The 2012 United States of America Presidential Race and the 2011-2012 National Basketball Association season. Two lengthy competitions filled with twists and turns, surprises and failures, ups and downs, pretenders and contenders, that don't seem all that similar on the surface...
However, when one digs deeper, some startling parallels between NBA Basketball and the 2012 race start to emerge: Old white men are generally in charge of everything, nobody takes women seriously (except MN - Go Lynx!), and despite many contenders and pretenders, there can only be one champion. Without any further ado, let's arbitrarily assign each Presidential contender their very own representative 2011-2012 NBA Team(s):
Tim Pawlenty: Boring and overwhelmingly white. Seemed destined for an early failure, and dropped out of contention quickly despite his awesome "pregame intro". A Washington Outsider without a compelling narrative and with no realistic shot at the playoffs. Definitely in rebuilding mode. NBA Teams: Sacramento Kings, New Orleans Hornets.
Much like Pawlenty, Paul Westphal has gone fishin'Michele Bachmann: An early surprise in the Iowa Straw Poll, but despite the erstwhile "support" of the Tea Party, she had too much competition from other outspoken Evangelical candidates for the Conservative Christian votes in Iowa. Ultimately, her awful rhetoric, extreme views, and Jackie-Christie-Like husband Marcus (two words: doggie sunglasses) dragged her down to a sixth place finish in Iowa, her "home" state! Bachmann was all flash but very little substance, with questionable coaching and too many fatal flaws to win. NBA Teams: Phoenix Suns, Charlotte Bobcats.
Ain't no party like a Michele Bachmann Tea Party
THE FATALLY FLAWED
Herman Cain: The Black Walnut! The Her-Man with the plan so fine they called it 9-9-9! The Mad Max of the Flat Tax! The former Godfathers Pizza CEO was a force early in the campaign season despite his non-traditional "make-up." Then his character didn't hold up under intense scrutiny: allegations of his infidelity and covered up sexual harassment lawsuits (plus that pesky Libya question) put a much bigger dent in his career than they did Kobe's. Hey, at least he provided us with the most memorable campaign ad of the 2012 cycle thus far, and he was certainly capable of putting up highlights as a loser. However, at this point as Stephen Colbert has shown, he's pretty much a joke and he's not going anywhere fast. NBA Teams: New Jersey Nets, Golden State Warriors.
Herman Cain reacts to the Grizzlies comeback over the Warriors last week
Rick Perry: Perry surged to the lead when he raised 17 million dollars (almost enough to pay Gilbert Arenas this year) in just 7 short weeks after launching. However, money doesn't buy you wins in the NBA or politics when you play like an idiot. Running this ad didn't help his image either, and as Grant Hill and Jared Dudley know, that wasn't cool Rick! Perry represents the "talented" teams who have everything they need to win on paper, and could achieve much better results if they didn't play "stupid basketball." NBA Team: New York Knicks.
Carmelo and Amare disagree with this Author's Perry comparison
John Huntsman: He put all his eggs in one basket (New Hampshire), and despite investing some of his massive personal fortune he came up empty handed in the #FITN primary. Why? It wasn't the work of his attractive daughters and their social media sensationalism, nor was it his infamous motorcycle riding commercial. It was probably the fact that he thinks Evolution and Climate Change are real, two big GOP no-no's comparable to a "draft bust" of the likes of Hasheem Thabeet or Johnny Flynn. NBA Teams: Washington Wizards ($22 million this year for Rashard Lewis out of a total $57 million team salary!), Atlanta Hawks (The Joe Johnson Contract plus the Marvin Williams bust).
