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Klee: President Manning? Why not Peyton?

By: PAUL KLEE The Gazette
April 26, 2014 Updated: April 27, 2014 at 3:22 pm
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DENVER — In a decade or so, maybe longer, America will need electric fueling stations, citizenship for Siri, drones watching drones. One more thing, too.

America will need a quarterback.

These three words can change our future for the better: Peyton for President.

Yes He Can.

"I think you can really make the case for him as a candidate," Colorado-Colorado Springs political science professor Joe Postell said. "As a thought experiment, I don't think it's crazy at all."

Run, Peyton, run. For office.

As Broncos executive John Elway has shown in a successful return to NFL competition, the best of the best get bored after a decade of 10 a.m. tee times. With every diplomatic answer and endearing physical comeback, Peyton offers more proof where he can go with this football thing: all the way to the White House.

Among 44 presidents, we've had fishermen, actors, bartenders, Brits, Masons, Ivy League, Big Ten (never SEC), lovers, fighters. We've had husky (William Taft, 325 pounds), tall (Abraham Lincoln, 6-foot-4) and small (James Madison, 5-4).

Peyton is one big nerdy-dad drawl of political potential. Why not a quarterback?

"That position — more than any other position — is a good rehearsal for a president," said Postell, who teaches an upper-level course titled The Presidency.

"Many of the same qualities for a good president are the qualities of a good quarterback."

The professor isn't just being nice. He's being honest. Only one thing divides a nation more than political affiliation: SEC football. Those colors don't bleed.

When the Tennessee hero was posed a combustible question about visiting Alabama and coach Nick Saban, his audible to diplomacy oozed presidential smooth.

"Obviously I've been to Tennessee doing the same thing for the past 16 years. I'll do that and make it 17 years in a row going back to Knoxville," Manning said. "Hopefully that covers me as far as being loyal to my university."

Oh, you're covered, Mr. (Future) President.

It should be clear at this point that accentuating the right words and booming a powerful speech is the key to winning a presidential election. Peyton is covered in speeches (Oklahoma State had him talk to 4,500 future voters just last week) and fundraising (he was paid $105,000 for the speech, according to the Tulsa World).

Papa John's. Playcaller in Chief.

Cut that meat. Cut that deficit.

Zero missed starts in 15 seasons. PeytonCare works.

Swing pass. Swing states.

A commonalty in great presidents is dispatch, Postell said: "Making quick, precise decisions." One word: OMAHA.

President Kennedy was a Boy Scout (Peyton addressed them at Pepsi Center last week). President Reagan portrayed the Gipper (and the Colts won one for him).

Ford's gift as president was pardoning his predecessor, Richard Nixon.

"He moved forward instead of focusing on the past," Postell said.

Peyton pardoned the Patriots in the playoffs. He moved forward.

The legacy of a president is determined on Election Day. You love them or you loathe them. All the Bill Maher or Rush Limbaugh on the airwaves won't change an American's opinion.

Right now you're wondering about Peyton's political affiliation.

Right now that's the problem.

Peyton is about the people.

"There's something sort of apolitical about Peyton. He's relatable to both sides," said Postell. "You want the president to be apolitical."

A sense of humor is key. "What's weighing on my mind is how soon I can get a Bud Light in my mouth after this win," Peyton once said.

America didn't judge his taste in beer. America laughed at the joke. Oh, Peyton.

"FDR and Lincoln had a folksiness about them," Postell said. "But you have to maintain the dignity of the office. Look at Peyton on SNL…. He's laughing with us. Not at us."

We had a football center in the White House. And I was in the Big House the night Michigan honored President Ford by unretiring the No. 48 jersey he wore as a Wolverine. The 110,000 roared as though Tom Brady had strolled to midfield.

America would roar as President Peyton strolled to the podium.

In quarterback debates, Brady or Manning is a toss-up. Take your pick. You'll win.

In presidential debates, it's a no-brainer.

Brady is beautiful. But as a presidential candidate, Brady is divisive.

"Brady's too pretty for the Midwest, say. Peyton is a much more middle-class guy," said the professor, an Ohio native. "He's very democratic. Brady's much more aristocratic."

But could Peyton win? He'd carry Colorado. He's big with military (USO Tours), bigger in the Midwest (Colts tours), biggest in SEC country. He'd carry the state of Washington, having gifted Seattle a Super Bowl. New York-New Jersey? Its Super Bowl was about him, until the Seahawks made it about them.

Californians will be tough. Judging by their deficit, should we even let them vote?

Yes. His running mate is a Stanford grad. Richard Sherman will lock down California as though it were Eric Decker. Boom. California vote.

Peyton for President.


Twitter: @Klee_Gazette

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