The worst kind of brawl you can get into is one with an opponent who has nothing to lose.

Think about it.

How many times have you seen a team fighting for a play-off spot taken down by a team that has no chance of going anywhere? For some reason, when there isn’t as much as stake, we fight harder and sometimes dirtier.

J. Anthony Brown jokes about an angry ex threatening to key his car, saying, “Go ahead and call the police. I BEEN to jail before!” He couldn’t scare her by making her think of the consequences of being arrested. In her mind, she had been there, done that and was letting him know she had no problem with going back to jail. She took away his leverage because she had nothing to lose.

When I watch some of the moves the Republicans are making these days, they remind of me of a group of spoiled children who would rather break their toys than share them with others. Besides getting one of their own elected – which is exactly what they’re supposed to be doing – their aim is just to take down President Obama, and, if they have to, the country with it.

Their fervor and fury to defeat the president is not driven by patriotism or even competition, but by hate and, in a lot of cases, racism. There are some people who will never support, accept or go along with one thing the president proposes because they cannot get past the fact that he is a black man.

The Republicans have always been great at sticking together and supporting candidates, policies and the party line, no matter what. In fact, I’ve always thought it was a brilliant strategy to be able to get so many people to go along, no matter how shaky or how little sense it made.

But this is something different – and please don’t argue by pointing to the overwhelming support that the Big Chief gets from African-Americans. For most, our support for the president is based on his remarkable capability to lead and, of course, our pride in the fact that he is black man.

If the Republicans had a candidate half as good as the president, I would get it. But if they combined Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich, they wouldn’t have a candidate as good as Mitt Romney – and they don’t want him.

I’m probably spending way too much time thinking about it, but after seeing the GOP debate, I’m convinced of three things:

1) The Republican Party has someone one else they’re going spring on us later in the game.

2) They just don’t want to win because they know they can’t do any better than President Obama is doing.

3) Um, uh … what is the third thing I’m convinced of? Wait, er … EPA. No? Hmmm. I can’t remember. Oops.

But despite the weird stuff that’s going in the Republicans’ camp, we can’t let it lull us into thinking that President Obama is a shoe-in in 2012. Because we know from history that if the election’s close, the Republicans will steal it, and we know that no matter who they run, they’ll turn out in huge numbers to vote. We’ve got to go to the polls with the same kind of enthusiasm as we did in 2008. No walking, no trotting to the bases, no coasting into the end zone because we can’t afford to think like we’ve got this thing.

The fact that Herman Cain is raising the most money and is leading in the polls is enough proof that nothing can be taken for granted.

This Thanksgiving, when you’re sitting around the table with your family and friends, take an informal poll and make sure every single one of them is registered to vote and that no one is thinking that President Obama will be elected whether they go to the polls or not. And more importantly, remind them that if the Big Chief doesn’t get elected, we have plenty to lose.

Things won’t be better or even the same. They’ll be worse.

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