My PC was treated to one of those automatic updates first thing this morning, and I spent the rest of the morning and a chunk of the afternoon trying to make it work again. It’s back to normal now, and I need a nap.
Dr. Rick Bright testified to the House Health subcommittee today. Bright used to be head of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. He says he was demoted because he criticized the administration’s “response” to the pandemic. Among other things he pointed out that the administration has no plan, as I said yesterday. Trump doesn’t do plans.
Here’s another analysis by Mona Charen that’s worth reading — All He Does Is Fight. Charen writes that Republicans decided to support Trump because he was such a dogged fighter. But it turns out that fight is all he does.
Since January, we have witnessed a vivid lesson in the limits of fighting. There were ample reasons before now to recoil from Trump’s style of combat. It is so consistently cruel, witless, below-the-belt, and unhinged (e.g. his recent tweets implying that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough is guilty of murder), that it tainted by association any reasonable arguments that might be advanced for conservative ideas. But in his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve witnessed that even when a dire emergency calls for traits other than bellicosity, fighting is all he knows how to do. This is proving to be a catastrophe for the nation, and also for Trump’s own self-interest.
He honestly doesn’t know how to address a problem to solve it. All he does is react in self-defense.
While the situation cried out for competent coordination and planning, for calm briefings with experts, he looked only for foils. He fought with Democrats, exclaiming on February 28 that “this is their new hoax.” He tangled with insufficiently “grateful” governors who asked for supplies. “I say . . . don’t call the governor of Washington. Don’t call the woman from Michigan.” He disparaged frontline medical professionals, wondering on March 29 whether they were stealing masks (“Are they going out the back door?”). He had a spat with congressional leadership in late February when they proposed an initial coronavirus package more than three times the size of Trump’s request (“Pelosi’s incompetent.” He’s “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer”). He reversed his previous gushing praise and began to blame China for the virus, encouraging the use of nicknames like “Wuhan virus.” He picked a fight with the Postal Service, poured out tweetstorms about his predecessor, whom he accused of dark crimes, and above all, from before dawn till after dark every single day, he battled the press.
In other news — Michigan closed down its capitol building today and canceled a legislative session rather than risk a confrontation with more armed protesters. Seriously, this has got to stop. It’s nothing but terrorism.
At The Atlantic Adam Serwer has a historical retrospective on birtherism that’s fascinating and relevant.
See also Jonathan Last and The Curious Case of the People Who Want to “Reopen” America—But Not Wear Masks. The people opposed to pandemic restrictions harbor a collection of wildly contradictory conspiracy theories.
You might think that these disparate factions would be at war with one another as much as they are against Anthony Fauci. After all, if the coronavirus is a bioweapon that has been unleashed on America by the ChiComs, then some batty old lady claiming that it’s the inevitable consequence of giving kids MMR shots is part of the coverup.
And, conversely, if you’re an anti-vaxxer, then the bioweapon story is also part of a coverup: Anyone who believes it is trying to alibi Big Pharma just as surely as Fauci is.
Yet in vivo, these groups all seem to be holding hands.
Which suggests that not one of these people actually believes what they’re selling.
The one thing they all have in common is that they don’t blame Donald Trump for the mess we’re in. That probably tells you all you need to know.