This year, like every election year, candidates are scrambling for endorsements, and it doesn’t seem to matter who the endorser is. They just want to have a lot of endorsements. For some of them, they seem to have more endorsements than they have votes.
My favorite endorsement story — so far — has to do with Newt Gingrich. The day before the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary, I happened to have been watching a press conference when Newt bragged to the audience that he had just secured an important endorsement. Who was this well-regarded political personage? In Newt’s words, he had “just had a very nice conversation with Todd Palin.” For a moment, I was a little confused. I asked myself, “Which one is Todd? Is he one of the kids or is he the husband? Oh, that’s right. The husband.” My next thought was, “How could this man’s endorsement possibly help anybody get the nomination?”
I guess logic doesn’t apply to campaigns. This group of candidates — or as the Democrats refer to them, the “Field of Dreams” — seems willing to stab each other in the back for any possible edge.
Apparently, the big endorsement that they’re all hoping for is that of Tim Tebow. So far, he has refused to pick one of them as his favorite. If you don’t know who Tim Tebow is, you probably shouldn’t admit it out loud or somebody will say you’re “Un-American.” Tebow is the quarterback for the Denver Broncos who is probably known as much for celebrating his faith as he is for celebrating his touchdowns.
He can often be seen on the field, kneeling and praying in a pose that looks somewhat like Rodin’s “The Thinker.” This pose has become so well known that when someone else does it, it is called, “Tebowing.” You can even Google “Tebowing” and it will describe this act. In a campaign in which the candidates all have shouted out in one way or another, “I’m more religious than you are,” each of them wants to be associated with a clean-living, talented, pious athlete.
Mixing religion with sports always seems as strange to me as mixing religion with politics — although the founding fathers didn’t call for the separation of church and football. Yet Tebow is considered an extremely desirable endorser. I see this is as a potentially dangerous move. Suppose that Tebow does endorse a particular candidate. What happens if he has a bad game this Saturday and his team loses? Will that hurt a candidate? Will he repudiate Tebow and say, “I was misquoted earlier. I never liked the bum?”
Can you imagine the stress on the candidate as he watches the game on television? He would see his chance for the nomination soar with every touchdown, and be dashed with every interception. It’s just too crazy. What candidate would be willing to have his entire political future dependent on the ability of one guy to avoid being pummeled by a fierce bunch of 300-pound men? Any of them.
Lloyd Garver has written for many television shows, ranging from “Sesame Street” to “Family Ties” to “Home Improvement” to “Frasier.” He has also read many books, some of them in hardcover. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out his website at lloydgarver.com and his podcasts on iTunes.