Arranged Marriages: The Presidential Primary and the BCS

Posted: January 15, 2012 in Gibberish
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Given the choice between two evils, what do you do? Most people would choose the lesser of the two, even though by doing so, they still choose evil. Yet, alternatives are dismissed as being idealistic or naive. The result is that evil persists. Perhaps when presented with an alternative to the status quo, we may want to consider them. You never know–the alternative may actually make the world a better place.


BOB BURNHAM, host: Welcome to the Moron Quotient, I am your host, Bob Burnham. Mitt Romney won the Iowa Caucuses by 8 votes. He won the New Hampshire Primary  by a more comfortable margin of over 40,000 votes. The Alabama Crimson tide routed the LSU Tigers 21-0 in the BCS National Championship Game.

But if you look closely at the results from Iowa and New Hampshire, you may see a different picture. In Iowa, while Mitt Romney received 30,015 votes, over 90,000 people voted against the eventual winner. New Hampshire shows a similar result: Romney won with over 90,000 votes, but more than 150,000 voters did not cast their vote for the former governor. With more votes against Mitt Romney than for him, will voters really get the best candidate?

Likewise, can we say that Alabama is really the best collegiate football team in the nation? After all, neither team had played in over 45 days. The BCS National Championship Game was, in the words of Frank Deford, “an exhibition game, because the teams have been appointed to show up, without earning the right to show up.”

In many ways, both the primary system and the BCS are like arranged marriages: fans and voters are betrothed to teams and candidates that they don’t like, let alone love. Voting reforms may make our democracy more representative. A playoff system in college football would reveal a true, undisputed champion. But is change really possible?

In a moment, we will be joined by our Panel of Morons. But first, I’d like to introduce the 2011 National Mascot Champion, Wolfie Jr., from the University of Nevada. Wolfie Jr., welcome to the Moron Quotient.

WOLFIE JR., college mascot: Hi Bob, it’s my pleasure to be here.

BOB: So, tell me, Wolfie, are the best interests of voters and fans being served by the current primary system and the BCS?

WOLFIE JR.: I think they are, Bob, I really do, for a couple of reasons. As a wolf, I recognize that there can only be one alpha in the pack, and the position of alpha is always being challenged. The systems–in both the BCS and the primary system–ensure that the true alpha remains unchallenged.

BOB: And who is the alpha?

WOLFIE JR.: Corporate interests of course, you know, in the form of sponsorships.

BOB: Now you said there were a couple of reasons that you like the current systems. What is the other reason?

WOLFIE JR.: Sure. These systems work. Are they perfect? Of course not. Do they have their flaws? Of course they do. Can they be tweaked to make them more entertaining? Sure. But do we need to replace them with something entirely different? No. I think that’s dangerous and revolutionary, and frankly, un-American.

BOB: I’d like to now introduce our two panelists from the Panel of Morons. Professor Stewie Gumbie and Madame Goo-Goo. Professor, Madame, good to see you again.

PROFESSOR STEWIE GUMBIE, BS, MS, PhD, FOS, NCCM: Hello Bob, Wolfie Jr., I’m glad to be here.

MADAME GOO-GOO, pop-star diva: Hello Bob, Professor, Wolfie Jr.! I am so happy to see you all!

BOB: So Professor, Madame, do you agree with Wolfie Jr.? Do these systems–the BCS and the primary system–work?

PROF. GUMBIE: Yes, I think Wolfie was right on the money. As I explain in my book, The Branding of Things to Come: 10 Effective Ways to Change Your Life Without Changing a Thing, any pathfinder project must maintain fidelity to the brand. That is, the sacred cow cannot stray too far from the barn. Just because we do not like the way we pick our presidential candidates or our national football champions is no reason to kill the puppy. No offense, Wolfie.

WOLFIE JR.: None taken.

PROF. GUMBIE: Politics–like sports–is a brand, and that brand requires investment in order to overcome strategic inertia.

BOB: I’m sorry, Professor, but I’m not following you.

PROF. GUMBIE: Strategic inertia is the force that you have to overcome in order to achieve brand recognition. In politics, unknown candidates have to establish their brand. The primary system is the best way for them to overcome strategic inertia. Now, in the case of the BCS, because it is an already-established brand, it has too much strategic inertia. Like it or hate it, we’re stuck with it. The real question, then, is how do we profit from it?

BOB: Madame Goo-Goo, I was wondering, do you see this as something we will have to live with?

GOO-GOO: Well, I’m afraid so, but it’s not so much a bad thing. After all, this is all about entertainment, isn’t it? Wolfie Jr. made that point earlier, I think. You know, I think if we get over all of this, realize that it’s all entertainment, and instead spend our time doing good, the world can be a much better place, you know?

BOB: So, would you say, it’s not whether you win or lose, but how much you love?

GOO-GOO: Yes! Isn’t that beautiful?

PROF. GUMBIE: That sounds nice, but it’s not very pragmatic.

WOLFIE JR: I agree. How am I going to whip up the Wolfpack by hugging the other team’s mascot? You know, I’m a wolf; my species does not do “love” very well.

PROF. GUMBIE: Neither do politicians. I think this “love” thing simply dilutes their brand.

BOB: I am afraid that we are out of time for today. I’d like to thank Madame Goo-Goo, Professor Gumbie, and Wolfie Jr. for sharing their time and their ideas with us.

PROF. GUMBIE: Thank you, Bob, it’s been my pleasure.

GOO-GOO: Me too, Bob! I’m always happy to be here!

WOLFIE JR.: Thanks, Bob. Go Wolfpack!

BOB: Join the Moron Quotient next week as we discuss the issues that prevent us from building a more peaceful and just world. The obstacle to justice is ignorance, so let us transform the world through honest and respectful dialogue that can lead us to new insights and mutual understanding. May you be blessed with peace and goddness!


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