Guessing the politics of college football coaches (cont.)
Yes, Pete Carroll hails from northern California's Marin County, that redwood-studded enclave of liberalism crawling with "misguided ... hot tubbers," as George H. W. Bush so memorably put it.
But what's the one thing Carroll requires before he will even consider an NFL job? (He reminds us every offseason, after entertaining his obligatory offer from some desperate NFL owner or owners.) The answer: complete control over football operations. It's Dick Cheney's unitary executive principle, applied to the gridiron.
Consider also the distilled essence of Carroll's philosophy: "Win Forever." Am I alone in hearing, in that slogan, echoes Karl Rove's grandiose vision for a permanent Republican majority?
And ponder the single most robust principle undergirding Carroll's program. The man has made a religion of competition. On this rock he has built a cardinal and gold superpower. And what is that, other than a paean to free-market economics? Maybe that's why 'SC got spanked by unranked Oregon State on Sept. 25. Simple cause and effect: that was the day WaMu became the biggest bank failure in U.S. history.
As part of his work with A Better LA, a foundation devoted to transforming Los Angeles, Carroll drives around some of the city's sketchiest neighborhoods, late at night, with an ex-gang member, stopping periodically to talk to young people on the streets and find out more about their lives. That's something I could easily see McCain doing -- provided the Senator was permitted to bring a few of his friends along.
What about Carroll's Notre Dame nemesis, Charlie Weis? We know that the flat-topped New Jersey native cranks the anthems of fellow Garden Staters Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen, both of whom have performed at benefit concerts for Obama. (Bon Jovi recently asked Sarah Palin's people to cease and desist from playing the rocker's 2006 hit, Who Says You Can't Go Home?)
On the other hand, Notre Dame is a pretty conservative place, despite what you may have heard last spring about roving bands of dangerous women hell-bent on breaking the law. Although this is not the exclusive province of either party, we know Weis has a soft spot for our men and women in the armed forces. Under this patriotic ex-Patriot, Irish players stay on the field and stand at attention during the Navy Midshipmen's traditional postgame singing of their alma mater, "Blue and Gold."
How else is he ... conservative? There is reason to believe that Weis may be sympathetic to the Bush administration's controversial warrantless surveillance of unsuspecting Americans. There was a time, reportedly, when he was sympathetic to the warrantless surveillance of unsuspecting Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Weis required no such cloak-and-dagger ops to dispatch woeful Washington last week. Notre Dame's 33-7 victory ran the team's record to 5-2, dropping the Huskies to 0-7. After the so-called Ty Bowl, Washington AD Scott Emmert announced that Ty Willingham, the once and former Notre Dame coach, would be likewise be finished in Seattle after this season.
One is tempted to point out, for Willingham's sake, that Candidate McCain has proposed eliminating taxes on jobless benefits. But that would be piling on a good and decent man. It would be insensitive. And impolitic.