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OFF-PITCH MUSIC MAN

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FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, NOV. 10, 2017
BY BOB FRANKEN

OFF-PITCH MUSIC MAN

Those familiar with the Broadway classic “The Music Man” doubtless enjoy one of the showstoppers that combines “Ya Got Trouble.” They’re performed by the character Professor Harold Hill. He’s really a flimflammer trying to sell band instruments to the rubes in a fictitious small town, River City, Iowa. He claims that they will rescue the local boys from a life of sin, billiard playing and overall trouble -- “with a capital ‘T’ and that rhymes with ‘P’ and that stands for ‘pool.’”
What our politicians sell here in Potomac River City is a much bigger hustle than that. It’s ongoing. The “T” in this version could rhyme with “C” for “con artist,” or simply “Trump” -- same thing. It certainly could rhyme with “V,” for “Virginia,” “E” for “elections” or “ D” for the Democrats, who kicked the GOP’s “B,” and I don’t have to tell you what that stands for.
What was at the “PP,” for “polling places,” is that Trumpism might be in “trouble,” which starts, as we said, with “T” and rhymes with “DDD,” which stands for “deep doo-doo.” In Virginia it was also “G” for “Gillespie” -- Ed Gillespie, the establishment Republican who tossed his scruples into the pile of expedient hate in a transparent effort to appeal to the big “B”: bigotry. He slithered down Trump’s path by running ads that were blatantly anti-Hispanic. That also rhymed with “T” for “trouble” by rhyming with “D” for “disgraceful” and “C” for “cynical.” For good measure (bad measure actually) he added spots that emphasized his support for keeping Confederate statues up, in a state that considers the murderous right-wing extremist violence in Charlottesville a raw wound. And of course he tried to exploit antagonism toward athletes who refuse to stand during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” He lost, and deserved to. Then to rub a little salt in Gillespie’s wound, Trump tweeted from Asia that “Ed Gillespie worked hard, but did not embrace me or what I stand for.”


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“T” also can stand for “transgender,” which also defined Virginia, where an openly transgender woman, Danica Roem, won a House of Delegates seat in the state legislature. And she beat a man who was a cultural Neanderthal. Robert Marshall had held the same office for 13 terms and proudly described himself as the state’s “chief homophobe.” Not only did Roem conquer that demagoguery, but she also had to overcome the stigma of being an ex-reporter. Will wonders never cease?
It certainly was a good night for the D’s, the Democrats, who have suffered a lack of good nights and days, particularly in the past year, when Hillary Clinton managed to make so many mistakes that she and they forfeited the presidency to a racist, moronic narcissist. Since then, their debacle has been the source of incessant analysis and recrimination. We still have official investigations underway to determine how much the Russian government had to do with all that -- remember that the “T” in “trouble” rhymes with the “P” in “Putin.” It also stands alone with the heap of trouble Donald Trump would be in if it was proven that he was aware of any collusion with Moscow. That would feed his adversaries’ fondest hope, which would be a shot at impeachment. For now, they’ll have to settle for the traction they got get from the widespread disgust at the nonstop slapstick pratfalls by those who now control the federal government.
It will be interesting to see if the Democrats manage to fritter away their momentum, which is their normal practice, or if they will bury all their squabbles with a coherent message to wipe out the GOPs, who are clearly in Trouble. We’ll find out in a year of political song and dance, which is largely dissonant. Instead of the “76 Trombones” tune in “The Music Man,” we can title this one “76 Buffoons.” Actually, way more than 76.

© 2017 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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