Lewis: Hixson tries to sway Saints to Romney

METAIRIE — They’re the 1 percent, so they should be voting to protect their tax breaks.

Except, in Nick Hixson’s eyes, most of the millionaire players in the Saints’ locker room either don’t know it or don’t act like it.

That’s why Hixson, a practice squad cornerback and the leader of Team Romney for the Black & Gold, has made it his mission to convert as many of his teammates before Tuesday’s presidential election.

“I don’t understand some of these guys,” Hixson said. “I thought there would be more conservatives in here.

“Some of them are pretty hardheaded, but then I can be too. We’re having a lot of good fun and educating ourselves about things though.”

With the team’s season on the brink Monday against the Philadelphia Eagles, there’s a high level of political discourse going on.

Maybe it’s a good diversion.

“I think there are more guys into it this election than the time before,” safety Roman Harper said. “I know I’ve really gotten into it and see what I could learn.

“I’ve been trying to find out where I stand.”

To be sure, the locker room is missing its most persuasive liberal voice from 2008 — linebacker Scott Fujita.

Instead, Will Smith usually leads the Team Obama side of the discussion. Although sometimes he does it to rolling eyes.

“Scott had his facts right and made strong cases,” linebacker Scott Shanle said. “Will just throws out stuff all the time.

“He’ll say things like, ‘When Obama took over there was like 35 percent unemployment.’ and I’ll say ‘What?’ Then there are a lot of guys who don’t care.”

Not Hixson. Ask players who is the most politically minded in the room and they’ll point out the little-known practice-squadder.

With good reason.

Hixson is a product of Hillsdale (Minn.) College, a bastion of conservatism which refuses federal aid and advertises its online Introduction to the Constitution course on Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

The school also fields a Division II team.

Hixson, who made the practice squad after being cut following minicamp and then brought back in August and then cut again, said he originally supported Ron Paul, but feels Romney is a far better choice than Obama.

“I try to base my arguments on economic philosophy and personal philosophies about the role of government,” he said. “That’s what this country was founded on.

“I’d rather be able to talk about things like that than be in a room full of guys who don’t care.”

To be sure, there are some apolitical players.

Linebacker Jonathan Casillas attended politically charged Wisconsin, but admitted he didn’t vote in 2008 and probably won’t this time.

“If I did vote, I’d be voting ignorantly and I don’t want to do that,” he said,

And some are skeptical about the entire process.

“No president is going to be perfect,” said Harper, who added he’d already cast an absentee ballot for Obama, but expects it to go for naught since he’s from red-state Alabama. “When it gets down to it, I think both of them are just saying what they think they need to say to be elected.

“That’s why I couldn’t be a politician. I don’t want to be a liar.”

Then there are those who’d rather avoid taking a stance altogether.

Quarterback Drew Brees said he stays out of politics, at least publicly, because he doesn’t want to offend donors to his Brees Dream Foundation.

But more are like tackle Jermon Bushrod who said, “I’m honestly excited to see what the future holds.

“We’ve got to get the economy better and we’ve got to get better as a world. It’s going to be close.”

As for Hixson, he’s a lot more confident about a Saints victory on Monday than a Romney victory on Tuesday.

“If I’ve got to go with my gut, I think Obama will come out on top,” he said. “I just sure hope not.”

CORRECTION: The Advocate incorrectly said Hillsdale College is in Minnesota. It is in Michigan. The Advocate regrets the error.