Friday, March 05, 2021


Pure joy.

Here's the end of yet another week of dumbassery, what with Republicans going to great lengths to sabotage the COVID bill and trying to play off the Capitol attack as harmless patriotic hijinx, and especially with the "cancel culture" guff they're using to make themselves look like victims. (Speaking of that, have some free Roy Edroso Breaks It Down issues on the subject -- one about a boys' adventure series done in by the woke mob, another revealing the talking points for rightwing news outlets covering such stories.)

Even dumber than the Mr. Potato Head and Dr. Seuss bullshit, for my money, was the scandalette these guys tried to cook up about Biden calling the latest anti-masking crazes -- like Greg Abbott's transparent attempt to distract from his Texas power disaster -- "Neanderthal thinking." Wingnuts raised such a stink about it Biden had to send Jen Psaki out to explain it as if the complaint had been made in good faith rather than as howlingly obvious victimization shtick:

Asked whether it was productive to compare governors to Neanderthals while trying to convince state officials to get on board with the White House public health message, Psaki clarified the president was likening the decision to Neanderthal "behavior." 

"The behavior of a Neanderthal, just to be very clear, the behavior of," she said, adding that it was a "reflection of his frustration and exasperation" over some people flouting COVID-19 guidance to help curb the spread of the virus. 

"Whether is was productive to compare governors to Neanderthals" -- get the fuck out of here, less than two months ago your shock-troops were trying to murder Democratic office-holders in the Capitol;  "Neanderthal" is about the most polite thing one could call your cynical and potentially lethal stunts. Yet, at Forbes

Then candidate Joe Biden ran on a campaign to bring back civility to politics, and in his inauguration speech called for unity and an end to our nation's "uncivil war." Yet, President Biden's tone and more importantly the words he used on Wednesday were in stark contrast.

Author Peter Suciu then reproduces a series of incredibly stupid rightwing reactors, some of whom even attempt to make "Neanderthal" the new "deplorable," an insult in which they take pride, as if it were the name of their prison gang. If only Biden had called them douchebags! 

The worst of the lot is Noah Rothman at Commentary. He starts out with standard-issue So Much For The Tolerant Left ordnance ("But the president was never the 'good cop' he pretended to be"). Then he tries to defend Abbott's mask-free decree:

It would have been foolish if, for example, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told his constituents that “everything’s fine” and Texans should “take off your mask” and “forget” about the pandemic. But that wasn’t what he said, nor is that likely to be the outcome of his state’s policies.

What Abbott announced was that “all businesses of any type are allowed to open 100 percent.” The executive orders put in place during the pandemic, including masking requirements, would be rescinded because “people and businesses don’t need the state telling them how to operate.” It would have been a premature declaration of victory over the pandemic if Abbott had stopped there. But he didn’t.

Abbott also urged Texans to exercise “personal vigilance.” “Removing statewide mandates does not end personal responsibility,” the governor added. While his orders will foreclose on criminal penalties for people who do not wear masks, businesses can still impose masking requirements on their patrons and deny them service if they do not comply...

I am confident of two things: First, that thanks to COVID-19, most normal people understand (as polls show that they do) that government has to take a major role in combating epidemics; and second, that as soon as the curse is seen to have lifted, conservatives will get busy trying to portray government's role as a total disaster and saying that everything would have been hunky dory in March 2020 if only the Free Market and Trump had been allowed to kill even more people so that the survivors could have instant herd immunity  -- you know, the same way they talk about the New Deal.

In fact the latter half of Rothman's column is devoted to groundwork for such an effort: He cites people who think Abbott's making a big mistake, and shrugs "They might be right, and it would be terrible if they were. But..."

...the way is littered with predictions about how this virus would operate that mercifully failed to materialize. The innumerable “super spreader events” that weren’t and unfounded fears that states without masking mandates, like Florida, would be overrun with pestilence should lead Texas’ critics to be more cautious. Likewise, the suboptimal performance of states with onerous restrictions on individuals and enterprise alike, including New York and California, have led even the most zealous COVID hawks to throw up their hands in confusion. Uncertainty is the lesson here.

How can we really know anything? Like this mask thing -- sure, flu infections are massively down year-over-year, but can you prove it was masks, libs? Maybe Jesus has something to do with it! 

But there is certainty about one thing: Lifting restrictions now undermines what seems to be the Biden administration’s central objective, which is to assume credit for the pandemic’s decline. 

A lifelong public servant actually getting vaccines into people's arms vs. a thuggish grifter getting his own shot and them making a bunch of everyone else's disappear mysteriously -- sure, let's go with door #2. God, if only our education system taught even a little critical thinking. 

No comments:

Post a Comment