A lot of my friends are not going to vote in November, or if they do vote they’re going to write in Ron Paul. They say they’re voting their “conscience” as if people who are voting for Barack Obama or Mitt Romney are not voting their “conscience.” I’m going to vote my conscience, and I’m going to vote for Mitt Romney. Are there lots of things I don’t like about Romney? You bet there are. But there are more things I don’t like about Barack Obama.
It seems that a lot of Ron Paul voters forget that he ran as a Republican, and when he lost the nomination, they’ve decided to quit the Republican Party. It makes no sense. And when the GOP establishment decides to play hardball, they bellyache all the more. There’s a trite athletic saying that’s true: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” It got tough for a lot of Paul supporters, and they threw in the towel. Wimps.
The film Rudy (1993) was on TV the other night. It’s about Daniel “Rudy” Ruettige, a runt of a football player who serves essentially as a tackling dummy for the Notre Dame Football team. He goes out day after day and gets pushed over and knocked down by guys who are bigger, faster, and stronger than he is.
Rudy is all heart and determination, but he’s not going to make the varsity no matter how hard he works and bleeds and suffers. He just wants an opportunity to dress for one game and get in on one play to say that he was part of the team he idolized his entire life. It’s no wonder that Rudy “was named one of the best 25 sports movies of the previous 25 years in two polls by ESPN (#24 by a panel of sports experts, and #4 by espn.com users),” and “was ranked the 54th-most inspiring film of all time in the ‘AFI 100 Years’ series.”
Kenneth Turan of The Los Angeles Times described Rudy as “one of those Never Say Die, I Gotta Be Me, Somebody Up There Likes Me sports movies that no amount of cynicism can make much of a dent in.”1
Even if you are not a sports fan, you need to watch Rudy.
There a scene in the film where Rudy calls it quits. He’s confronted by Charles Stanley Dutton who plays the maintenance man Fortune. He was on the football team at Notre Dame, but he quit:
“I rode the bench for two years. Thought I wasn’t being played because of my color. I got filled up with a lotta attitude. So I quit. Still not a week goes by I don’t regret it. And I guarantee a week won’t go by in your life you won’t regret walking out, letting them get the best of ya. You hear me clear enough?
Once you quit, you’re forgotten. There’s always someone in the wings to take your place, even if your replacement is less talented. The game goes on with you or without you. Your quitting does not advance your cause; it only advances the cause of the opposition.
There is no way you can change what you consider to be wrong if you’re not on the team. I’ve seen it happen over and over again. Trying to change the system from the outside is nearly impossible. The great middle distance runner Steve Prefontaine (1951–1975) understood that to fight the autocratic Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), he had to be in the AAU. He and a handful of athletes changed the AAU. It no longer has any authority over collegiate athletics.
In the eyes of Notre Dame Football, Rudy was nothing, but his legacy of determination lives on. Here are Fortune’s final words to Rudy:
You’re 5 foot nothin’, 100 and nothin’, and you have barely a speck of athletic ability. And you hung in there with the best college football players in the land for 2 years. And you’re gonna walk outta here with a degree from the University of Notre Dame. In this life, you don’t have to prove nothin’ to nobody but yourself. And after what you’ve gone through, if you haven’t done that by now, it ain’t gonna never happen. Now go on back.
So to those who despise the compromising GOP — go back! You walked off the field. You cleaned out your locker. You went home. You beat yourself. You didn’t win in 2012, so now you’re going to quit like Rand Paul.
Oh, wait! Rand Paul didn’t quit. He’s a Republican. Because he stayed in the GOP, he can criticize the GOP. On Monday night he said that “the key way for the Republican Party to ‘start winning races’ is to embrace Rep. Ron Paul’s supporters and make ‘them an integral part of the party.’”
How do you think these comments would have been received if he was no longer in the GOP?
How did the GOP become what it is today? Because the people who wanted it that way didn’t quit. You may despise them and hate their tactics, but they stayed on the field. The people who’ve walked off the field made it easier for them to get their way and control the party.
If you want to see a modern-day political Rudy, then follow the career of Phyllis Schlafly who was an early Barry Goldwater in the 1964 election where he got trounced. She’s 88-years-old and has more balls than a lot of men I know. She writes:
“The  Republican Party platform may be the best one ever adopted. The party has long since learned that fiscal, social and sovereignty issues cannot be ignored or separated, but must be addressed as all part of a national campaign. Altogether, the 2012 Republican Platform is an excellent document written by grass-roots conservatives. It is a true reflection of American values.”
There never would have been a Rudy if Rudy had quit. Here’s another athletic truism: “Quitters never win.”
- Kenneth Turan, “A Tribute To The Power Of Stubbornness,” The Los Angeles Times (October 13, 1993). [↩]