I ask you, was Odoacer a real Roman? (Answer: No, and Trump’s not a real Republican)

Romulus Augustus resigns the Crown (from a 19th-century illustration).

Romulus Augustus resigns the Crown (from a 19th-century illustration).

Let’s elevate this discussion to the level of a separate post.

I regularly refer to “real Republicans,” a group to which Donald J. Trump — ideologically and otherwise — does not belong. This is an important distinction. To say he’s just another Republican — as plenty of Democrats and Republicans both would have it — is to normalize him.

A lot of Democrats insist that the thing that’s wrong with Trump is that he’s a Republican, end of story. This works for them because they demonize all Republicans, and it doesn’t matter how bad Trump is, he’s just another. Which means, they completely and utterly miss the unique threat that he poses to our system of government. They also miss the fact that unless Republican eventually rise up against him — something they’re unlikely to do soon, and even less likely if Democrats are calling him one of them, triggering the usual partisan defensive response — we’ll never be rid of him.

A lot of Republicans, including all the ones who know (or once knew) better, have dutifully lined up behind him, starting when he seized their presidential nomination. They’re now in they’re usual “R is always good” mode, any misgivings they may have had a year ago forgotten.

As usual, the two parties work together to support and reinforce each others’ partisan stances. The more Democrats push the line that Trump’s just another Republican, the more Republicans will embrace him and defend him. The more Republicans close ranks around him, the more certain Democrats are in seeing him as just another Republican.

And the more the rest of us see them falling into that pattern, the more disgusted we are with the mindlessness of parties. (Some of us, anyway. Many independents — the inattentive sorts whom both parties despise — are highly suggestible, and may lazily fall in with the usual binary formula that there are only two kinds of people in politics.)

In recent hours (and for some time before that), both Bud and Bill have been pushing the idea that my notions of what constitutes a “real Republican” are outdated and therefore wrong. Today, they say, Trump is a real Republican, and so is Tea Partier Mick Mulvaney.

Fellas, you seem to think I’m blind, but I’m not. I’ve watched as successive waves of barbarians (in the definition of the day) have washed over the GOP. I missed Goldwater because I was out of the country at the time, but no matter; he was a temporary phenomenon. Four years later Nixon had recaptured the party for the mainstream. But I remember when the Reaganites came in and took over for almost a generation, and the Bushes and the Doles got on board. Then, starting early in this century, things got crazy. There were so many bands of barbarians at the gate that it was hard to keep them straight. There was Mark Sanford and his Club for Growth hyperlibertarians, then the Tea Party with its snake flags, and Sarah Palin with whatever that was (probably just a subset of the Tea Party), and then Trump’s angry nativists.

And yes, the people I call “real Republicans” have been embattled, often seeming to fight a rear-guard action. And yes again, with all these elements pushing and pulling at the party, it has changed to where a Prescott Bush or a Robert A. Taft would not recognize it.

But let me pose a question to you: Was Odoacer a real Roman? After all, he inherited control of Italy after he seized it from the last emperor, Romulus Augustus, in 476.

Odovacar_Ravenna_477No, he was not. Not only was he a barbarian (apparently — note the mustache on his coin), but the Western Roman Empire is seen as having ended the moment he took over. He ruled as King of Italy, rather than emperor of anything.

Similarly, if Trump and his core followers are the Republican Party now, then it’s time to call it something else, rather than confusing it with the party of John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Lamar Alexander, Mitch McConnell, Bob Dole, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp, Richard Nixon, Dwight Eisenhower, Robert A. Taft, Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

And perhaps that’s where we are. But let’s be clear: With Donald Trump — as much a barbarian as any political figure this nation has produced — in the White House, the nation faces a crisis that should not for a moment be diminished by portraying it as just more of the same games between Republicans and Democrats.

That will get us nowhere.

47 thoughts on “I ask you, was Odoacer a real Roman? (Answer: No, and Trump’s not a real Republican)

  1. Bill

    Your own anti-partisan urge is blinding you to the transformation the Republican Party is undergoing – which didn’t begin with Trump, nor is it likely end there. And you won’t be helped by pointing to this or that “good Republican” who passes muster.

    I’m not going to drag Odoacer or Arminius (who served as a Roman officer – before he turned against them) or any other ancient into it. (Though, yeah, both were Romans – before/after they weren’t.)

    We got enough problems to deal with right here and now – which nobody’s blind to (except for those who choose to be).

