Okay, please take this with a grain of Cheesehead salt, but um, I have a reason why conservatives could root for the Carolina Panthers against those dreaded Chicago Bears today. Bears QB Kyle Orton? Big liberal. In the midst of some research into the weird absence of the words "Kerry" and "Hillary" within 50 words of each other in the fall of 2004, I came across this USA Today piece, where an Orton teammate at Purdue related, "He said that if John Kerry doesn't get elected, he's going to throw himself headlong into the Hillary Clinton camp." The report had more detail:
Now he understands that Orton's success on the football field could one day be seen as the introduction of an ambitious liberal democrat to a larger audience.
"I'd love to run for Congress or the Senate," Orton said.
He has read about the Kennedy, Johnson and Clinton administrations. He has declared his concerns over policies of the current administration, specifically the commitment to the war in Iraq.
"I don't think we should be over there," Orton said.
The quarterback searches for voices of dissent on campuses and does not find enough of them.
"It surprises me a lot," he said. "Usually college campuses are pretty liberal places where you debate different thoughts. You protest over it. You read about all these protests that went on in the 60s. I don't think there are that many young people that feel they can make a difference in politics. They feel the government is so big that they don't think their vote or their voice matters any more."
[Coach Joe] Tiller acknowledges Orton's conviction but ..."Well," the coach said and winked, "he's pretty young."
Still, the coach has seen a strengthening of Orton's political resolve in the last year.
"We quickly disagreed on our opinions," Orton said. "One thing I do like about our conversations is you really can't have a lot of political conversations (with others) without one person getting bent out of shape. We stay calm, and just talk, and give each other a hard time."
Back in November, Orton reiterated his beliefs for the Chicago Tribune: "I've always been interested in politics. I've always been around it with my dad. He was involved at a state level. He was the head commissioner of OSHA (In Iowa). I've been thinking about getting involved in some campaigns, people like the John Edwardses, the Barack Obamas, the Hillary Clintons--that's kind of who I support. So, I'd probably say I was a liberal."