The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Spahn and Sain and Pray for Rain

Rich Galen

Monday May 20, 2019

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  • The old Boston Braves (later the Milwaukee Braves and now the Atlanta Braves) had a hole in their starting pitching rotation during the immediate post World War II era.

  • The Braves' starting rotation consisted of two excellent pitchers: Johnny Sain (right hander) and Warren Spahn (lefty). Those two names became linked in baseball lore - much as Mighty Casey - in a poem.

  • This, by Boston Post editor Gerald V. Hern on the prospects of the Braves' 1948 post-season:
    First we'll use Spahn, then we'll use Sain,
    Then an off day, followed by rain.
    Back will come Spahn, followed by Sain,
    And followed, we hope, by two days of rain.

  • Over the past seven decades, that has been shortened to: "Spahn and Sain and Pray for Rain."

  • But, this is not a baseball column.

  • It is a pretty accurate description of where the National Democrats find themselves as they stare into the final six months of the off-year.

  • Notwithstanding the 23 more-or-less legit candidates for the Democratic nomination for President, it has really come down to two - at least today: Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and former VP Joe Biden.

  • I know Senators Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren are working hard and formulating policies. I know that Bernie Sanders is still running second (albeit double digits) behind Biden. I know that Corey Booker and Beto O'Rouark are trying to recapture some of their early lightening.

  • And, I know candidates like Amy Klobuchar and Kirsten Gillibrand have hired storm chasers to locate any lightening that they might drive under to strike their campaigns.

  • But, if this past weekend is any indication, the Democratic process is between Mayor Pete and VP Joe.

  • Why? Because they each sounded so darned reasonable.

  • Biden's 11th or 12th Pennsylvania-based opening of his campaign, this time in Philadelphia, was a study in Uncle Joe-isms:
    "Some say Democrats don't want to hear about unity," Biden said. "That they are angry, and the angrier you are, the better. Well, I don't believe it. I really don't. I believe Democrats want to unify this nation."

  • Biden later defined anti-anger and anti-divisiveness thus:
    "If the American people want a president to add to our division, to lead with a clenched fist, closed hand and a hard heart, to demonize the opponents and spew hatred - they don't need me. They've got President Donald Trump."

  • Buttigieg appeared on a town hall hosted by Fox News Channel and moderated by Chris Wallace. By doing that he went where others, like Elizabeth Warren, have feared to tread.

  • He smacked a single thorough the defensive shift when he directly attacked two of FNC's popular nighttime hosts (this, via NBC):
    "Tucker Carlson saying immigrants make America dirty" and "Laura Ingraham comparing detention centers with children in cages to summer camps. Summer camps."

  • He then polished his "reasonable" creds by saying that even though the nighttime lineup may be biased,
    "I also believe that even though some of those hosts are not always there in good faith, I think a lot of people tune into this network who do it in good faith."

  • Box checked.

  • To be fair, the most recent poll (as of this writing) is from that very same Fox News organization and shows Biden with an 18-point lead over 2nd place Sanders 35-17, but Buttigieg in fourth with six percent of the vote. Here's the list via
    Biden 35, Sanders 17, Warren 9, Buttigieg 6, Harris 5, O'Rourke 4, Booker 3, Castro 2, Klobuchar 2, Gabbard 1, Yang 1, Ryan 1, Gillibrand 0, Bennet 0.

  • But, the candidates know Warren's Energizer Bunny act will wear thin over the next nine months, and Harris' "I'm-From-California-and-That's-All-You-Need-to-Know" attitude will not have a positive effect on Democratic voters in the other 49 states.

  • That leaves Biden and Buttigieg.

  • Joe and Pete; the Ones to Beat.

  • In the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the Spahn/Sain poem, to Biden's event in Philly, and to Buttigieg's appearance on Fox.

    The Mullfoto is a pair of shots from Alexandria Virginia from over the weekend dealing with the scooter invasion there.

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