In football, players are drilled from the time they are in Pop Warner until they retire from the NFL that if they are carrying the football, they should run towards the endzone, not towards the boundary at either side of the field. Above all, players are admonished not to run backwards, even if it helps them temporarily to escape being tackled. The lesson is important, because any time a player spends running to the side is time they could have spent running forward, and even if there’s a hole in the defense off to the side, it almost always disappears before the ball carrier can get there, because the defense is also running to the side to close that hole. It’s even worse when the ball carrier runs backwards and to the side, because he rarely makes up the ground he lost when trying to run around the defense.

So it often is in politics. We receive regular press releases from Democratic campaigns in Missouri and from the Missouri Democratic Party that attack their Republican counterparts for their insufficient fealty to conservative principles. Case in point is the last e-mail I got about Roy Blunt, attacking him for not being a conservative and citing relatively well respected conservatives to make that case. Among the charges, Blunt has supported wasteful spending,