Vision Thing

A lifetime ago, when there was a general consensus among politicians of both parties that their aim was to improve the lives of Americans, Ronald Reagan could justifiably claim the Republicans were a party of ideas (not always very good ideas, but still, ideas), in fact, when George H.W. Bush ran to succeed Reagan, Republicans were concerned he lacked the Vision Thing to carry on the GOP ideas tradition. Today’s Republican Party does not even pretend anymore.

The Trumplican Party replaced ideas with conspiracy theories, and is firmly committed to minority rule. The remaining innovative thinkers in the Republican Party are focused on ways to maintain power without gaining a majority of votes. The rest of the Party simply looks for ways to eliminate democracy, such as the January 6 insurrection.

The GQP innovators are now working overtime to use the Big Lie of the stolen election to suppress votes in states around the country. These efforts are not new, but they are the tried and true means for the Republicans to stay in power. Extreme Gerrymandering, playing with the Census and not correcting the representation model set in 1911. I have written about this before, here, here, and here.

Across the country, local elections have never been more important. State legislatures are preparing for the redistricting work that defines voting districts. The key is voting for candidates who believe voters should choose their representatives, and not the other way around. Yes, Gerrymandering was once a bipartisan practice, but that is not where we are today.

Both parties are not the same. One party caters to white supremacists and uses Nazi symbology. This is not a majority coalition and that’s why Republicans have to work so hard to suppress the votes of the overwhelming non-Nazi majority of Americans.

Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party never gained a majority in Germany before taking power. We can still fight a Trumplican takeover at the ballot box, but it will be easier if we can defeat their efforts to disenfranchise significant parts of the population. Passing the HR 1 voting rights bill, is a good start. Ideas from Democrats, showing they have the vision thing now.

Have a Suppressor #1 while you make a voting plan. From A Modern Guide to Sherry by Talia Baiocchi, the Suppressor #1 is:

1 oz Dolin dry vermouth

1 oz Cocchi Americano

1 oz Pedro Ximenez sherry

8 drops Bittermens Hopped Grapefruit bitters

2 heavy barspoons lime juice

Add ingredients over crushed ice in a Julep cup (or Mai Tai glass in this case) garnish with orange peel and mint (mint omitted, it’s February in New Jersey).


Dead Weight

The aquittal of ex-president Trump for inciting the January 6 insurrection by the Republicans in the U.S. Senate was not a surprise, and could be one of the final acts of a dying political party.

The second impeachment of Trump has only tightened the ties that bind Trump to the GOP. But it most likely has simply strengthened the attachment of the dead weight of the Trump albatross around the neck of Republicans.

There appears to be a political realignment in the works post-Trump. Greg Sargent wrote about the war within the GOP over Trump, that is a part of this shifting landscape. Sargent puts the dynamic at play in the GOP: “The tension is this: On one hand, Republicans widely acknowledge that Trump cost them the House, Senate and White House. On the other, they continue to hail the Trump presidency as a great triumph — not just on policy, but a political success as well.”

He goes on to define that dynamic as: “Even as Trump drove a large diaspora of moderate, suburban, educated Whites to Democrats (who won the White House and Congress), Trump also brought millions of low-propensity conservative voters into the GOP coalition.”

A mistake that Sargent makes, along with many others in the media, is using the “c” word to describe Trump supporters. Calling them conservatives implies some kind of policy agenda, or at least preference. But the party of Reagan is dead. Sargent himself notes that the Trumpism animating the GOP today brings a “requirement that Republicans hew to QAnon-ified fantasies about the election’s illegitimacy, and that they aggressively hate on the constellation of phantom enemies…”

Also in The Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin points to the catastrophe in Texas as added proof the Republicans have become the party that does not give a darn. Governing and addressing real issues of concern to Americans, is not a focus for the party. The Trump Republicans have become the modern incarnation of the Know-Nothing Party, ignoring current problems in favor of anti-immigration, religious bigotry and grievance. Because we live in system designed for two parties, the longer Trump remains dead weight dragging down Republicans, the longer he is a dead weight dragging America down.

This seems like a good time for a Sidecar cocktail. We have this attachment that is not driving, but impacting our freedom to maneuver. Via Dr. Cocktail’s great book Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, the Sidecar is:

1 oz brandy

1 oz Cointreau

1 oz lemon juice

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass


Back Off Boogaloo

Joe Biden has been President for a couple of weeks now, and the rebuilding has begun, but we can’t seem to be rid of the previous regime just yet. This is largely because we have yet to fully reckon with the insurrection of January 6.

The violent white supremacist groups Trump unleashed on the Capitol, along with the various conspiracy theory followers, including members of Congress, have kept the craziness a top news story.

One of the groups, the Proud Boys, has even been designated a terrorist entity by Canada. Many of these extremists want to bring about another civil war in the U.S. But for all their desire to bring about a Second Civil War, the only civil war they seem to be instigating is within the Republican Party. The right-wing nut job faction of QAnon believers appears to be winning out over the old-time conservative Chamber of Commerce Republicans, with the QOP replacing the GOP.

The violent groups like the Proud Boys and the Boogaloo Bois provide anti-democratic, fascist armed support for the QOP, not necessarily under Trump’s command, though they are certainly in sympathy with him. It would be very easy to label them the modern day Brown Shirts, except for one, very annoying detail. Today’s Brown Shirts have ditched the brown shirts in favor of Hawaiian shirts.

This expropriation of the Hawaiian shirt is an affront to every anti-fascist fan of Tiki culture. May the Volcano God hit them with a Tiki Curse. A little more than four years ago I began this incarnation of this blog as a reaction to Trump and the rising trend toward fascism in the U.S. Now it’s 2021 and Trump is gone, congrats everybody, but we are still dealing with the fascists. Not only do they want to take away our American democracy, but they’ve come for Tiki, too. It’s time to stand up and fight. I suggest starting with a Jungle Bird cocktail, Tiki and bitter, perfect. This classic (via kindred cocktails) is:

4 oz pineapple juice

1.5 oz Jamaican rum(dark)

.5 oz Campari

.5 oz lime juice

.5 oz simple syrup

orange slice(blood orange is good here) and cherry as garnish

Shake well with plenty of ice and pour without straining into an old fashioned glass, garnish.