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      “Your own anti-partisan urge is blinding you to the transformation the Republican Party is undergoing…”

      But didn’t you see this bit?

      Fellas, you seem to think I’m blind, but I’m not. I’ve watched as successive waves of barbarians (in the definition of the day) have washed over the GOP. I missed Goldwater because I was out of the country at the time, but no matter; he was a temporary phenomenon. Four years later Nixon had recaptured the party for the mainstream. But I remember when the Reaganites came in and took over for almost a generation, and the Bushes and the Doles got on board. Then, starting early in this century, things got crazy. There were so many bands of barbarians at the gate that it was hard to keep them straight. There was Mark Sanford and his Club for Growth hyperlibertarians, then the Tea Party with its snake flags, and Sarah Palin with whatever that was (probably just a subset of the Tea Party), and then Trump’s angry nativists.

      And yes, the people I call “real Republicans” have been embattled, often seeming to fight a rear-guard action. And yes again, with all these elements pushing and pulling at the party, it has changed to where a Prescott Bush or a Robert A. Taft would not recognize it.

      It was just before the Odoacer bit…

      Reply
      1. Bill

        Yeah, I saw that bit. But it’s largely undermined by the other bits — especially the bit of magical thinking that involves not calling Trump a Republican miraculously saving the GOP from itself.

        Meanwhile, this bit:
        “A lot of Republicans, including all the ones who know (or once knew) better, have dutifully lined up behind him, starting when he seized their presidential nomination.”
        gives a glimpse of just how parties get transformed into something new.

        Parties change. Thank goodness the Democrats no longer have the southern racists in their ranks. And as for the Republicans, only time will tell where they end up.

        Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          I missed the part with “the bit of magical thinking that involves not calling Trump a Republican miraculously saving the GOP from itself.”

          That’s sort of an inside-out version of what I said. I said that pretending this is Democratic-vs.-Republican business as usual makes it that much tougher for Republican eyes to open, and for some of them to stand up to Trump.

          Which is essential. A lot of Democrats seem to think, “Oh, it’ll be OK if we can win the next election.”

          First, we can’t wait that long. Second, if the time between now and then is filled with Democrats playing into the narrative that it’s a Dems-vs.-Repubs thing, the Republicans will continue to rally around him, and even independents will be persuaded that “Aw, those Democrats just don’t like him because he’s a Republican” and dismiss all you have to say, and no one’s eyes will be opened, and you won’t win the next election.

          If Republicans don’t turn against him — and I’m talking about my “real” Republicans as well as a lot of those fringe folk in his base — then we’re stuck with him and the larger phenomenon of Trumpism. He must be completely discredited. And I’m sorry to tell my Democratic friends, but they are not key to the solution. Republicans, and those who have been voting Republican, are.

          The usual stuff is NOT going to work. It’s past time to ditch the usual stuff, because this is absolutely not a “usual” situation…

          Reply
          1. Bill

            “I said that pretending this is Democratic-vs.-Republican business as usual makes it that much tougher for Republican eyes to open”

            I guess this is how things look/work in what is essentially a one-party state like SC – but not so much in a real democracy.

            Reply
          2. Bill

            Besides that, your suggestion is self-contradictory: On the one hand you say the Republicans shouldn’t be forced to wear him around their necks while on the other you say he’s their problem. That’s just plain incoherent.

            Reply
            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Actually, it’s not even slightly incoherent.

              The Democrats who want to hang Trump around the GOP’s necks do so out of a “damn all Republicans” attitude. They can’t imagine Republicans being the solution or even any part of it. They don’t WANT Republicans to be part of a solution. They want the world to see Democrats as the only solution.

              But frankly, as long as they’re doing the usual stuff, Democrats have little ability to help right now. They need to be encouraging Republicans to stand up, and APPLAUDING when they do, instead of engaging in the usual petty carping about, “Oh, that’s not enough,” or “You don’t really mean it,” yadda yadda.

              Because if Republicans — who have firm control of government from the national down to the state level — don’t deal with this, it won’t be dealt with.

              My position is completely consistent and coherent.

              Reply
              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Further, as I’ve said before, if Democrats want to be ANY help at all in this situation in which they have so little leverage, they need to pick their battles. Wasting ammo on, for instance, fighting Gorsuch will be ENORMOUSLY harmful. If Democrats are doing the usual thing — fighting everything, including a demonstrably qualified nominee — they remain what they’ve been for years: the boy who cried wolf. Therefore, when they stand up against something that is truly bad, they will be ignored. As they are being largely ignored right now.