When made aware of his Wizards comparison, Huntsman went gun shopping
THE DARK HAWSES
Rick Santorum - Representative of a Small Market team that has traditionally had very little money or name recognition and star power, but has over achieved this year due to hard work, extreme views, and the early struggles of some of his competitors. Also, sweater vests. He's exceeded pre-season expectations, but unfortunately there's no way he can win "The Ship," this time around. He'll definitely be fun to watch all season and could even possibly make some noise against the favorites during the "stretch run" (I.E. Super Tuesday). NBA Teams: Denver Nuggets, Philadelphia 76ers, Minnesota Timberwolves.
Santorum: Sweater Vests "Give Me Power"
Ron Paul: Well liked by many groups of fans and voters for his views on foreign policy and our country's finances, and seen as the most "genuine" candidate of the bunch for his long career of consistent, albeit sometimes batshit crazy views. He'd definitely achieve better electoral results in a league with a different style of play (ranked choice voting), and with "international rules" where physical, slower, "team play" wins the day. He's got the political chops to compete, but his old age and lack of campaign cash compared to the frontrunners aren't doing him any favors. NBA Teams: San Antonio Spurs, Boston Celtics.
This is actually Ron Paul hitting a bomb in a Congressional baseball game.
THE GOP FRONT RUNNERS
Mitt Romney: The "Massachusetts Moderate" has had an "air of inevitability" as the eventual GOP nominee despite his historical run of flip flops which puts John Kerry to shame, passage of "Obamacare" as Governor of Massachusetts, and his massive personal wealth which is seen as a Bain rather than a boon after Gingrich and others began to nonsensically attack him as a Capitalist. Despite all these "regular season" weaknesses, his moderate views would be an advantage in the general election, and from the start he's been the only real threat a 2nd Obama term as far as this Author is concerned. Obviously, Romney is a serious "Finals" contender, despite the fact he's been a perennial loser over the course of much of his recent career. Even though Romney's certainly not winning pretty right now, a win is a win is a win. NBA Teams: Dallas Mavericks, Chicago Bulls, Memphis Grizzlies.
Romney shows a recent crowd in Florida how to properly catch a chest pass
Newt Gingrich: With no real "ground game," a campaign built around debate success, and some timely recent acquisitions ($10 million in Super-PAC funding), Gingrich has surged to the top with an equal mix of flashy rhetoric, name recognition, and overall dickishness. One could even say he's got some serious GOP old white man SWAG going on after his evisceration of John King. Despite his lobbying work for Freddie Mac, his three marriages (open or closed), and his ethics violations and infidelity that scream "opposite of family values," Gingrich could still make it to the Finals on the back of glitz and glam (Showtime Gingrich!), when as recently as a few months ago, nobody really took him all that seriously. NBA Teams: Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers.
Barack feels the same way I do about the Gingrich candidacy/Lakers season
Barack Obama: Let's get one thing straight: Obama is the favorite among all the candidates whether we're talking a game of basketball OR the the 2012 Presidential Race. His strengths (MVP caliber star power, mass appeal, not a Republican) make him the favorite this year, and like any championship team who's tough on D and thrives under pressure, he's been there before and knows what to do in crunch time. His strength is campaigning rather than governing, and as a "leader who's in his prime," he's ready to prove he belongs by finally winning a[nother] Ring, AKA a two term presidency. NBA Teams: Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder.
Sorry Barack about the whole not comparing you to the Chicago team thing...
WHAT THIS ALL MEANS FOR THE 2012 SEASON:
If my expert logic follows, the Republican Primary is going to come down to a race between Gingrich and Romney, meaning that the race for the 2 seed in the West behind the Thunder will be between Lob City, the Lakers, Dallas, and Memphis. I see a 7 game knock-down drag out Western Conference Semi's battle between the Clippers and the Grizzlies ending with a Rudy Gay buzzer beater, and the Grizzlies going on to lose to the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals in six games.
Meanwhile in the East, the old guard of the Celtics and Magic no longer have the firepower to compete with the class of the conference, Miami and Chicago. Derrick Rose doesn't quite have enough offensive support without super friends to make it to his first NBA Finals, and the Bulls fall to the Heat in seven.