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Francona’s example for GOP: Stick with what has worked in the past

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If 2016 trends stay true, the “Sweet Meteor of Death” (#SMOD on Twitter) will hit the earth — specifically, at Progressive Field in Cleveland — in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7 with the score tied and the Cleveland Indians’ Mike Napoli at bat.

The Cubs’ Jon Lester will have dueled with the Tribe’s Corey Kluber through 6 scoreless innings, with Bryan Shaw, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen holding the Chicago line-up scoreless in their turns in relief of Cluber. And Arlodis Chapman will be looking long and hard at Napoli, the almost certain World Series MVP, if he delivers one more “Party at Napoli’s” homer just as SMOD appears in the sky.

When SMOD strikes one of two long-suffering fan bases will be spared the ultimate indignity — losing this series to the perennial chump of the other league. I don’t even want to think about the Indians losing another World Series. There have been two Series featuring the Indians in my 60 years as a tribe fan — 1995 and 1997 — and both ended badly. But losing to … the Cubs? It can’t happen. But this series shouldn’t have happened either.

So, 2016. So not-predicted a year ago as the Kansas City Royals celebrated their Major League Baseball championship over the Mets. The Indians were 81-80 in 2015, the Cubs much better at 97-65, but the Mets had sent them home from the National League Chmapionship Series in four games. I can’t find what the Vegas odds were on an Indians-Cubs series in April of this year, but they must have been very high. (NB copy editors: As MLB rules gave the home field advantage to Cleveland since the American League won the All-Star Game this past summer, so too this officially ought to be referred to as the “Indians-Cubs Series.”)

Parallels with the politics of 2016 are sure to appear, and are not that labored. The Cubs were supposed to get here and never really trailed throughout the year. The Indians, not so much, especially after losing half their starting staff in the last month of the season, their starting catcher even earlier, and then Trevor Bauer to a sliced pinky in the post-season. (Bauer’s back, we are told.)

Secretary Clinton has always led in her party’s race for the White House, even when Sen. Sanders gave her a much tougher than expected primary (and thus all that very tough Clinton opposition research of Sanders leaked by the Russian FSB “active measures” campaign otherwise known as Wikileaks, research which Team Clinton compiled and used as necessary to slow down, then defeat Bernie — with the corrupt help of the Democratic National Committee.)

Donald Trump just kept winning his 40 percent and thus the delegates to avoid an open convention and thus the nomination. Mr. Trump won the GOP nomination fair and square. The Republican National Committee under Reince Priebus, unlike the DNC under Debbie Wasserman Schultz, ran a fair process, not a rigged one. (When Trump complains about a “rigged” process, even those who like me believe American elections are nearly always free and fair in their results need to recall that the Democratic presidential primary process was indeed rigged from start to finish.)

Now the final two weeks of the campaign and baseball are upon us. The Indians of course will keep to their basic and proven approach: Get 5 or 6 solid innings from a starter, then turn the game over to the amazing bullpen. It’s what future Hall of Fame manager Terry Francona has done even as the team staggered under the late season injury plague. If Tito changed the playbook now, there’d be a fan rebellion.

And sticking with what works ought to drive every GOP campaign from Mr. Trump’s down to the rookie would-be state legislator, but especially with GOP Sens. Ayotte in New Hampshire, Toomey in Pennsylvania, Burr in North Carolina, Blunt in Missouri, and Johnson in Wisconsin, as well as Rep. (and doctor and general) Joe Heck’s Senate camapign in Nevada. What “worked”for the GOP in 2010 and 2014 — and almost worked in 2012 and would have for Mitt Romney save for “Sandy, Candy and Orca” (the last being Romney’s failed get-out-the-vote software) — was a focus on rebuilding American military strength hollowed out by the sequester, and repealing and replacing Obamacare, the legislated disaster that continues to ravage every aspect of the American healthcare system.

Democrats cannot fix this massive fail. President Obama’s presidency will be defined by six words and two sentences. The words are “leading from behind, red line, and JVs.” The sentences are “If you like your doctor you can keep him. If you like your plan you can keep it.” The president’s favorable job approval has much to do with not being a candidate in this low road campaign and nothing to do with his foreign policy or his collapsing signature legislative ‘achievement.

Every GOP candidate has to keep reminding voters not just of the disasters abroad but also of the fact that not only did they not get to keep their doctor or their plan, tens of millions didn’t get to keep their second doctor or their second plan. And there are premium hikes now rolling out across the country!

A lead sentence from the Pittsburgh Tribune Review this week, in an article on Obamcare by Wes Venteicher: “The Pennsylvania Insurance Department on Monday approved monthly premium increases of up to 55 percent for health insurance plans sold on the Affordable Care Act’s online marketplace in the state.” How any sane Yinzer or anyone at all in the Keystone State can vote for any Democrat is beyond me when they are seeing their health insurance costs skyrocket this way. Democrats cannot fix their mess.

Pat Toomey is exactly the kind of serious, respected legislator who can. So, Republicans, follow Francona’s lead and stick with what wins. It works because it makes sense, because it is true that only the GOP can fix this disaster. Remind voters of that, every day, all day.

And go tribe! Rally together!

 

This column was originally posted on WashingtonExaminer.com.

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