Playing Ball with Jack (and Other Obama Victims)

“What the heck are you talking about, coach? That’s freaking insane!” Jack yelled.

Jack is an eighteen year old member of a baseball team I help as an assistant coach. Our conversation took place on a perfect July day in a dugout about an hour before game time. I went into the dugout to hurry Jack along when I heard him talking with another straggler about voting for the first time. I hung back and listened. Jack said he wasn’t sure who he would vote for in November. I jumped in and I let him know that his share of the federal deficit was around $50,000 and growing by the day. His reply would suggest that he was somewhat perturbed.

Mike Ruffing is a new contributor to The Brenner Brief. His columns will post weekly on Thursday.

Our team is comprised of top players from northeast Ohio. Almost every economic, religious and racial background is represented on the roster. Jack is a talented, gritty first baseman who is leveraging his baseball talent to overcome personal challenges and a less-than-stellar academic resume to attend college. While the team often plays in stadiums or on the best fields in the area, life off the field for Jack is not so idyllic.

This conversation with Jack came to mind last week while preparing for Thanksgiving. Determined to shake off my post-election funk and focus on all the blessings in my life, I reflected. The internal conversation went something like this: I have a loving, smart, and beautiful wife (hey, you married-up); two great kids (both smarter and more talented than I ever was); health (good for my age); both parents are still with me (God bless them, they are saints); great in-laws (lucky again); my faith and Church (damn mandate!); I am lucky to live in America (will my grandkids feel the same?); I have good friends (err, some voted for Obama!); I am lucky to coach baseball (Jack got ticked, but hey, he told me he voted for Romney!).

This reflection helped me appreciate how truly blessed I am. Recalling my conversation with Jack, his reply and more importantly — his vote — gave me hope. Hope, because Jack is a typical target voter (victim) of Obama and the left. He is young, comes from a blue-collar family, middle-income, needs money for college, and non-religious. And yet, he voted for Romney!

Like most Americans, Jack is busy trying to build a life for himself. He does not have the time or inclination to parse arguments about free markets, ObamaCare, threats to religious freedom, tax rates, government spending as a percentage of GDP, or any of the issues the Romney campaign rightly brought up. Jack voted for Romney because he heard, most likely for the first time, that the “cool guy” was running up charges on his generation’s credit card. Not cool. He let me know it with, “That’s freaking insane!” He finally heard something tangible that would impact his life. Ironically, it was from a man he mistakenly perceives as old and rich.

While Republican consultants crunch numbers and formulate strategies for 2014 and 2016, each of us needs to step up to the plate and speak up. Start conversations. Don’t miss an opportunity to politely make a point. Be it in a dugout before a game, at a dinner party, or a family picnic, be prepared and have some good-natured lines at the ready to encourage conversations. We need to illustrate how the leftist world view of the current regime will adversely affect individual lives directly. Don’t be shy. Have fun with it with things like:

  • Greet friends, especially Obama supporters, with a hardy, “Hello, Comrade!”
  • “So, Obama is going to finally tax the rich. How does he plan to fund the government for the remaining 356 days of the year?”
  • “I look forward to healthcare — DMV style.” (kudos to
  • “I don’t like any war, especially on women. So, in the name of tolerance, we shouldn’t tolerate the Catholic Church then?”
  • “I’m glad the Democrats eliminated all the waste and fraud in government before raising taxes. Where will GSA employees party? I must have missed NBC’s hard-hitting report.”
  • “Wow, I can’t believe you had to drop $100 to fill up your tank on the way here. What does Beyoncé think about fracking technology?”

Remember to support alternative media outlets like The Brenner Brief and share it with family and friends. You know the right has better ideas based on fact. The left has good intentions based on feelings. We know the left owns the media, schools, and pop culture outlets. They are portrayed as “cool.” They “care.” The right is portrayed as evil incarnate. The 1 percent are taking from the poor, outlawing women’s reproductive rights, blah, blah, blah.

Hey, there is no crying in baseball! Or politics! So speak up and have fun. Speak up for the sake of your parents, children, and grandchildren. Be bold and speak up for hard-working young people like Jack who are just trying to carve out a living for themselves.

Play ball, Comrades!




