Why I’m Voting for Bob Lott

I was at the usual Sunday night thing the other week. A relative newcomer found out that I worked for a sister site to Real Clear Politics. We bantered a bit, then he tried to pin me down politically.

“Who are you voting for for president?” he asked.

“Bob Lott,” I said. “He’s even got the perfect slogan: Bob Lott, Why not?”

“No, but seriously…”

“I am serious,” I cut him off. “We don’t elect a president via the popular vote, we use an electoral college to elect a president and that’s winner-take-all. There is no chance Washington state will go for Romney and so I get to vote for the guy I actually want to vote for, my dad.”

I cast a ballot for Dad in the last presidential election and actually endorsed him in the American Spectator. Technically, the Spectator is not allowed to run endorsements, but they decided that only applies to actual candidates.

This time around, I had a few Bob Lott buttons made up and left one on the counter at my parents’ place when they were out. They look like this:

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Bunt Instruments

“I want to kill that coach!” That’s what the normally good natured Bob Lott, father of this diarist and a life-long baseball/softball coach, growled near the end of last night’s Bellingham Bells game.

The boiling point was bunts. The Bells, our local West Coast League baseball team, are obsessive about bunting to advance the runner. They’re actually very good at it but a) bunts are extremely risky; b) you’re effectively trading the other team an out for a base; and c) drilling to get them right comes at the expense of other vital things.

Twice last night, the Bells loaded the bases versus the Corvalis Knights and came back to the field with nothing to show for it. A couple 2-run early innings proved vital. They finally won the game 6-5 in the bottom of the 10th, proving, once again, that it’s good to be home.

Here’s the official write-up of the game. It does not mention the between-innings entertainments: the antics of team mascot Dinger the Bellinghamster; the running of the children; or that high school girl’s unique interpretation of the Star Spangled banner.

And then: fireworks. Our crowd got the show that had been scheduled for the July 3rd game that got rained out. When the rockets went up a little after 10, it was a little bit chilly — high ’50s, low ’60s — but we surely didn’t mind that.

Dinger

Lotts of Love on Father’s Day

Father’s Day is terribly hard for some people because they never grew up with a father, or because the one they got was not so good. Maybe he was angry and abusive or maybe he just wasn’t around much for some reason.

Empathy isn’t my bag, so let me just say to readers without a good father that I wish you’d had a Dad like mine.

Bob Lott is not the strongest father in the world or the tallest or the richest or the smartest — though I’ll let you in on a little secret: he’s a lot smarter than he lets on. But I think I speak for all of the brothers Lott when I say that he is the best.

Dad is a Baptist minister. People immediately think “preacher” when I tell them that, but no. The conventions of a Baptist pulpit are too strictly formal and bullet-pointy for his style.

What he is is a teacher who leads through deed as much as Word. I watched him as a youth pastor for over a dozen years, and lately as an associate pastor for longer. He worked to provide needed direction for some pretty screwed up young lives and he recently held his country church together through a difficult transition.

Then there’s baseball, always the second great devotion in the Lott household. Dad has coached church softball teams for as long as I can recollect. It was only this year, part way through the season, that he sidelined himself. He says he’s done, but I’m not so sure. His knees are bad these days, yet don’t bet against him finding his way back onto the field.

Dad coaches like he pastors, because he sees one as an extension of the other. He works hard. He repeats simple but necessary advice (“Base hits, guys!”; “Never go down looking!”). He searches for the best place to put a player, on the field and in the lineup, not only to win the game but to help him learn. He doesn’t yell at players because he doesn’t have too. The look on his face is enough of a reprimand.

Dad has coached some very winning teams, but he rarely gloats. He rejected my plaintive cry, after one particularly glorious victory, to put “We beat Christ the King,” the local Lynden megachurch, up on his church’s signboard.

Why not? Poor sportsmanship? Theological objection? He never spelled it out and I’m not sure he could articulate a single reason. For Bob Lott, much more than for most, life and love and faith run together.

Why I Might End Up Voting for Dad Again

The American Spectator is a run by a non-profit, which means that the publication itself is not allowed to explicitly endorse a candidate or piece of legislation. There is some wiggle room for contributors to do so in its pages, but in practice the editors have decided to ixnay endorsementsway.

In fact, I only know of one explicit endorsement the Spectator ran in the last presidential election cycle, because I wrote it. In the column in question, I told readers that over Presidents’ Day I had finally “sat down and had a good think about where the current crop of candidates fits in the long run of America’s chief executives” and found the results “depressing.”

Sure, I was unhappy that John McCain was the Republican nominee but “seriously,” I asked, “Mitt Romney would have been much better?” I speculated that, were that the case, “A year from now, we’d be fighting over Romneycare instead of [Obamacare].”

The column told readers they would “soon be warned against ‘throwing your vote away’ on some crank third party candidate in general election. Instead, we should figure out which of the two major party candidates will do the least damage, fasten that clothespin, and do our Christian duty.” It cautioned, not so fast, Christian soldiers.

Yes, a third party vote might amount to throwing one’s vote away, but so what? If these were the options the big two parties were offering us (Obama or Hillary vs. McCain or Romney), then perhaps it was best to throw those votes away. So, I endorsed my father.

“Bob Lott for President,” was the unambigious headline. In response to angry reader mail, I even worked up a pretty good cheer/taunt: “Bob Lott! Why Not?”

The piece ran because Dad was not a candidate and had no chance in hell of winning any elective office. Executive editor Wlady Pleszczynski, with his poetic Polish soul, understood that this was not so much an endorsement as an anguished love letter to America. Surely, I was hoping against hope, we can find it in us to do better than this.

And four years later, the candidates are… Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

So I might be voting for Dad again. Over the next few months, I’ll explore the ins and outs of that decision. This will not be an exercise in narcissism or posturing, or at least that is not the intent.

Obviously, the political ground has shifted some since the last presidential contest. A lot of readers had misgivings about our choices in the last go-round and might still be scratching their heads about what to do this time. Maybe in watching a fellow anguished voter puzzle it out, they can get some idea where to go from here.

The Bob Lott Prayer

“Dear God, help my sons not to do anything stupid today.”


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