Of Mondays and Desperate Causes

On Saturday night I watched in dread as Magglio Ordonez slid into home plate, was tagged out… but never got up. Quickly confirmed to have a fractured ankle, he had to be aided off the field. The number three hitter in my Detroit Tigers lineup, swinging the bat well again after a forgettable 2009, gone for 6 to 8 weeks (2B Carlos Guillen landed on the 15-day disabled list after the same game). A mere matter of days before the non-waiver trade deadline. A season that on the cusp of the All-Star break looked like it could be promising… you can just about write it off now.

A month ago relief pitching sensation Joel Zumaya broke his arm and finished his season while pitching against Minnesota. Less than a week ago third baseman Brandon Inge broke his hand on an inside pitch. With some key rookies providing unexpected contributions, it looked like the Tigers could weather the storm enough with a trade deadline pick-up to make the final piece. Hard to see how that can happen now, at least not without mortgaging away a much more promising future.

Dare I say it, but my Colorado Rockies haven’t looked much better of late. Ubaldo is off his game, the effect of Troy Tulowitzki being out of the lineup for weeks now taking its toll, and the post-break road trip couldn’t end soon enough. Too many holes in the lineup. Inconsistency from the bullpen. Can they catch enough fire to make up lost ground in the NL West race come September? I’m beginning to have my doubts.

For the Tigers and Rockies, if things continue to falter, there is always 2011. But need I go into the trainwreck-like spectacle that is the governor’s race in Colorado? “There’s always 2014….”

So many have weighed in. Many have sought me out and asked for my insights. I have turned to others to do the same. Every way I slice it, the reasonable side of me says the bad news is inevitable. My only comforting response: Who knows what could happen next? I know, not really that comforting. It hasn’t been easy in helping me to prepare for a presentation at this morning’s Jefferson County Republican Men’s Club, either.

We wanted a conservative — preferably of the clean, competent, principled and articulate variety — to occupy the governor’s office come 2011. After four years of Bill Ritter taxation and regulation, and the folly emanating from D.C., the political winds have been at our back. In spite of it all, the only end I see at the moment is failure, regret and disappointment.

Others have stated the clear case of why neither Scott McInnis nor Dan Maes is fit to win. I’m with them. I founded the “Undervote Colorado’s GOP Governor Primary” page on Facebook. Why? Maybe just to feel like I was doing something.

I have pored over all the theories and scenarios. Tom Tancredo’s threat of a third-party campaign is not welcome. Though I can appreciate what he says he is trying to do, the former Congressman is not the right man for the job and is only serving to foster division and alienation within the GOP and among conservatives. In short, he’s making a bad situation worse.

Of course, the state’s Republican establishment bears its hefty share of the blame for the mess in which we find ourselves. Who knows what it might take for them to learn their lesson? Maybe bringing the party down in a ball of flames and completely wasting a pristine opportunity.

That’s what I wish to prevent happening. Not for the sake of McInnis or Maes or Dick Wadhams or the powers that be, but for the cause of a principled and effective opposition within the state legislature and key statewide offices.

At this point, I don’t see a way to avoid having the charmed Hickenlooper occupy the Governor’s office. Meanwhile, Tancredo’s course of action threatens the resources, unity and volunteer corps needed to replace state treasurer Cary Kennedy and secretary of state Bernie Buescher, and more importantly undermine the chances for Republicans to win the state house and senate — as they have a fairly good chance to do this year.

If you care about the GOP, or you at least care about the effects of having one-party Democrat power in Colorado, then you should care about what this scenario means to the redistricting which is slated to occur after the 2010 election. If you care about limited government, fiscal conservatism and things like the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights or educational freedom, you should be upset that among a host of good, principled conservative state legislative candidates, some would fall prey to the effects of a split. (Please don’t do it, Tom!)

It’s not just a matter of electing John Hickenlooper. It’s also about helping to protect the Democratic majority in the legislature. Unintended consequences are just as real as the intended ones.

Notice the title I gave this post: desperate (not necessarily lost) causes. Hope springs eternal from Mount Virtus, in part because the alternative can be too much to bear. For one thing, don’t give up on everything political because of the governor’s race. Find at least one good state senate or state house candidate to support with your time and/or money. If nothing else, rebuilding the conservative Republican bench will help to avert future situations like we are in today.

That being said, the Monday drudgery arrives, and fortunately there are much bigger things in life to capture me. Baseball and politics are not life. Faith, family and friends remain. Thank God for real hope, for undying love, for sweet forgiveness, for the lessons grace has to teach me. Now onto that speech, and back into life.

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