                This is a national crisis, and the usual petty jockeying for position and ideological obsession is a dangerous distraction from joining with anyone who will help stop Trump…

                Reply
              2. Bill

                “The Democrats who want to hang Trump around the GOP’s necks do so out of a “damn all Republicans” attitude.”

                Nope, they do so because he’s primarily the Republicans’ problem — like you keep saying. Why? Because he’s in their party, because he is their current party leader and because they constitute the majority in both houses. For all those reasons, he’s their problem.

                And clearly you’re wrong about Democrats not being willing to join with Republicans WHERE THEY CAN — as was demonstrated just in the past couple of days by Senators Graham and Whitehouse through their joint letter to the FBI. Same with Congressmen Nunes and Schiff on the House Intelligence Committee.

                Really, you have to let go of your caricatures of Democrats, if you want to be taken at all seriously on that front.

                Reply
  2. Phillip

    You say that “[Democrats] are not key to the solution. Republicans, and those who have been voting Republican, are.” But they are not going to turn on Trump. Never gonna happen, not as long as they control both houses of Congress and the Presidency. And while we’re focused on the outrageousness of Trump the person, the reality is that it is policies and laws that affect the lives of Americans. And it is the Republican Congress and the Republican President that are working together to implement these policies.

    What exactly are progressives, or Democrats, supposed to do? Pretend that the Republican Congress is being forced to repeal Obamacare by Trump, that they didn’t really want to?

    If every Democrat in the US kept their mouth shut for the next two years, do you honestly think that would make a whit of difference in the degree to which the GOP in Congress (a few occasional voices like Graham, McCain, Collins, Murkowski notwithstanding) will embrace Trump and go along with most of his policies?

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      If it’s “Never gonna happen,” then we are doomed. This completely unstable alliance between Republicans, populists, and “blow it all up” nihilists MUST break apart, or we’re stuck with this mess.

      Policies can be undone after the next election. The damage that Trump does to this nation and its institutions, to the “brand” of America, cannot — probably not within our lifetimes, anyway, if this lasts a whole lot longer.

      No, Trump isn’t forcing the Republican Congress to repeal Obamacare — that misses the entire point. Repealing Obamacare is what the Republicans, especially the Tea Party types, want. This is a Paul Ryan thing. (Remember, the reason Ryan surrendered his manhood and bowed down to Trump last year was that he wanted a Republican Congress that could enact what HE wanted, and he might lose that to Clinton coattails. The fact that there’s no Democratic president to veto what he wants is a bonus. This it Ryan’s big moment, although he doesn’t really care about the ACA. I think he sees a victory on the ACA as empowering him to do the stuff he REALLY wants to do on taxes, etc.) Trump has been happy to prate about what a “disaster” the ACA is, because it’s an applause line for him. You think he gives a damn one way or the other?

      I truly believe that if the Congress would simply pass a bill dubbing the ACA “Trumpcare,” he’d be thrilled, and call it a victory.

      The Trump true believers are divided over Ryan’s plan, which is a good thing. Some think if it doesn’t pass, Trump will lose the political leverage to do anything else (which, ironically, they think would be a BAD thing). Others are in the Admiral Ackbar camp: They look at Ryan’s plan and say, “It’s a trap!”

      The Democrats don’t have to sit passively. In fact, they should be making powerful arguments against the plan — and they should do their best to make sure some of the arguments are actually persuasive to people other than Democrats. And they should be linking arms with all those Senate Republicans who don’t like the plan.

      All of which would be consistent with what I’m saying, but contrary to partisan instincts. There’s a certain sort of Democrat out there who relishes the idea of this passing and blowing up in Republicans’ faces — never mind the havoc it will wreak in real people’s lives. Then, they pick up the pieces in the next election.

      No, I don’t think that’s most Democrats. But you know there are partisans who think that way in both parties…

      Reply
      1. Bill

        “There’s a certain sort of Democrat out there who relishes the idea of this passing and blowing up in Republicans’ faces”

        Let’s have some names.

        Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Oh, ya got me! Since that’s not usually something people generally don’t own up to openly, I can’t give you any quotes, or names! At least, not in the time I’m willing to spend on it.

          So that means I’m wrong!

          Except, you know, it doesn’t…

          Reply
          1. Bill

            Sounds like you’re borrowing a page from Trump: make generalized accusations without any sort of actual evidence.

