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Of summer, sports, and…President Goode?

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By Rick Howell

    Got the summer doldrums yet? The calendar tells us the season of heat is not even officially here until next Tuesday, the 21st. But we know better.

    It’s been hot, very hot, and it’s just getting started. Summer heat has a way of melting away one’s enthusiasms.
    But I’ve always found that politics and sports, enjoyed in equal measures, if possible, can usher along your uninterrupted joy of life, even in extreme weather.
    There’s no better source of entertainment right now than the troubled field of Republican presidential candidates. Poor Newt Gingrich. He refused to cancel a cruise for himself and his wife, as campaign aides had suggested. He went on vacation…and they quit and went home.
    We’re talking about his longtime spokesman, his campaign manager, and the heads of his campaign in several key states. They were upset, according to press reports, because Newt and his campaign are apparently being micro-managed by his wife, Callista.
    I guess the former House Speaker really wants to make that third marriage work (you know how conservatives are about those “family values”). Politically, Newt is now considered “as dead as Julius Caesar,” so to speak. But he says he’ll keep going. What a trooper.
    Speaking of the heat…I saw where Mitt Romney, the “putative” GOP frontrunner, said that he believes mankind has contributed to global warming. Most scientists long ago accepted that, but doctrinaire conservatives don’t want to hear it.
    The more things Romney says that actually make sense, the more that extremist animal known as “the Republican presidential primary electorate” will be looking for an alternative to him. Good luck with that.
    Summer is for baseball season, of course, and as a Chicago Cubs fan, I’m used to facing reality pretty early. If this is June, the Cubs must be finished. It is, and they are.
    More troubling, though, is the situation in the NFL. The owners and the players union haven’t had any serious negotiations on a new contract since early March. One way to come out of the summer doldrums is to dream of football in the fall. But that may not be the case this year, at least not right away.
    If anything ever represented the Goose That Laid The Golden Egg, it’s pro football. Players and owners both have it made. They’re rolling in money. You’d think they’d be able to work something out. Training camps are supposed to start next month. They need to get a deal done.
    Many of us see the correlation between politics and sports. Both have winners and losers; both bring out the best and the worst in people. But in sports the winners get a trophy; in politics they get to run the country.
    This thought naturally leads me to….who? Virgil Goode? Yes, our former Fifth District Congressman with the notable twang is back in the news. Goode is apparently considered as the favorite to be nominated for president by the Constitution Party.
    Never heard of it? Don’t fret. It used to be called “The U.S. Taxpayers Party.” But you never heard of that either, did you? Don’t worry. Virgil is in the same extreme right-wing company that he used to keep with the likes of Tom Tancredo in Colorado.
    Virgil says he’s actually “considering” running. His chances of winning, however, are about the same odds I would face if I were to enter the race for the GOP presidential nomination.
    Were he to run and win, though, I know I could count on one thing: The Chicago Cubs would finally win the World Series.
    Enjoy your summer, but stay cool.
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 Rick Howell, a Bedford native, can be reached by e-mail at NewCenHowell@aol.com.