Premature victory lap

When I coached a Termite Football team years ago (think Pee Wee League, only much smaller) the biggest problem was a tendency of my first-grade players to start their end zone victory dance while still on the twenty yard line.

Oh yeah! Oh yeah!” A player would shout as he held the ball high overhead and shimmied in jubilation.
  
“Run! Run! Run!” I would scream as the defense thundered toward him.

Someone should be screaming that at Democrats right now, because there is a pronounced air of premature celebration over confusion in the Republican Party. They chortle over the often uninspired blandness of Mitt Romney. They guffaw over Rick Perry’s stumbles. And now they are hooting over the breathless speculation that New Jersey’s Chris Christie might jump into the game. (Is it just me, or does he look a bit like Bobby from “The Sopranos?”)

“It’s chaos!” They shout, racing up and down K Street, shaking their pom-poms and preparing to tear down the 2012 goalposts. And yet, one name should give them pause: Hillary Clinton.
 
At this point in the last presidential race, she was a 2-to-1 favorite over Barack Obama. Her campaign appeared to be an unstoppable offense, and the Republicans were then, as now, apparently in chaos.
Rudy Giuliani was barely edging Fred Thompson for the top GOP pick, with McCain staggering behind. And yet both parties pulled it together in time for the election. 

I understand the Democrats’ impulse. President Obama is under siege. His approval ratings are awful.  The party faithful are crying for release from the tension, and nothing fits the bill like a little Three Stooges action from the Republicans.

But there is simply no reason to believe the GOP will stay in disarray. History suggests they will coalesce around a candidate, consult with their coaches, and by next year at this time, both sides will be pounding it out in the middle of the field.

In other words, like I used to tell my little players, they better save the dancing until they have a reason to dance.

– CNN’s Tom Foreman is a regular on “AC360°”/www.ac360.com and “The Situation Room.”


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