The current announced crop of 2008 Republican presidential contenders is about as inspiring as Saturday’s leftovers for Monday’s lunch. John McCain. We’ve seen that movie. Do we have to watch the sequel? Rudy Giuliani. Great leader, hates terrorists, but farther to the left than a Blue Dog Democrat. Mitt Romney. Where does he stand on the issues today?
Thankfully, as Monday turns to Tuesday, hope springs eternal for Friday night when, in my case, I order two pieces of fried catfish fillet and my favorite sides from my favorite restaurant. No more leftovers, no more cold sandwiches, just wide-eyed visions of spicy catfish with a dash of Tabasco. Which leads us to the 2016 presidential race. And Eldrick “Tiger” Woods.
The next president, likely a lifelong politician with too much inside-the-Beltway circular thinking, will have finished his two terms by 2016. By then we will still be victims of Beltway politics-as-usual and impotent leadership from both parties. The voters will long for a candidate who inspires the nation with an unwavering passion to fix problems and place policy over politics.
Tiger will be 40 years old in 2016. The Republican Party should begin grooming him now for a run at the White House. His personal attributes and accomplishments on the golf course point to a candidate who will be a problem solver, not a politician.
Tiger’s success on the golf course, which will translate to success in the White House, is a product of his character, discipline and leadership by example. Tiger has one objective when he steps up to the first tee – win. The Republicans desperately need a candidate who will not seek personal legacies through political victories that compromise conservative ideology and increase the scope of federal government. Tiger’s legacy is already set.
This year Tiger, at the age of 30, became the youngest golfer in history to amass 50 PGA victories. He currently has 54 career victories, fifth on the all-time list. Tiger already has 12 victories in major tournaments, second to Jack Nicklaus’ 18 major wins. And, this year Tiger won a record seventh PGA Player of the Year Award. After dominating his competitors for so many years, do you really think Tiger wants to schlep around the Senior Tour when he turns 50?
History may bode well for a Tiger Woods presidential bid. In 1952, Dwight Eisenhower, then a popular former World War II general and Supreme Commander of Allied forces in Europe, cruised to victory with 83 percent of the electoral vote over political insider Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic governor of Illinois. In 1980, Ronald Reagan, a former actor and governor of California, won 90 percent of the electoral vote over sitting President Jimmy Carter. To say Americans today are disillusioned with Congress and the President is an understatement. A November 6 Fox News/ Opinion Dynamics poll found 38 percent approval of President Bush, and just 29 percent approval of Congress.
Tiger has surely contemplated both his future goals in golf and his next challenges when he retires from the game. How refreshing to have a political outsider run for president again. I mercifully don’t sense many phony platitudes toward a “compassionate” streak in Tiger. This is the same guy who beat the 1997 Masters Tournament field by 12 strokes – a record that still stands – at the age of 21, and then stated, “I’ve never played an entire tournament with my A-game. This was pretty close.'' Imagine what he would do to Islamic terrorists and Nancy Pelosi.
If the Democrats maintain control of Congress and the presidency through 2016, the big issues of restructuring Social Security, replacing the tax code and instilling free market forces in the health care system will still not be fixed. If the Republican Party regains the majority in Congress and retains the presidency, there is no guarantee that they will have the courage to make bold changes. Only an outsider will possess the leadership and the conviction to tackle the big issues without regard for the polls, media spin or inane promises of bipartisanship.
Tiger Woods could be an inspiring figure for the country, the likes of which we have not seen since Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ronald Reagan. Tiger’s late father Earl Woods said in 1996 that the then-young golfer “will do more than any other man in history to change the course of humanity.” The elder Woods added, “I made him a promise.'You'll never run into another person as mentally tough as you.' He hasn't. And he won't.”
The Republican presidential candidate in 2016 must not come from inside the Beltway. He must come from inside the fairway, for all of us.