            Reply
  3. bud

    Brad you completely miss the point. It’s not about some noble Republican or Republicans who fits your arbitrary definition of what a “real” Republican coming along to save us from this vulgar interloper. That is irrelevant to the important and very real point here. Trump represents the culmination of a decades long transformation of the Republican Party into something very different from what we grew up with. If recognizing that truth somehow empowers Trump, well, what can I say. But it is what it is and we need to recognize that as fact and not pretend we occupy a place that is a fiction. In the long run the truth will ultimately set us free. And the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is that Donald J Trump is the body and soul of the Republican Party as it exists in 2017. By not accepting that Brad is in denial and we should all band together in a political intervention. Only by acknowledging reality can one begin to solve the underlying problem.

    Reply
  4. Lynn Teague

    Institutions change, and the Republican Party is undergoing massive change, as it did when it decided to be the party of the Southern Strategy. Even Lindsey Graham, so much more willing than most to buck current party orthodoxy, says that he agrees with Trump about much of his agenda. However, those of us who have been close to politics know that there is much more going on than a solid partisan agenda at any time. There is great variation within both parties just in the South Carolina General Assembly. I don’t know that any of them are more real than any others. Surely that has always been true.

    However, you are right that this is not business as usual. The destruction of our long-term national and state interest to benefit short term profit and power is depressing. From Sputh Carolina’s difficulty getting roads fixed to Washington’s unwillingness to face up to the cost of dealing with climate change, we are digging ours lives into quite a hole. The common factor in those situations isn’t party as such, it is the involvement of very big money types who are concerned only with their own relatively short term self-interest. I can’t quite agree with your framing of the problem here, but there is very surely a devastating problem and it isn’t just inter-party squabbling.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Right. The problem isn’t inter-party squabbling. But inter-party squabbling — and especially the misconception that this is party business as usual, cripples any efforts to SOLVE the problem.

      And the problem isn’t Trump’s “agenda,” or this or that issue. The immediate problem is that we have a frighteningly unhinged man in the White House. The larger problem is that we have a large number of people in this country who are HAPPY about that. Not as many as voted for him — plenty of those were just doing a protest vote against Hillary, and thought he would lose. Those people are just irresponsible.

      The people who actually WANTED him are the real problem, because they have a “let’s blow it all up” attitude toward our country, its institutions and fundamental values. And Trump is their instrument. And they are his.

      Reply
      1. Lynn Teague

        And who benefits from this “blow it all up” mentality? The nation as a whole surely suffers, but the Ayn Rand enthusiasts, the major corporate polluters, the dark money folks are getting what they wanted in the process.

        Reply
        1. Doug Ross

          The use of “Ayn Rand enthusiasts” to label anyone is such a lazy and inaccurate statement. I think I’m going to start calling liberals “Noam Chomsky Acolytes” or “Howard Zinn zealots”.

          Here’s a clue if you understand the concepts of Ayn Rands philosophy: a politician cannot be an Ayn Rand enthusiast. That would be 180 degrees opposite to her thinking. It’s like a vegan working in a slaughterhouse.

          And, for the love of the God Ayn Rand didn’t believe in, please don’t use the term unless you have read Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. If you haven’t read both, you have no idea what you are talking about.

          Reply
            1. Doug Ross

              I didn’t. I said the use of the term is lazy. I can be just as lazy in certain forms of speech. Using “Ayn Rand” to label a person is intended as slur when there is rarely anyone who it applies to. I may be the closest thing to that label on this blog but even I don’t buy into her “objectivism” mumbo jumbo. But there are concepts she talks about in her two famous novels that I can identify with and support.

              Reply
              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Well, that’s one way to look at it.

                Personally, you say “Ayn Rand” to me in such a context, and you’re talking about the IDEAS she puts forth. And the places where she does so most overtly is in her writings about objectivism, carried forth into the present day by her acolytes at the Ayn Rand Institute. I don’t think people mean to invoke this or that theme from a novel.

                I think if you ask most people what “Randian” means in a political sense, they’d say “libertarianism” or “objectivism.” Or “The Virtue of Selfishness.”

                In that sense, if you don’t buy into objectivism, it’s not really about you when people talk about those who subscribe to her ideas…

                Reply
                1. Doug Ross

                  So name someone in politics who is Randian (not randy like Strom Thurmond or Ted Kennedy)… who are these Randians that are causing problems? Because you can’t be a Randian politician. It doesn’t work that way.

