And the Smile on the Face of the Tiger

lady from Niger

There was a young lady of Niger

Who smiled as she rode on a tiger.

They returned from the ride

With the lady inside

And the smile on the face of the tiger.

A Tiresome Rhetorical Question with an Obvious Answer

This morning the talking heads talk yet again of two tiresome questions. In this post I will address the first of these: Why aren’t the Republicans standing up to Trump’s racism?

This is not a difficult question. Let us, please, roll back the film for several decades. In my early youth, the Democrats were willing to put up with racism in some parts of our country in order to gain votes for a New Deal economic agenda. But, beginning in the 1950s, the Supreme Court forced us to address the issue of racism. And in the 1960s the Democrats decided they would have to address the issue legislatively, even though they would royally piss off a good portion of their base.

That left the racists without a comfortable political home. (Just as, BTW, the Never Trump anti-New Deal Republicans are without a comfortable political home today.)

Seeing a political opening to gain votes in their long effort to roll back the New Deal, Nixon and the Republicans adopted the Southern Strategy. In The Long Southern Strategy,  we are reminded that the ensuing developments were complex and took place in distinct stages. But that was the essence of it: coopt the racists to oppose any expansion of the New Deal and, if possible, to roll it back.

Fast forward to the year of Our Lord 2019. Though some still support it, the roll-back-the-New-Deal strategy is vastly unpopular. Obamacare, for example, currently enjoys wide support. By contrast, Republicans have no coherent health care plan. Currently they don’t even have a health care plan at all—except to pursue a suicidal lawsuit to take away the protections enjoyed by those with preexisting conditions.

Pretty much all the political steam and emotional oomph has left the anti-New Deal agenda. Pretty much all that is left is the racism.

And a bunch of empty-suited Republican pols have got in front of a mob of peasants with pitchforks. If a pol stopped in the middle of the road and urged the mob to calm down, it would not work. The peasants would keep on running. They would run over the empty-suited pol, pausing only long enough to stick their pitchforks through a vital organ or two.

Changing the metaphor, the Republican pols have taken a ride on the tiger, and they have wound up inside.

So, children, would you please cease and desist from bootlessly inquiring, Where oh where are the Republicans?


Good morning—or afternoon or evening, as the case may be—to readers in Austria, Germany, the Philippines, Thailand, and the United States, all places where they know something about peasants with pitchforks.

The Smile on the Face of the Tiger


In 2008, Saint John McCain, desperate to win by any means necessary, put Sarah Palin on the ticket. But her audience was unsatisfied by a token crazy person. In the fullness of time, they demanded an insane person at the top of the ticket.

After the Tea Party revolution of 2010, Paul Ryan made the best of a bad deal and welcomed them in, pretending that his agenda was their agenda.

When you decide to ride a tiger, you should not be surprised at the unfortunate result. When you see a crazy mob, and your reaction is to get in front of the mob and try to lead it, you should know that the mob will probably run over you and stomp you to death.

Exit Paul Ryan. And, Paul, don’t let the door hit you where the Good Lord split you.

Many talking heads have sunned their livers on the topic of Ryan’s exit. Yesterday, one of the more astute taking heads observed that the most immediate effect of Ryan’s retreat will be on donations from the Ritchie Riches who have been supporting Republican branded politicians. Paul Ryan, the talking head allowed, has been a prodigious fundraiser for Republican candidates for the House of Representatives. Ryan’s retreat sends a strong signal that a blue wave is coming, and that more donations to Republican House candidates are useless.

The talking head went on to predict that, now, the Ritchie Riches will probably switch the monetary support to Republican candidates for the Senate.

Good luck with that. As of right now, the Republican brand is doomed. See, for example, Five Americans explain the burst of enthusiasm for Democratic candidates and causes. Like the rest of us, including your humble scrivener, the thinking of these five representative voters is imperfect and their analysis is incomplete and imprecise. But, like the Oxford student who did not love Doctor Fell, this they know, and know full well: Donald Trump is bad news, and if they voted for him, they wholeheartedly regret it.

Others, of course, remain Trump supporters. Republican branded empty suits will find it pretty much impossible to win with them, because their craziness alienates the types of voters described in the preceding paragraph. On the other hand, Republican branded empty suits cannot win without them. Accordingly, they will not win. This is a corollary of a more general rule: if a thing cannot happen, then that thing will not happen.

Meanwhile, the choices for the Ritchie Riches come down to two: either try to buy enough Democratic branded politicians to advance your agenda, or start a new business-oriented party and call in the “Center Party” or the “Moderate Party”–or maybe, inspired by the Monty Python skit, they’ll call it the “Sensible Party.”

I have predicted a coming three-party system. I stand by that prognostication.

And, by the way, remember how I said it would be Dershowitz stepping up as Trump’s legal counsel? Lookin’ good. See Trump turns to Dershowitz as Mueller probe escalates.

My reasoning was Sherlockian: if Dershowiz is willing and even eager to represent Trump, and if no other marginally qualified lawyer is willing to represent Trump, then it’s going to be Dershowitz.