As all of Mike Huckabee's faithful know, the former Governor is locked in a life and death struggle in South Carolina, with Sen. John McCain even edging ahead in some polls. So it's time for Huck's tired ground troops and prayer warriors to stop a moment for some inspiration and what better source than Knute Rockne's famous speech.
The obvious connection, of course, is that the ol' GOP favorite, Ronald Reagan, played George Gipp in his earlier movie career. But also of note is that Gipp, though a great player at Notre Dame, did not always live on the straight and narrow (legend had it he caught the deadly pneumonia that killed him at 25 when he was sleeping off a bender in the South Bend snow), but was a late (but complete) deathbed convert to his alma mater's Church and beliefs. Similarly, while we need Huck's current believers to keep working and praying at this moment of truth, we also need the late South Carolinian converts to Huck's camp to keep on coming. So without further ado, let me turn it over to Knute ...
KNUTE ROCKNE-ALL AMERICAN (1940)
The scene opens with the interior of the Notre Dame dressing room. The players, seated with blankets draped over their shoulders, are dejected and silent. The door pushes open and Rockne is wheeled in. They look at Rockne (played by Pat O'Brien) in mute apology, then guiltily away, as if to avoid his eyes. His dark-circled eyes range over the players for a full moment of unbroken silence. Then, quietly, as if the game didn't matter to him:
Well, boys ... I haven't a thing to say.
Played a great game ... all of you. Great game.
(He tries to smile.)
I guess we just can't expect to win ‘em all.
(Rockne pauses and says quietly.)
I'm going to tell you something I've kept to myself for years —
None of you ever knew George Gipp.
It was long before your time.
But you know what a tradition he is at Notre Dame ...
(There is gentle, faraway look in his eyes as he recalls the boy's words.)
And the last thing he said to me—"Rock," he said—
"sometime, when the team is up against it—and the
breaks are beating the boys—tell them to go out there
with all they got and win just one for the Gipper ...
(Knute's eyes become misty and his voice is unsteady as he finishes.)
I don't know where I'll be then, Rock", he said—"but
I'll know about it—and I'll be happy."
There is a hushed stillness as Rockne and the crowd of boys look at each other. In the midst of this tense silence, Rockne quietly says "Alright," to the men beside him, and his chair is wheeled slowly out of the dressing room.
Well, what are we waiting for?
With a single roar, the players throw off their blankets and rush through the doorway.