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Republicans’ “Murderers’ Row”

I was briefly considering the fact that the obnoxious Elise Stefanik is likely to become the third most powerful Republican in The House of Representatives. She is all set to be voted into the position of House Conference Chairperson, to replace Liz Cheney, who is being thrown out because she said that Joe Biden actually won the election; and that the January 6 insurrection was a dreadful and disgraceful thing; and because she voted to impeach Trump for inciting it.

You cannot hold such views and remain in a position of power in this Republican Party. So Cheney, who has something like a 96% hard-line Conservative voting record, as compiled by groups who monitor such things, is going to lose her high-ranking role. While Matt Gaetz so far loses nothing. That is the hierarchy of values among Republicans now.

Why Cheney is doing this is a matter of great discussion among the pundits. Is it just because of principle? Is it also because she sees herself as a possible leader of a wing of the Republican Party, where she can be a powerful spokesperson, an online and fundraising presence, and maybe even become President some day, if her group takes ascendancy in the party? Is she “playing a long game, ” as some suggest? Or is it a combination of these?

I ultimately don’t care that much which it is, in that I am no fan of her politics, and certainly not of what her father did while essentially running the country from 2001-2009. I do admire her for what she has said in regard to Trump and the election. That took some courage. I would not root for her to become President. I would not root for anyone from that miserable party. Imagine her being President; imagine any of them. What we can say is that she is not an inveterate liar, she is not a traitor, she has regard for the laws, and for the validity of election results. I do not know what she would think about all the vote-suppressing measures instituted by Republicans in almost all of the states, though I would expect that she would not have a problem with them. I would like to be wrong about that.

Stefanik actually has a less conservative voting record than Cheney, but anyone who watched her during the first Trump impeachment knows how unpleasant she is, as she constantly interrupted and debated leading Impeachment Manager Adam Schiff, while making no salient points at all. Trump supports her to replace Cheney, which shows you how awful she must be.

The Republican hierarchy would be the inverse of the famous New York Yankees’ “Murderers’ Row” of 1927, with its absolutely fearsome lineup which included Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. (For an interesting delve into the actual social and historical background of the appellation, you can read baseball historian John Thorn’s article from 2016. I grew up reading about Combs, Ruth, Gehrig, Meusel and Lazzeri, but did not know the origin, and in fact, there is still some dispute about it). The Republicans would send up a lineup of Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise, Elise Stefanik, Mitch McConnell, and John Thune, with Donald Trump as manager.Well, that is indeed fearsome, but in a really frightening way.

Even as we watched Trump for the last four years, it is hard to imagine that he still wields so much power. It isn’t his ideas, whatever they are. It is the sway he holds over the radicalized Republican voting base. He is feared by Republicans in office as someone who can ruin their careers, as he is attempting to ruin Cheney’s, by saying that she will never win an election in Wyoming again, and by calling Mitt Romney, who is supporting Cheney in his abstract way, “a stone cold loser,” in his typical Mafia-speak.

Trump controls the rabid base, he raises the money; he can destroy their careers, they think, so they bow to him, and kiss his ring, as the saying goes. It is appalling and nauseating. But Republicans do not stand for anything more than keeping power by any means. And if groveling at the hem of Trump’s trousers, is how to do it, that is what they will do. Issues do not matter to them. They would surely support Gotti or Capone if he were there with the power to keep them in office, or throw them to the mob.

It is more than unsettling to consider what would happen if this band actually takes over the government. It would make us long for the days of Bush and Cheney, which is appalling in itself. The Republicans are hopped up with the drug of potential unlimited power, and they want all of it; full-blown fascism, where no dissent is allowed, and anyone who dares to question Trump and his flunkies, is purged, or might we say, canceled? Republicans always project, you know.

As against this tableau, questions about whether Biden’s infrastructure bill is too expensive, seem frivolous. The pressing question is whether there are now more “Bush Republicans” who will abandon the party. Or will they find excuses not to do so?

The Republican Murderers Row will throw every allegation and argument they have against Democrats., to try to keep their voters in line, or even give them an excuse to support fascism as the better of two evils, against “cancel culture,” or “the most liberal President since LBJ,” as the Wall Street Journal put it yesterday .Many millions of people have reflexively voted against Democrats for decades. Will more of them finally decide to join the Democratic Party, as the only sane alternative to go forward, protect democracy, and save the planet?

I tend to doubt it, but I do have some hope in that regard. As the Republican Party becomes more Radical Right, more supportive of Trump’s insanity; less willing to even accept that Biden won the election and that Trump’s instigated riot almost toppled the greatest democracy on Earth, one would think that at least some will not vote for any Republicans. But they are unlikely to become Democrats, or say that they will. If some of them would, people like Jennifer Rubin, Bill Kristol. Olivia Troye, it might make a difference. If they want to keep hoping for a return to the “glory years” of Reagan and Bush, they are substantially misreading the sweep of history; and in their manner, trying to save a Republican Brand which should be thrown in the ash heap, because it is ineradicably corrupted and toxic.

The odds should be in our favor as to whether we can defeat what the Republican Party has devolved to. But we can be sure that we are now clearly being shown the monster beneath, which had for so many decades been hidden by friendly faces and self-serving platitudes cloaked by soaring phrases.

When the Bush-Gore post-election battle was raging, Dick Cheney said that “we realize how very close this is”; something like that, indicating that if Bush were given the victory, they would have a politically diverse Cabinet, as the media kept demanding that Gore do, when it looked as if he would get the recount and win. After the Republicans were handed the victory, Cheney was said to have told Bush and their group, “We should govern like we won 65% of the vote.” And so they did, to the country’s great detriment. They left with Bush at 29% Favorables, but they took all of the money with them. They are never about compromise, that was Obama. Murderers’ Row, they are.

Early Morning Fun with “Ghost”

After I wrote the post the other day on the game “Ghost,” I started to play a bit of it in my head. I thought of a few sequences, and I wonder if you might figure out how you could turn possible defeat into victory in these.

The rules of the game are below in the post entitled “The Game of Ghost” I did not look up any of the sequences, so you might possibly find other options, too. It’s just for fun. Each situation involves you against just one other player Remember, you do not want to put the last letter in which spells a four or more-letter word, or you lose. And you must always have a word in mind when adding a letter, or you will be challenged and lose, if you do not have one. And don’t look any of the sequences up, that spoils the challenge of it!

1, He starts with B. You say A, for BA. He says I, for BAI. What do you do? You do not give up!

2. He starts with V. You say I, for VI. He says A, for VIA You…? I can think of two winning options.

3. He starts with S. You say T, for ST. He says A, for STA. You say N, for STAN. He counters with C, for STANC. What do you do?

4, You start with C. He says L, for CL. You say E. for CLE. He says A, for CLEA. You…?

5. You start with P. He says R, for PR. You say A for PRA. He says N, for PRAN. You say…(easy one!)

I could always be wrong on these, but I don’t think so. If I am, I am sure that somebody will point it out! Answers below.

  1. Z, thinking of Baize
  2. N, thinking of Viand, is best. D, thinking of Viaduct.
  3. H, thinking of Stanchion
  4. V, thinking of Cleave. If he says A, you say G, thinking of Cleavage.
  5. C, thinking of Prance