                2. Doug Ross

                  And are these Randians some new cult that has appeared recently? Everything was going great until THEY showed up?

                  It’s lazy labeling. That’s all it is. No different than blaming “welfare queens”, “tree huggers”, and “nanny staters”.

                3. Brad Warthen Post author

                  I always though “tree-huggers” was a pretty good one. Yeah, it’s mostly used dismissively, but it seems like one that environmentalists themselves ought to be able to, you know, embrace

  5. bud

    The immediate problem is that we have a frighteningly unhinged man in the White House. The larger problem is that we have a large number of people in this country who are HAPPY about that.
    -Brad

    Ok, we’re making some progress. Yes, lots of people ARE HAPPY about that. Those people have a party to call home: Republican.

    If any one who is a somewhat moderate, sensible Republican really wants to make a difference and not continue enabling this man and his movement there is only one choice – change parties. My recommendation would be to become a Democrat but for most that is probably (as Chris Christie would say) a bridge too far. (Sorry, couldn’t resist). Perhaps now would be a good time to form a new party or in many cases such as Rand Paul change to the Libertarian party.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Bud, you’re just never going to break out of that binary, “there are only two ways to think” mold, are you?

      The answer is NOT for rational Republicans to “switch parties.” If they did that, the governing majority would ignore them the way they’re ignoring the other Democrats. They need to stand up, right where they are, and resist Trump with all their might.

      You know, the way McCain and Graham are doing on Russian hacking and Trump’s absurd wiretapping claims. What they do and say on that is amplified by the fact that they are Republicans. Were they Democrats, what they do would get little coverage, and have little effect. As it is, it’s an uphill climb right now. We are SO far from where we need to be…

      Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Which would not matter.

          Have you not heard about all those people who voted for Trump who had voted for Obama previously?

          The problem is not that those voters are called “Republicans” or “independents” or “Democrats.”

          The problem… and, ahem, excuse my volume here… THE PROBLEM IS THAT THEY VOTED FOR TRUMP!

          This thing just isn’t that hard to understand — except for the fact that most of our country, including a lot of really smart people, have been brainwashed into the binary paradigm: If not Republican, then Democrat. If not Democrat, then Republican. It’s a self-defeating way of perceiving the world.

          Reply
  6. Harry Harris

    No analogy should confuse or confuse the issue I consider to be most important concerning Trumpism. I don’t care whether it’s a Trump/Republican unholy alliance or the “pure, unbarberic” Republicanism of John Kasich. Trump’s fraud/huckster, nativist, alt-right lying is just more transparent than the standard trickle-down power-to-the-rich game Republicans have run since Teddy Roosevelt left the party.
    Whether it’s Kasich, Jeb Bush, Romney, or Graham the agenda is to convince or confuse Americans into thinking that fat wallets and present comfort bodes well for our future. All push an agenda that includes:

    tax advantages for upper incomes (caps on FICA and medicare taxes, low taxes on passive income)
    lax enforcement of environmental laws intended to restrain damage from rampant resource exploitation
    making it harder to vote for groups who vote heavily Democratic (see court rulings)
    dual school systems – schooling that separates us on race, income, family background
    military-dominated foreign policy
    tax-exempt spending on political organizations posing as charity or education (Heritage foundation, etc.)
    a medical money machine (big pharma, hospital corporations, for profit medical insurance, etc.)
    unlimited political donations in the name of “free speech

    Trump’s outrageousness is being used to make the greed that is destroying us look normal. The Republicans would be glad to dump him and say “See, we got rid of that fraudster – now be glad we gave you Pence.”
    A better spin to the Odoacer analogy would be to consider Odacer the horrible Barbarian making us nostalgic for the oppressive, class-based, brutal, wealth-grasping real-Romans.

    Reply
    1. bud

      You are correct Harry. What is different now is that it’s become more transparent. We really must recognize the GOP for what it is. Focusing too much attention exclusively on Trump diverts our attention from the real, insidious problem- the plutocracy movement of the GOP.

      Reply
  7. Tom Stickler

    Maybe Democrats should focus on concern-trolling Republicans about the damage Trump is doing to their brand?

    Yeah, that’ll work.

    Reply
  8. Brad Warthen Post author

    Of course, my analogy would work more neatly if I could say, “Odoacer was not a real Roman, and Trump is not a real American,” instead of just not being a real Republican. (Perhaps I should have used Brutus, as in, “Was Brutus a real republican, a guy sincerely interested in saving the Republic, or was he just jealous of Caesar’s power?”)

