I know what you're thinking, so right off the bat: No, it's not a joke. In Texas, you haven't exactly had to have your ear to the ground to hear the rumors that Craig James — SMU great, talking head, businessman, overprotective father — is interested in adding "political candidate" to his resumé. Tuesday, the Dallas Morning News confirmed it:
Former SMU standout Craig James will file his candidacy for the U.S. Senate by Thursday's deadline, according to sources close to his developing campaign.
James, an ESPN college football analyst, is hoping that his name recognition and fresh face makes him the alternative to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. Former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and former Solicitor General Ted Cruz are the other major contenders.
James is running in the March 6 GOP primary.
So if you're one of the millions of fans who have watched James hoot after a big hit, collapse after a workout or use his position at ESPN to prosecute a personal grudge and thought, "That man could really shake things up in Washington," your dream may soon come true.
The video at the top of this post was posted this summer on the website of James' organization, Texans for a Better America. Its stated goals: a) To promote James and his values — namely, the Constitution, Free Markets and American Exceptionalism; b) To connect with voters through social media; and, of course, c) To raise a little money. Judging from his sporadic blog posts "From Real Street," James' pet issue is pushing back against overbearing and/or unpredictable government regulations that he blames for restricting free markets and killing job growth. He'd also like for Americans to regain a sense of unity and purpose, and for liberals to stop saying conservatives are dumb.
Texans for a Better America is registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(4), which requires that it be "operated exclusively to promote social welfare," and only allows it to lobby for legislation or participate in political campaigns and elections as long as that isn't the organization's primary purpose. Donors can remain anonymous, as well.
To anyone who's spent the last two decades listening to James speak professionally about the subject he knows best — football — the idea of him presiding over sophisticated matters of legitimate national concern is both hilarious and terrifying. In light of his apparent campaign to oust the most successful coach in Texas Tech history on behalf of his entitled, under-performing son, it's borderline appalling.
But this is a single-issue blog, and from that perspective, America's loss could be college football's gain: If sending a straight shooter with a crooked gun to the Senate means James is out of a job at ESPN, then sign us up. The economy is one thing, but Thursday night games without the incessant braying of The Pony is change we can believe in.