  1. Mike,

    So that Jack had complete information, I hope you also told Jack that Republican George W. Bush inherited a budget surplus from Democrat Bill Clinton. Under Bush’s leadership that surplus was soon gone. Bush gave out tax cuts while deceptively conducting two wars off budget. He also put through a prescription drug plan for seniors, again off budget. These off budget (in other words, not paying for them) actions resulted in a ballooning deficit and wiped out the Democrats’ surplus. Why our party allowed him to do this is still a mystery to me.

    Jack sounds like a bright young man. If he goes to college, he’ll be able to borrow money at a cheaper interest rate, thanks to President Obama’s action to cut out the middle man, the large banks.

    If we are to win future national elections we in the GOP need to moderate our image as a party of angry old white guys who are scared of black people, Latinos, young people, immigrants, gays, women.. We need to call out the fringe elements of our own party for some of their irrational ideas, and to be willing to give credit to the President and members of his party for some of their better ideas. It doesn’t have to be “we’re right and they’re wrong.”

    • Michael Ruffing says:

      gopwin:Thank you for the comments. You are correct , Jack is a bright young man. One of the points I was trying to make was Jack and much of the voting blocks you mention don’t much care about the policy history, rates, etc., that you and I would enjoy discussing. The need to be told facts truthfully, that show them how liberal policies negatively impact their lives, and without the “policy-wonk” attitude (even though I enjoy it).

      That said, a couple things about post:
      -“Clinton’s” budget surplus: why is it people only remember tax rates and not the spending? Hmm.
      – Heard rumblings this week about returning to Clinton tax rates. GREAT- let’s go back to the spending levels of that era as well. It worked, right?
      – Republican congress held Clinton’s feet to the fire 3 times to get welfare reform. Then he bragged about it, trianglization
      – Clinton smartes move was to sit back and not tip the apple cart of the getting the benefits of internet boom (thanks Al Gore?).
      – Recall, he could do nothing, like most second termers, the last two years, something his choice of cigars I think.
      -Convenient oversight-Bush inherited a recession as internet bubble burst, nobody cut him slack for that lucky timing for slick willy.
      -Not a Democrat surplus
      – I agree with that prescription drug was wrong. Bush and Republicans played ball with the Democrats on this and other spending.
      – “Deceptive war”: please. Whose playbook did you read?
      – I’ll look up exact number if you need, but bottom line is performance on the economy, Bush had somewhere between 70-80 out of 96 months of economic growth, even after inheriting a recession, then an attack that stumbled the economy for a good 6 months or more. Obama can’t even get now, or even close Gitmo, or start immigration reform….
      – Get over it with the Bush era. Where are the Democrat playbooks handed out anyway?
      – Thanks to Obama get lower rates on loans, really?Wow. Check out the increased costs of everything the government gets involved with- it always goes up. College tuitions are an absolute travesty. The mafia blushes. Great, lower rates.
      – Fringe elements of party- is that MSNBC supplied? If by fringe you mean those who believe in Liberty, e Pluribus unum, and In God We Trust, well, call me fringe.
      – I hate to disagree, but alot of the time we are right and they are wrong. There is a full frontal assault on libery. The party that claims to be for the little guy is, in fact, the rich. Look it up.
      They are taking over 1/6 of the economy via ObamaCare claiming to get care for 40 million uninsured. Talk about a nuclear bomb where a hand grenade would suffice- and newsflash, they still don’t cover all of the 40 million. And to top if off, they manufactured a war on women via HHS mandate.

      Coincidentally, Jack’s head coach works at an adult home for autistic people. Coach is a big burly guy, which is needed b/c the residents can get quite physical. They will probably need to close down next year b/c of the HHS mandate. Why? Because Catholics run it. Yeah, Democrats care.

      Finally, I find it intriguing when the term old white guy preceeds a litany of ethnic groups and a plea for us to moderate. Truth is attractive to every reasonable, well intentioned person. It trumps race in the long-run. Democrats, and Obama especially, have made a living at dividing us.
      I agree we can message better, brand better, communicate better and more often, but that is what I was driving at about my talk with Jack.

      Is gopwin being ironic? Too many Chris Matthews talking points. No problem either way, gopwin. I do appreciate your comments and visiting Brenner Brief. Feel free to DM me on twitter to discuss more. In any event, best of luck to you.

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