Feehery: Don’t call the game before it’s over

Feehery: Don’t call the game before it’s over
© Greg Nash

Thankfully, there is no mercy rule in politics. 

If there were, Republicans would already have lost their majority and Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiMulvaney: Military projects impacted by wall funding haven't been decided yet Left-wing Dems in minority with new approach to spending Julian Castro hints at brother Joaquin's Senate run MORE would be returning as Speaker.

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I coach my son’s Little League team, and we were hit by the mercy rule over the weekend.

We were down 14–4 after the end of the fifth inning, and under Little League mercy rules, we were supposed to be toast. 

The other coach asked if we wanted to keep playing, and speaking for the team, I said sure.

They scored one more run in their half of the inning, but we scored 11 in the last inning to tie the game.

Under the mercy rule, we may have lost, but in my book, we won a huge victory.

With the retirement of Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPaul Ryan says Trump will win reelection because of 'record of accomplishment' Pence loses House office space Dem budget chair: Trump 2020 proposal 'cruel-hearted' MORE, it is now conventional wisdom that the Democrats are a shoo-in to take back the House, and can immediately start impeachment proceedings against the president starting in January.

I have been a lonely voice in the wilderness, telling my friends and colleagues that all is not lost for the GOP, not yet at least.

And now I have some examples, courtesy of the Little League team, that keep hope alive in my mind for the Republicans this November.

First of all, my squad had one hit all game, leading up to the fifth inning, but we usually are a far better team than that. In fact, we average about 10 runs a game.

Likewise, Republicans aren’t in nearly as bad shape as the analysts would have you believe. Because of redistricting, they have a structural advantage that is not easy for the Democrats to overcome.

Sure, the party has been hit by some retirements, but most of those are in very safe Republican seats that the Democrats have no chance of winning.

Second, my best player gave up and, convinced that we were going to lose, refused to take the field in the top of the sixth. But then other players stepped up, including one kid, playing his first year of baseball, who made an incredible catch to stop a rally, and another reluctant youngster who pitched his first time ever and did very well.

Yes, Paul Ryan’s departure is a blow, but graveyards are full of so-called indispensable people. The fact is, other leaders will step up and lead the party.

I happen to think that the combination of Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyOvernight Energy: McConnell tees up vote on Green New Deal | Centrist Dems pitch alternative to plan | House Republican likens Green New Deal to genocide | Coca-Cola reveals it uses 3M tons of plastic every year House GOP lawmaker says Green New Deal is like genocide GOP lawmakers: House leaders already jockeying for leadership contests MORE, Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseGOP lawmakers: House leaders already jockeying for leadership contests House Republicans find silver lining in minority House passes anti-hate measure amid Dem tensions MORE and Patrick McHenryPatrick Timothy McHenryOvernight Energy: Solar installations dropped in 2018 | UN report says rising Arctic temperatures 'locked in' | Fiat Chrysler to recall 850K vehicles On The Money: Wells Fargo chief gets grilling | GOP, Pence discuss plan to defeat Dem emergency resolution | House chair sees '50-50' chance of passing Dem budget | Trump faces pressure over Boeing Lawmakers blast Wells Fargo chief over response to scandals MORE is kind of like Tinkers to Evers to Chance. They know how to play the game and they are highly motivated to win in November. They perhaps won’t be as high-profile as the former vice presidential candidate, and it might take them some time to build the fundraising base of Mr. Ryan, but I am confident they can be very successful if they work as a team.

Finally, both Little League and politics can be wildly unpredictable.

Any coach can tell you that no lead is safe in a baseball game with 11- or 12-year-old kids on the mound.

I remember thinking, with the utmost confidence, that Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyThe 25 Republicans who defied Trump on emergency declaration Overnight Defense: Senate rejects border emergency in rebuke to Trump | Acting Pentagon chief grilled on wall funding | Warren confronts chief over war fund budget 12 Republican senators defy Trump on emergency declaration  MORE was going to beat Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama reminisces about visit to Ireland on St. Patrick's Day: 'It'll always be O'Bama' Klobuchar on Trump's rhetoric and hate crimes: 'At the very least, he is dividing people' As global order collapses, American leadership is critical MORE. I also couldn’t fathom how a war hero like George H.W. Bush could possibly lose to draft-dodging womanizer like Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonGOP lawmaker defends Chelsea Clinton after confrontation over New Zealand attacks As global order collapses, American leadership is critical Trump Jr. defends Chelsea Clinton after confrontation at vigil for New Zealand attacks MORE.

And how is that Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP lawmaker defends Chelsea Clinton after confrontation over New Zealand attacks Klobuchar: Race, gender should not be litmus tests for 2020 Dem nominee Kirsten Gillibrand officially announces White House run MORE administration treating you?

Politics is an unpredictable business, and no lead is safe in the minds of a fickle public.

Here is my theory about this upcoming election: If the economy is perceived to be either strong or getting stronger by the majority of voters, Republicans will keep the House and expand their majority in the Senate.

The reason has nothing to do about the efficacy of the Trump tax cuts. When the economy is strong, voters focus on cultural and social issues, which tend to cut better for the GOP. When the economy is weak, voters turn to the Democrats, because they figure they will find ways to spend money to take care of them.

I am glad there is no mercy rule in politics. Let’s play this thing out and then see who wins and who loses in November.

Feehery is partner at EFB Advocacy and blogs at www.thefeeherytheory.com. He served as spokesman to former Speaker of the House Dennis HastertJohn (Dennis) Dennis HastertFeehery: Dems' embrace of socialism makes a Trump reelection look inevitable Feehery: Why the intellectual set won't support President Trump Feehery: Defining what socialism is (and isn’t) MORE (R-Ill.), as communications director to former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) when he was majority whip and as speechwriter to former Minority Leader Bob Michel (R-Ill.).