Elephants on one side and the RINOs on the other.
Lindsey Graham had some great success as a rookie in the House Manager's lineup so masterfully skippered by crafty vet Henry Hyde during the Clinton Impeachment tilt back in '96. But since moving up to the Senate squad he has taken to batting lefty in the last few contests, making him and us look bad. There are also gals like Olympia Snowe whose most recent at-bat resulted in her being whiffed by daffy portsider Harry Reid, as she allowed the Senate Healthcare bill to come out of committee.
Now for the good news. Fortunately for us and for our country, some of our best recruits have gone on to serve in the umpiring field, but in this case they wear black and not blue. Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and crew chief John Roberts are our last line of defense in the fight to keep our home field advantage. They call 'em as they see 'em folks.
And despite the money poured into the opposition's minor league operations -- public schools and academia -- we have managed to amass quite a pitching squad over the past few decades. The current ace of our staff is that brash fireballer out of Southeast Missouri, Rush Limbaugh who, despite many mighty swings against him, has yet to be taken out of the park.
And of course there's the squad that the White House considers as one of our affiliates but is actually the only true media member of the Independent League, Fox News.
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