Monday, January 24, 2011

Torturing Football Analogies

I like a good football analogy as much as the next red-blooded male. There's just something about the smell of pigskin and fall that makes all right with the world. And while I couldn't care less whether Green Bay beats Pittsburgh (my team, America's Team, really was unceremoniously bounced from the playoffs way back during week 12), I do feel quite strongly about the predilection of some writers to torture a perfectly harmless football analogy.

Alas, such a travesty has been committed against both conservatives, and the Pittsburg Steelers.

In the latest conservative news blast from Human Events, creatively titled "Daily Events," author Tony Lee has this message for conservative stalwarts:

3.  What conservatives can learn from the Steelers:

Politics -- like football (even though the NFL tried its best to turn it into the National Flag Football League this season) -- is a contact sport. Early this season, many on the Steelers, especially ferocious linebacker James Harrison, were maligned for their hard-hitting, especially after a few unfortunate incidents on the gridiron. Though the analogy is not quite perfect, many in the media are trying to use the unfortunate tragedy in Arizona-- which conservatives and Tea Partiers had absolutely no responsibility for -- to try to make the political debate more “gentle” much in the way people tried to make the NFL “softer.” The Steelers continued to ferociously hit their opponents. They continued to play their smash-mouth brand of football. And now they are in the Super Bowl. Conservatives should take a page from the Steelers’ playbook and should fiercely, vociferously, and, yes, contentiously oppose any attempts by the left to force them to stand down on their principles in spirit of “getting along. “

Tony Lee


Aside from being poorly written, the blurb is really a cross between overly enthusiastic cheerleading for the Steelers, and an awkward call to arms for conservatives.

As for the Steelers, "ferocious linebacker James Harrison" wasn't just much maligned, he was, well, a dirty player. Harrison earned this distinction when he planted his helmet into the back of New Orleans Saints QB, Drew Brees. What lessons are conservative supposed to take from this? Apparently, that it's okay to play dirty.

Unfortunately, this makes Lee's call to arms all the more awkward. The last time conservatives played dirty it landed us in the minority, and our House Majority Leader in prison.

The other troubling aspect of Lee's blurb is that it conflates any overture of bipartisanship, however symbolic, with somehow standing down on "principles." In the wake of the Tucson tragedy, and as I have written (here, here, and here), there were many misguided attempts to place the blame for the shooting on the right. But the higher road for a movement seeking to regain the confidence of the American people is to forgive the left its foolishness, and focus on the real problems facing our Nation.

Much to Mr. Lee's dismay this must include seeking common ground with the left where we can - even if it's sitting together during the President's State of the Union address.

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