Lose big enough and one day you won’t matter at all.


Listen to the broadcast of You Tell Me on KTBB AM 600, Friday, January 4, 2013.

It being college bowl season, and Friday (Jan. 4, 2013)  being the very day in which Oklahoma meets Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl Classic, please indulge me in a sports analogy as we ponder the political scene.

At one time Dallas’s Cotton Bowl Classic ran with the big dogs. It, together with the Rose Bowl, the Sugar Bowl and the Orange Bowl, constituted the very definition of New Year’s Day in America.

In most years, the Cotton Bowl Classic featured a face-off between teams ranked in the top ten nationally. In some years, the game decided the national champion.

Some of the greatest football players ever  – names like Bart Starr, Roger Staubach, Joe Theisman, Joe Montana, Troy Aikman and Eli Manning – played in the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day.

The game always featured the champion of the Southwest Conference against a highly-ranked invited opponent. Such invitations were greatly prized. Members of the Cotton Bowl Team Selection Committee, wearing green blazers and tan slacks and themselves former Southwest Conference players, were among the most important men in football in the closing weeks of the college football regular season.

For decades, the television broadcast of the Cotton Bowl was one of the brightest stars in the CBS Sports galaxy.

But in the early 1990s, the Southwest Conference fell upon hard times, much of which was the result of self-inflicted wounds. NCAA sanctions resulting from numerous recruiting violations at Southwest Conference schools, including the now infamous “death penalty” carried out by the NCAA upon Southern Methodist University, led to a decline in the quality of play in the SWC. That decline eventually led to the demise of the SWC and was devastating to the Cotton Bowl.

In a five-year run beginning in 1991, the host Southwest Conference team would lose five straight games by an aggregate score of 163 to 43. The 1991 game between Miami and Texas was the worst. Texas lost 46 to three. Texas A&M managed to score only a safety the following year against Florida State and then only a field goal the next year against Notre Dame.

TV ratings suffered, giving Tempe, Arizona’s Fiesta Bowl the opening it needed to push the Cotton Bowl aside and to ultimately join the Cotton Bowl’s three former peers – the Rose, the Sugar and the Orange – in the Bowl Championship Series.

By now you may be asking, what does all of this have to do with the current political scene?

The answer is; congressional Republicans are in many ways replicating the experience of the Southwest Conference and its once prestigious Cotton Bowl game. Largely through fecklessness and self-inflicted injury, Republicans are forfeiting their standing as a governing party.

Where the Southwest Conference teams of 1991 – ’95 lost 163 to 43, Republicans in Congress lost 41 to one in the just-concluded debacle over the so-called fiscal cliff. For every dollar in spending cuts put forth by the Republicans, the Democrats got 41 dollars in new taxes.

You read that correctly. Under the just-enacted legislation, taxes go up by $620 billion, spending is cut by a mere $15 billion. Do the math. It’s 41 to one. The Republicans got rolled – again.

When you lose that badly, it’s hard to say that you matter.

When the Cotton Bowl ceased being able to make its annual game a good contest, it fell from favor, lost its standing and today has no role in determining college football’s national champion.

Another couple of performances like that which we have just seen from Republicans, and they will have no role in governing the country.

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Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of ATW Media, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The TEAM FM in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

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4 Responses

  1. L Miles says:


    Your analogy and conclusion is perfect. I’m afraid that the Republican leadership in Congress operates entirely from a defensive position and is more afraid of the Liberal/Socialist Media and Democrat monopoly complex in Washington than the voters that put them in office. What is even more distressing is the proposal by prominent Republicans that the Democrat agenda should not be vigorously opposed (by voting “Present”) so that the nation can learn from the disastrous consequences of the BIG Government debacle that is sure to follow (inflation, unemployment, higher taxes for everyone, and pathetic health care as dispensed by government regulations [to save money]. Did the nation learn from the despicable performance of the Obama Administration over the last four years? When are the Republicans going to quit “kicking the can down the road”?

    It is clear to me that the Republicans are already defeated in any contest with the lying propaganda juggernaut of the Socialists and are more interested in holding on to their Washington perks by trying to compromise rather than vigorously fighting for responsible government by proclaiming the TRUTH which is on their side.

    The Republicans need to take a course in Child Rearing 101 in order to know how to deal with a spoiled brat: Obama and his never-die Democrats that use the temper tantrum to get their way every time. Or better yet, learn a forward-looking, non-reactionary, pro-active strategy from champion negotiators in the business world, such as Donald Trump.

  2. Brad Evans says:

    Great analogy. Love your analogies. My favorite so far was your personal sales analogy with the first presidential debate.

  3. WELL SAID…and my-saying-so may irk my lefty amigos, but The Republic needs a less-broken Republican Party. And the Democrats need a more-credible counterpoint.

    GOP messaging is dysfunctional and the messengers they paraded through 20 primary debates were Saturday Night Live fodder.

    WHO will become a more credible voice for this once-G. O.P. than Rush Limbaugh?

  4. C M Solomon says:

    It should be obvious now to all Conservatives (that understand the fundamentals of our God-given right to Liberty) that the corrupt Socialist Washington elite represent an existential threat to all that we hold precious. The elite Washingtonians share the worst characteristics of human depravity as they undermine the Constitution and rob us of every possible route to pursue Happiness by our own initiative and hard work to benefit ourselves and our posterity. They have become parasites dressed in three-piece suits that spout lie upon lie to enslave the minds of willing dupes. They continue to stuff their pockets with pork to buy even more power for themselves as America is forced into destitution by their Socialist policies.

    It should be obvious that the Republican establishment has become a pathetic party of poltroons that pretend to resist the drunken power party atmosphere in Washington. The Republicans continue to act like orphans looking for attention in a city of Socialists. Not since Ronald Reagan have the Republicans had a clear message of fealty to the Constitution and protection of our liberties.

    I am reminded of the back-handed statements of both Bushes that rushed to cozy up to the Liberal Washington establishment with their infamous phrases of “kinder and gentler” and “compassionate conservative” approaches of acquiescence and accommodation with Liberalism when convenient. There simply was NO serious attempt to expose and defeat the spending behemoth in Washington. They were embarrassed by the Conservative philosophy that Reagan promoted as the antidote to Socialism.

    I now believe that the Republican leadership is on a mission to fool the Conservative wing of the party to gain their support while secretly shedding most Conservative values that are out of step with the Washington mind-set of BIG government superiority. They should simply be honest and state that they are NOT Conservative, but pragmatic, soft Liberals that are more responsible than the radical left-wing Socialists running the Democrat Party today. They can’t do this because they would never win another national election without the Conservative vote.

    Most uninformed voters (the majority) follow a passionate message (even if a lie) rather than a weak, me-too, mealy-mouth argument of opposition. Paul, you are right. Another series of capitulations to the Socialist juggernaut in Washington will doom their future “role in governing the country.”

    If the Republicans really believed in the superiority of Conservative values it would be very easy to expose the path to national destruction offered by the Socialists. Unfortunately, if it’s not in the heart, the lack of conviction is obvious and persuasion becomes futile.

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