The Democrat Miracle?

Ron Bilancia has a long post on that attempts to use the movie “Miracle,” about the 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team, as roadmap for the Democrat party.

I agree with much of what Ron writes, but why are Democrats so godawful afraid to say “We’re Americans?”

Bilancia catches most of the keys to the 1980 team’s success: brilliant coach, team play, focus, creativity, hard work, working for something outside yourself, and staying on the offensive. But he missed the 1980 team’s turning point–something that our women’s gymnastics team did not.

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Watching some gymnasitcs event early in the Athens Summer Games, the camera focused in on our girls in a circle, preparing for an event. It was a pep talk, and it ended with one of the girls asking, “What team do we play for?” Her mates responded, “we play for the United States of America!”

Throughout the movie “Miracle,” coach Herb Brooks would ask his players what team they played for. “Boston College,” “Minnesota,” “University of Michigan,” they would answer. The players resented their coach for his lack of interest. Though he asked, he didn’t really care for the answer, because the next time the guy screwed up, Brooks would have to ask him, again. “When is he ever going to remember which teams we play for? Hell, he coached against half of us.”

During a pre-Olympic tour of Europe, the American team was humiliated by . . . Norway? After the lackluster performance, Brooks made the team skate lines for hours. The players were exhausted, vomiting, dead.

(I once played in a summer league in Bolton, Connecticut, for a Navy team. Most games we’d have only 7 skaters. We had a rule that you could only come off the ice when someone on the bench waved you off or you had to throw up. Usuallly, it was the latter. I felt for the guys.)

Mike Eruzione figured it out just as the team doctor was ready to pronounce them all dead.

“Ask me what team I play for, coach,” he demanded of Brooks.

“What team do you play for?”

“I play for the United States of America.”

While Bilancia knows the importance of this moment to the team–his section on “Unite” clearly derives from this–he fails, as liberals always do, to make the distinction that Eruzione made: We play for the United States of America. Bilancia thinks uniting as liberals and progressives, as Democrats and Greens, is the kind of unity his party needs.

He’s wrong.

If the Dems want to know why they keep losing, why middle America doesn’t trust them with the keys to the country, it’s right there. Liberals play for the Poor, Blacks, Women, Gays, the Environment, Peace, Living Wages, Pay Equity, Casual Abortion, and the United Nations. When John Kerry says something blandly patriotic in a fit of desparation, you can almost see the words hastily written on the index card as his eyes move across the letters. It’s forced and borrowed and insincere and scripted and, somehow, blasphemous.

I wish some reporter had asked Kerry that question. I’d love to hear the three minute, convoluted response. I would have no more idea what it meant had he said than I do imagining it now.

But if someone asked George Bush what team he plays for, I harbor no doubt that his answer would be, “I play for the United States of America!”

Until American liberals decide to be Americans first, they will continue see their beloved central government under the management of the American Team.

UPDATE: Well, maybe one liberal has. This piece by Elizabeth Anderson on Left2Right is worth a read. Ms. Anderson seems to get it in a way that many on her cannot not–viscerally. Dean agrees.