Ever since my brother was very young, he has been a huge baseball fan. Huge. As in never miss a game, memorize the stats of every player, and spend your every waking moment thinking about it, Huge. Growing up in Seattle this also meant he was a huge Mariner’s fan. And those two things – being a big baseball fan emotionally invested in your team and being a Mariner’s fan – were not the best combination. In fact, I’d say being a Mariner’s fan in the 1980’s was an awful lot like being a Conservative during the 2008 election cycle. You knew from the start that the team you were rooting for wasn’t very good and had almost zero chance of winning, but you rooted for them anyway, out of pure loyalty. The Mariner’s losing streak was so consistent and so long that in many people’s minds “Mariners” became synonomous with “Losers”. But then something happened.
The Mariners started to win.
And not only did they start winning, but they became a winning team. The kind of team that can beat the Yankees in a Division playoff. The kind of team that sets a record for the most wins in one season.
Now to a casual observer (me) this was just pure dumb luck, or a team finally getting their due after years of losing. But my brother, the closest thing to an expert on Mariner’s Baseball you will ever find, knew better. And the true reason for the Mariner’s “sudden” switch from a losing team to a winning team had everything to do with the players. But unlike the bigger winning teams with their bigger winners budgets, the Mariner’s couldn’t just go out and find winning players to put on their team – they had to cultivate their own. They had to find players who were just starting out, guys who were young but showed a lot of promise, and they had to invest in them. It’s a plan that takes a lot of time and a kind of long vision and an eye for the bigger picture. Many people probably complained that the team owner and the coach were wasting valuable resources on no-namers who wouldn’t be taking the team to the world series within a season. But thanks to that investment, thanks to that eye on the bigger picture, the Mariners produced some of the most impressive names baseball has seen in the last 10-15 years – guys like Edgar Martinez, Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, and Randy Johnson.
Conservatives need to take a page from the Mariners playbook.
Before the votes from 2008 were even counted, people were already talking about who to run in 2012. Names like Palin and Jindal quickly floated to the top as All Stars emerging to lead the Conservatives to a new era of winning the likes of which we haven’t seen since Reagan. And while I agree that both Palin and Jindal have a lot to contribute and may in fact be the All Stars of the Conservative team, it takes more than one or two players to produce a winning season. What we need is an entire bench-full of strong players.
We need to look beyond the White House and see the potential for growth that exists all over the country, at every level. Sometimes this may mean looking beyond our own elected officials and instead turning our focus to parts of the country where Republicans may not have held a seat in a very long time. Remember the Mariners – Just because we haven’t won before, doesn’t mean the game isn’t winnable. It’s hard to justify donating money to a campaign during hard economic times, and even more so when the election won’t directly affect you or your family. But consider the impact that your donation could have if we were able to elect Republicans in what many consider to be “solidly blue” parts of the country.
One such opportunity exists in the person of Jim Tedisco who is running for congress in NY’s 20th Congressional District, an area that stretches across the Adirondacks, the Catskills, and through the Hudson Valley. The seat is currently empty and there is a special election to fill it on March 31st. Having gone to college in that area, I can attest to the fact that it is not a generally “red” part of the state. That Tedisco is running so strongly in the polls is a testament both to him and to the fact that people are rather unhappy with the Democrats these days. This is a moment of opportunity that we may not see again for a long long time. Let’s not waste it. If you can even spare just a few dollars, please consider making a contribution TODAY– think about the impact one more republican might make in congress right now.
And while we continue to keep an eye on The President and his Socialist Democrat-led Congress, let’s also commit to building up our own team. Look for every opportunity to support Conservative Republicans at every level of government – from city council to party leadership, to Congress, and yes, even the White House. The good news about being less than 100 days into Dear Leader’s presidency is that this is the perfect time to cultivate new players with a lot of potential and build up a team that can take us from the frustrating failures of 2008 to a strong season in 2012. Let’s not let the moment go to waste.