I might have titled this piece "The GOP and 2004: A Morality Tale." Oxymoronic? You betcha. We live in a world where former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka, currently an analyst for ESPN, thinks he could have derailed the political career of a young Barack Obama back in 2004, thus changing history. I guess "Iron Mike" now thinks presenting President Obama with the jersey was a mistake. Ditka, who cannot complete a sentence before he starts another one, and who once, as New Orleans Saints head coach, traded every single one of his team's 1999 draft picks - PLUS two of the team's 2000 draft picks - for an opportunity to draft Ricky Williams in 1999, says he could have beaten Obama had he run for the Illinois U.S. Senate seat Obama ended up winning. "Biggest mistake I've ever made, Not that I would have won, but I probably would have and he wouldn't be in the White House." Never mind that Dikta seemed confused by his presence in Watford City, North Dakota, where he made the remarks. He said he had no idea why he had been invited to an oil company's grand opening ceremony. Perhaps he made a stop at Binnys before jumping on a flight to be a corporate shill. You might think this odd admission is simply the years creeping up on Dikta, but his record argues otherwise. A 2004 opinion piece in USA Today observed that Ditka "describes himself as an 'ultra-ultra-ultra-conservative'" --- but in 1999 responded to boos by the Saints' fans by giving them 'the finger' and then "contemptuously grabbed his crotch." The NFL fined him $20,000 and he apologized the next day, but I don't recall a single time Obama either giving anyone the finger or grabbing his crotch. Speaking of which, in 1999 the Saints finished 3-13 and Ditka was fired. Not because of his skewed ideas of morality but because of his skewed ideas. Yet he thinks history would have been better off with him in the Senate than with Barack Obama. Anyone who has watched Ditka on ESPN or watched him single-handedly ruin the Saints franchise for years, might argue otherwise. And remember, while we're on the topic of skewed morality and thinking, 2004 was the same year Vice President Cheney told Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., to "f---- yourself" on the Senate floor. Cheney neither apologized nor was fired. In fact, he smiled about it and said it was "sort of the best thing I ever did." Republicans love to denigrate Vice President Joe Biden. But Joe Biden, bless him, has never told anyone to "f---" themselves on the Senate floor. He did tell President Obama that passage of the Affordable Care Act was "a big fucking deal" but then millions of Americans would agree with him. 2004 was also the year Jack Ryan gave Ditka the chance he now regrets, after it came out that he had been encouraging his wife - Star Trek's Jeri Ryan - to perform public sex acts at swingers clubs, and dropped out of the running. Oh for those heady days of Family Values Republicans. Public sex acts, Crotch grabbing, f-ing yourselves and giving fingers. Inspiring isn't it? These events seem almost like omens today, at the GOP's historic low point in popularity, with Gallup describing the party's 28 percent approval rating as "the lowest favorable rating measured for either party since Gallup began asking this question in 1992." When you wonder how the GOP reached these lowest of lows, not only in terms of popularity but behavior, you have to think about these events, and about people like Mike Ditka, who, it seems, preceded the tea party in terms of vile and hypocritical behavior - not to say incoherence. Let Mike Ditka's tale be a salutary lesson. Not that anyone on the right seems inclined to listen to morality tales. Indeed, they cannot even understand children's' tales.