Back in the days of yore, roughly the mid 1960s through nearly the entire decade of the 1970s, and for a considerable portion of the 1980s, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill men’s basketball program totally dominated the venerable Atlantic Coast Conference. It seemed that every year the Tar Heels were winning the regular season title, the legendary conference tournament title, or both. From time to time other programs would rise up to challenge the Heels and their dominance of the league, notably the David Thompson-Tommy Burleson-Monte Towe era at North Carolina State, or the Jeff Mullins era at nearby Duke University, and the memorable John Lucas-Len Elmore-Tom McMillen era at the University of Maryland.
But at the end of the day, those were always short lived moments of glory, akin to a passing summer storm; beautiful and awesome in its moment, but lacking any staying power beyond its brief moment of splendor.
But always there was North Carolina and its legendary coach, Dean Edwards Smith, assisted ably through the years by men like Larry Brown, Eddie Fogler, Roy Williams, and the ever present Bill Guthridge. Legendary and some near legendary coaches tutoring players like Charles Scott, Phil Ford, Tommy LaGarde, Mitch Kupchak, James Worthy, and Michael Jordan. That parade of talent being taught by such a high caliber of coaches made North Carolina’s dominance seem as if it were their birthright, and that it was as inevitable as 90 degree heat in August.
This dominance gave birth to a collection of fans that began to see themselves as “ABC” fans: Anybody But Carolina. Many of them had no true rooting interests in other teams, while others were fans of other teams and were just sick to death of seeing Carolina win all the time. They would root for absolutely anyone to beat Carolina, just so they could relish the sight of the baby blue and white clad troops stumble off the court in defeat.
After all that, many of you may be wondering just what I am leading up to by going into the history of ACC basketball and the birth of the “ABC” contingent. So here it is: we have to avoid the temptation to become the political version of the “ABCers” in making the argument that we are “ABO” voters: Anybody But Obama.
I have heard over and over that anyone running for the GOP presidential nomination would be a better President than Barrack Obama, and every time I hear it, it makes me cringe…especially when I hear the amen chorus affirming that idea. What I have to ask is this: do people really believe that any GOP candidate would be better than Obama? Because, as you can probably tell from my tone, I sure as shootin’ don’t believe that for a New York minute.
Are you really telling me that Ron Paul would be a better president than Obama? Ron Paul, who espouses some solid fiscal ideas but thinks that America should adopt an isolationist foreign policy, and only sally forth if we are directly attacked? The Ron Paul who would gladly abandon all of our international allies and ignore our vital international interests in order to hopefully be left alone by the rest of the world? That Ron Paul? Really?
Or how’s about Tim Pawlenty, who before bowing out of the race was too danged afraid of Mitt Romney to stand by his comments about what he termed “Obamneycare”? The same Pawlenty whose main theme was to attack Michelle Bachmann for the crime of suffering migraine headaches? That guy?
Or Newt Gingrinch who has so much personal baggage that he should sign an endorsement deal with Samsonite to lug all that junk around? Or Mitt Romney, who was for abortion, the individual mandate, and moderate Republicanism before he was against it? Or Rick Perry, who thought…and still thinks…that somehow it is the responsibility of the state of Texas to force young girls to get a vaccination that guards them against cervical cancer caused by STDS? And whose only real regret about the whole debacle is that he bypassed the legislature, ruling by executive fiat?
I could go on for days, tearing into each candidate, even the ones that I like; however, that isn’t the purpose of this essay.
What is the purpose then, you ask?
Simply to warn people away from this irrational attitude as we get closer to picking the GOP standard bearer in 2012. The simple fact is that it is a fool’s errand to run around believing that just anyone could beat Obama and that just anyone would be a better President. We have to make clearheaded, objective decisions on who we support in the primaries, and if we are going to support the primary winner in the general election of 2012. We cannot be caught up in the rhetoric and emotion of being against Obama and thus becoming willing to settle for the most “electable” candidate again, as so many of us did in 2008. You see where that idea got us, right?
We can’t get so caught up in opposing Obama that we fail to fully vet our own candidates for the office. If we do that, we become the political equivalent of Clemson basketball in the ACC throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s…irrelevant. Or we end up picking another loser as the candidate…kind of like Bob Staak!