On a lark, I looked up the 1955 roster for the World Series champion Brooklyn Dodgers. As many of you may know, Jackie Robinson was number 42 on that roster. Why did I look it up? I wanted to see who was number 47 on that team. Why number 47? Because lately, it seems that the number 47 is out to destroy the Republican Party.
The number 47 shows up frequently on social media in discussions about Republicans. First there was Mitt Romney's ill-fated leaked video, where he essentially wrote off 47 percent of the electorate because they pay no income tax and will never support him. That exploded on social media. A few months after that video, Romney mustered only 47 percent of the vote in the 2012 presidential election.
In that same 2012 election, Republican candidates for the House of Representatives received only 47 percent of the vote, too. And while they won a majority of seats in the House anyway, it was due to some very creative redistricting efforts by Republican -controlled state legislatures. And while this may appear to be an example of 47 helping the GOP, one has to wonder how sustainable it is, let alone the optics of winning the House with a minority of the votes.
Most recently, the number 47 has emerged thanks to Senator Tom Cotton's (R-AR) open letter to the Supreme Leader of Iran. His letter effectively undermined current negotiations between the Obama Administration and the Iranian government by claiming any negotiated terms were not sustainable without Senate approval or the support of the next president. Including Cotton, 47 Republican Senators signed this letter.
The resulting maelstrom from Arkansas' junior Senator's letter has dominated social media, news media and Congressional hearings. So far, aside from the base Republicans voters who already supported these Senators, the reaction has been quite negative. While the #47patriots hashtag has been tweeted about 27,000 times, a sizable chunk of those were critics taking issue with calling the Senators patriots. Meanwhile, #47traitors has been tweeted about 403,000 times. And even the stronger #47idiots hashtag has been tweeted about 2,600 times.
The #47idiots narrative got a bit of a boost Sunday morning when Senator Cotton told CBS Face the Nation's Bob Schieffer that Iran "already controls Tehran." Now, most people know that Tehran is the capital of Iran, so the truth is Iran has always controlled Tehran, just as the United States controls Washington, DC.
Given the scrutiny already applied to the alleged facts of Cotton's letter, especially criticism from Secretary of State John Kerry, Cotton's comments on Face the Nation set off another round of social media lambasting. This is clearly not good time for the GOP and the number 47.
One has to wonder about why exactly 47 GOP Senators signed the letter. Why did 7 others opt out? Could it be that they wanted exactly 47 Senators because they were fans of Keanu Reeves movie 47 Ronin? That may be true, but I am guessing that we will never know for sure.
As for the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers, turns out there was no #47 on that World Champion roster. And ironically, the only other jersey number in the 40's missing from the roster was #44. And who is the most famous #44, you ask? Why, it is President Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States.
To quote Hammer, "Hmmmmmm."