Will the scourge of performance enhancing drugs ever end? 2011 NL MVP, Ryan Braun, has been suspended for the first 50 games of the upcoming season for testing positive for a banned substance. He finished 2011 with 33 homers, 111 RBIs and a career best .332 batting average, winning the MVP voting over Matt Kemp and fellow teammate Prince Fielder. Given his recent drug test results, you have to wonder if he truly deserves our trust as a ballplayer. The question must be asked, would his performance have happened without the “extra” assistance? Is this fair to all the non-PED abusers who are playing by the rules?
I am glad he got caught, and we have MLB’s aggressive testing program to thank. Maybe some other high profile professions will now take notice and follow MLB’s lead. While PEDs are finally being rooted out of our major professional sports in this country, there is one career in American society where the use of performance enhancing drugs has been ignored by the mainstream media, and it is past time we open our eyes.
The use of PEDs is creating an uneven playing field in the world of politics, and some politicians are regularly flaunting their substance-enabled advantages. In particular, one only need look at Newt Gingrich to see how anabolic juicing agents can change the complexion of a man and the entire race for the Presidency. I don’t think that’s fair to all the other contenders who are playing the game with only their own twisted policy positions to support themselves on the stump.
Please don’t pretend, like our lazy media has, that you have not noticed the sudden performance changes in Mr. Gingrich. Here’s a guy with a lifetime negative rating in most major polls of close to 60%, and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, his negatives have dropped into the 25% range. No one’s favorables go up 35 points in Florida in only 2 weeks without chemicals juicing the rhetoric. There is no question in my mind – Newt Gingrich is abusing performance enhancing drugs, and it is giving him an unfair advantage.
How can I be so certain? Look at history. As politicians age, their performance follows a natural downward trajectory. Their endurance on the trail is reduced, and they start talking more about compromise and conciliation. Bob Dole became more soft spoken and less confrontational as he aged. John McCain ceased his “straight talk” persona to smooth over his perceived rougher edges (at least through 2008). Not Gingrich. He has become the Sultan of Bombast again almost overnight. One day he’s on a couch with Nancy Pelosi, and the next day he’s practically frothing at the mouth over Saul Alinsky-style socialist conspiracies, banging his fist on the podium. This is the same guy who had to take a 10 day cruise vacation to recharge his batteries within the first 2 weeks of kicking off his campaign, and now he’s stumping in 4 states simultaneously? That level of vim and vigor doesn’t occur by itself.
Everybody knows what PEDs do to a man. We saw the physical effects on Mark McGuire and Barry Bonds. The head swells. The user becomes combative and irritable. Performance on their chosen playing field spikes upward in ways that no one could have predicted, historic improvements. It’s clear that all 3 conditions describe today’s Newt Gingrich and his campaign.
· His head size has swelled not just figuratively from ego inflation; it is literally larger. Let’s be honest, his hat size today must be three times that of the frail yet feisty Ron Paul.
· As far as demonstrated irritability, his contempt for anyone who asks him a question is matched only by his disdain for long marriages and Congressional ethics investigations.
· He has gone from support levels in the polls measured within the margin of error for zero, to leading in national surveys over the entire field. Two months ago, he was an asterisk. Today he is the prohibitive favorite for the nomination.
He’s got the physical and emotional signs of a PED abuser. Why doesn’t everyone admit this out loud?
There have always been suspicions that Gingrich was “on something”. If you spend any time reading his Leary-ian rantings about lunar mining towns, non-existent Sharia law legal coups, and the benefits of multiple Social Security systems, you’d question his sanity and judgment. This guy proposes firing federal judges who rule against him in court. No one could come to this belief system without some mind altering injections along the way.
In late 1997, he was run out of the profession by his own teammates in the GOP. His leadership was in a shambles after the Republican controlled House staged a coup and ran him out of town on a rail build of 84 ethics charges. Now he’s ready to win his party’s MVP vote of campaign 2012. Check his locker, I say. The guy is doing something, and it can’t be legal.
So Mitt Romney, I recommend you push the drug testing angle with your new rival. Call him out during the next debate. The only way to clean up your party’s slide into delusion is to demand stringent testing from your frontrunner. You can’t lose. Either Newt will test positive, in which case he’ll lose all support (except Ron Paul’s), or he’ll stop using PEDs in advance of the test and his juiced performance will suffer its natural decline. He’ll revert back to the former disgraced Congressman doing the book circuit he was before the campaign.
Either way, I’ll bet you $10,000 this strategy works. Shake on it?