Saturday, October 02, 2004

The Hammer

A few days ago, my son and I were on the way home from a restuarant, when we heard a piece on NPR.  They were talking about the new book about Tom DeLay, named The Hammer.  I laughed when I heard the name of the book.  My son showed a quizzical look, since it was not obvious what I was laughing about. 

The reason I was laughing, is that I had assumed the authors (Lou Dubose, Jan Ried) had chosen the name facetiously.  After all, up until then, I had known of only one politician with that nickname.

Вячесла́в Миха́йлович Скря́бин was born in 1890 in Kukarka, Russia.  He changed his name in order to avoid prosecution.  The name he chose was Мо́лотов, which is Russian for "Hammer."  This is transliterated as "Molotov." 

Molotov was a prominent and powerful force in Soviet politics.  In fact, he spent some time as the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars, a position somewhat similar to the modern-day majority whip in the House of Representatives.   Despite this early fame, Molotov ended his career after having been marginalized by his own party.  At the end of his career, he was appointed Ambassodor to Outer Mongolia; this was a position only slightly preferable to complete exile. 

Tom DeLay has some signicant problems with ethical violations, possibly faces prosecution, and may very well end his political career having been marginalized by his own party.  So I thought the authors were being pretty clever with the name of their book.  I did not know, until now, that Mr. DeLay really does have the nickname, The Hammer.