    But that wouldn’t work, because Donald Trump is definitely an American.

    As y’all know, I take a backseat to no one in my belief that this is the greatest country ever.

    But all countries have warts. And the amazing thing about Trump is that he exhibits so MANY of the warts that are quintessentially American.

    Yes, on one level he’s an example of a worldwide phenomenon. There’s Marine le Pen, Nigel Farage, Geert Wilders, and others frequently seen as France’s or Britain’s or Holland’s “Trump.” And you can point to the same themes, such as nativism.

    But while he may be the most prominent exemplar of a sickness spreading throughout the West, he’s a particularly American manifestation of the phenomenon.

    He embodies so many of the tackier cliches about us.

    He’s a businessman, of course — but not a normal businessman like Warren Buffett or the owners of the Mom and Pop shop down the street. He is an extraordinarily garish caricature of the loud, tacky, grossly acquisitive, childishly egotistical businessman who thinks he’s absolutely wonderful because he’s made a lot of money. He’s like Rodney Dangerfield in “Caddyshack,” without the humility.

    His celebrity is not only a product of American pop culture, but of the lowest, tackiest form of our pop culture — reality TV.

    Check out his hair. (And yeah, Geert Wilders’ hair is pretty outlandish, but at least it seems to have an organizing principle, tending toward a certain order. Trump’s is about as orderly as two, or maybe three, Kansas tornadoes running into each other.)

    He’s overweight, which is why, from a Savile Row perspective, he seems to dress so badly. But that aside, you know how fat all those Americans are.

    He’s a nativist. Yeah, so are the others, but Trump is an expression of the American variety of the trait, which has been with us almost since the beginning.

    From his Tweets to his (lack of) reading habits to his getting his military advice “from the shows,” as he so inarticulately puts it, he is the purest expression of American anti-intellectualism — a long and sad tradition of ours — that I’ve ever seen. (Once during the election last week, I saw a clip of George Wallace giving a speech back in the 60s, and was struck that even HE sounded more literate than Trump).

    Yeah. Sad to say, but he’s very American. Just not in good ways…

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      OK, maybe reality TV isn’t THE tackiest, lowest form of American pop culture. I forgot about David Lynch’s “Dune.”

      But speaking of that. Remember my post awhile back passing on the meme of Trump being Baron Harkonnen?

      Well, a couple of nights ago I picked up my copy of “Dune” (AGAIN neglecting all those good books that I should be reading for the first time, and learning something). It was the first time I’d picked it up since well before the events of last year.

      And as I got to where the Baron made his entrance, reveling in his destruction of the Atreides and his takeover of Arrakis… I couldn’t help picturing Trump. I wasn’t trying to; it just kept happening.

      Piter De Vries would speak, and my mind’s eye would see him, vaguely, as it always has. Dr. Yueh would speak, ditto. Duke Leto would speak. Same deal. And then the Baron would be speaking, and again I’m picturing Trump…

      Reply
    2. bud

      Trump may exhibit warts but today’s Republican Party is a cancer that’s slowly strangling this great nation. People who focus excessively on this one man serve merely as enablers of this dangerous and vile disease within the body politic.

      Reply
  9. Brad Warthen Post author

    By the way, a confession.

    I didn’t know the name Odoacer before writing this. I was actually thinking of Theodoric, but having trouble remembering his name. So I started doing searches like “barbarian roman emperors,” and ran across Odoacer, and decided he fit what I was looking for better…

    Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        OK, OK, OK, I held it back earlier, but now I… just… can’t…

        You know how I said, earlier, in a (sort of) joking way that I’m not descended from Oroacer?

        Well… I AM apparently directly descended from Theodoric. But not the one I mentioned above. This one.

        Also, I had a 3rd cousin 5 times removed named “Theodoric Warthen,” which I think is a pretty awesome name. Not that I knew him or anything. I ran across him trying to trace the connection to someone Ancestry matched my DNA to. He lived from 1780 to 1857…

        I’ll go away and be quiet now…

        Reply
        1. Claus2

          Another few weeks and you’ll be bringing up some guy named Adam and his girfriend Eve. Then it’ll be on to some carpenter named Jesus Christ and we all know who his dad is.

          God —-> Brad Warthen

          Reply
          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Actually… my ancestor Ragnar traced HIS ancestry to Odin.

            Which is another reason to see him as possibly a fictional composite rather than a real person — although his sons are supposedly historical figures…

            Reply

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