The “Quarterback” has no game plan


If there’s one thing people in Central Ohio know a lot about, it’s football. This is Buckeye Country, after all, and we’ve seen a lot of winning football over the years.

While not everyone around here may be as knowledgable as Urban Meyer when it comes to this stuff, we know a winner and a loser when we see one. The easiest way to spot a loser is to look at the quarterback and see if he has even half a clue. If he looks like he hasn’t been given a good game plan, that’s trouble. If he looks so lost out there that he begins to look scared — like a deer in the headlights — it’s all over.

My congressman, Pat Tiberi, has been called the “quarterback” of  repeal of the Affordable Care Act. He was called that by the head coach of Congress, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. That makes sense, as he’s the chairman of the congressional subcommittee which is supposed to do all of the repealing and, allegedly, the replacing of the ACA. His coach has told him that he’s to go out there and get rid of it and to replace it with something that isn’t going to cause hardship or pain for the millions of people who rely upon it, over 50,000 of whom live in our district.

Coach Ryan, however, hasn’t given our quarterback a game plan. This despite over six years to come up with one. Without a game plan, Tiberi is scared. And, as every football fan can tell you, a scared quarterback with no game plan is a sure loser.

We know there’s no game plan because if there was one, we would’ve seen it by now. Oh sure, there’s been talk of one. Donald Trump, who is the one who seems to be calling the plays here, says the plan will be “something terrific.” “Something so much better, so much better, so much better.” But that’s no more a plan than a coach saying “we’re gonna score more points than the other team.” How? Neither Pat Tiberi, Paul Ryan nor Donald Trump has said how they’re going to repeal the Affordable Care Act without it leaving the millions who rely on it high an dry. So our quarterback is forced to improvise.

So far he’s doing a bad job of it.

Tiberi is ducking the people he claims to represent and is steadfastly refusing to meet with them. He won reelection pretty easily in 2016 and our district went for Trump by double digits, so this should be a game played on his home field and the pressure he’s facing should not be more than even a modest pass rush. Yet he’s got happy feet and has been flushed out of the pocket already. Less than two full months into the new Congress and Pat Tiberi is scrambling. He’s scared.

He has every reason to be.

While no one — myself included — can honestly claim that the ACA is perfect, there are a lot of people in Ohio who have health insurance thanks to it. These are hardworking people for whom healthcare coverage provided by the ACA is a matter of life or death. These are people who may take issue with the ACA for some good reasons but, if their health insurance is taken away, they don’t know what they’re going to do. People who, if their child needed surgery or their wife got cancer and the Affordable Care Act was the reason they could get health insurance, wouldn’t be able to withstand it being ripped up without a plan to replace it. These are people who maybe don’t like how the game has gone so far, but they have every right to see the game plan going forward and to know that it stands a chance of success.

Donald Trump and Paul Ryan have no idea what the game plan is. If they did, they would’ve told us by now. Yet they’re sending their quarterback, Pat Tiberi, into the game all the same. He is woefully unprepared and isn’t up to the challenge. And worse, he’s scared. As anyone who has watched their team’s quarterback struggle knows, that all but ensures defeat.

I have no idea if Trump and Ryan will ever come up with a game plan, but it’s time to bench Pat Tiberi. He has no idea what he’s doing out there and he’s going to get somebody hurt.

Craig Calcaterra

Craig is the author of the daily baseball (and other things) newsletter, Cup of Coffee. He writes about other things at He lives in New Albany, Ohio with his wife, two kids, and many cats.