Monday, May 30, 2011

Sarah Palin: Laughing all the way into the End Zone

With the kick off of Governor Palin's One Nation bus tour successfully underway, I thought our friend Brices Crossroads came up with an interesting analogy using sports metaphors for how she is outmaneuvering the media and her political opponents. ~ teledude

Free Republic
Brices Crossroads

In the past week, we have witnessed Sarah Palin make the following moves, totally unanticipated by her detractors as well as those of us who are her ardent supporters: She announced the June rollout of a movie reintroducing her from the vantage point of her Alaska Record by a superb filmmaker, Stephen K. Bannon, who has already chronicled Ronald Reagan's single-minded crusade against the Soviet Union in the stunning documentary, "In the Face of Evil; Reagan's War in Word and Deed". She has announced a bus tour that will take her cross country, beginning on the eve of Memorial Day at the Rolling Thunder rally in Washington.

Finally, she kept her itinerary private but the press, ever hungry to cover the most interesting and unconventional political figure in two lifetimes, found her in the midst of hundreds of thousands of bikers and followed her around like sheep. Yet the punditocracy continues to deny that she is serious and even goes so far as to raise the old canard, leveled at Reagan, that she is not to be trusted with "the bomb".

While I normally resort to military analogies in describing Palin's various and sundry maneuvers, over the weekend an analogy of a different sort--a sports analogy--came to mind, one that might not resonate with many of you. But here goes anyway.

The year is 1969. An underdog team from Mississippi, which had already lost three games, is facing what may have been one of the great LSU teams of all time, 6-0, ranked third and headed for the Cotton Bowl to face number one Texas in a showdown for the national championship. LSU leads, and will continue to lead, the nation in rushing defense and sports not one, but two, All American linebackers, George Bevan and Mike Anderson. The Mississippi team is undistinguished, except for its quarterback, Archie Manning (father of Peyton) who is known for his strong and accurate arm and very quick feet and moves.

In its reporting on the game in Sports Illustrated the next week (a 26-23 Mississippi victory, with Manning accounting for every Ole Miss point), the writer observed that football was a team sport, and surely one man couldn't beat a whole team, especially one as strong as LSU. Could he? The question was put to LSU's "bone weary" senior linebacker George Bevan and he gave an answer that I think could be applied to the nimble Palin as well: "You wouldn't think that, the way football is played today. But he is the one who beat us. I thought we had him every time. But he can turn a 15 yard loss into a 25 yard gain. I thought the quarterback from Auburn [1971 Heisman trophy winner Pat Sullivan] was good, but he has only one leg compared with Manning."

The rest of the GOP field, far less talented than the All American Sullivan, must be adjudged as legless, compared with Palin who outshines, outdraws and flummoxes them at every turn.

Palin's audacity and strategic "quick feet" reminded me of an anecdote by someone who knew Bevan, and I cannot vouch for its accuracy, but having seen the game film of the particular play in question, it looks plausible. My acquaintance said that on a particular play (a third down, I believe) from about the LSU ten, Manning executed one of his patented sprintouts to the left. The lightning quick Bevan reacted and was in a position to cut him off, when Manning cocked his right arm. Bevan reacted by jumping to block the pass but immediately thought to himself, "Wait a minute. I am 5'10" ; this guy is 6'4"; There is no way I am going to block his pass." Too late, however, the speedy Manning tucked the ball and ran around Bevan's left, over the flag and into the end zone. Out of the corner of his eye, Bevan saw Manning--who apparently realized the same thing at the same time--laughing as he darted past Bevan and into the end zone.

The dwarfs in the GOP primary hardly compare with a great All American linebacker, nor is the Establishment nearly as formidable as the great LSU team of 1969. But Palin's nimble, unexpected political moves compare quite favorably with the elusiveness and panache displayed by Archie Manning on the College Gridiron of 40 years ago.

Next year, Palin will be the one laughing as she sprints into the End Zone.

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