“60 days” is not a thing, but the problem with Tim Smith’s Usually Right column on March 25th (“Biden’s first 60 days: Not so hot”) is not so much that it cuts short the traditional 100-day period the press typically gives new administrations to get up and running, but that it “floods the zone”—as Steve Bannon famously advocated—with misrepresentations and flat-out false assertions. Space prohibits a point-by-point reply but a response is called for.
Usually Right: Cuomo
I wrote last spring that people were putting him on a pedestal wrongly.
To whatever extent Governor Cuomo was put on a pedestal it was because his press conferences were a marked contrast to those run by Donald Trump in which viewers cringed at the quack cures floated by the former president and the FDA commissioner who, on the eve of the Republican National Convention, exaggerated the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine.
Party leaders and rank and file Democrats have all called for remedies up to and including impeachment for Cuomos’s handling of coronavirus data and in response to charges women have lodged against him for verbal and sexual misbehavior.
In contrast, after the release of the “Access Hollywood” tapes in 2016, Republicans continued to support Trump. Accusations by 26 women against him for sexual misbehavior—up to and including rape—have not dislodged him from his front runner position in the 2024 race.
Biden is putting kids in cages at the southern border; and in far greater numbers…Illegal immigration was far less a problem on January 19th than it is two months later…the Republican ideas were in fact working.
Not true. “Kids in cages” is shorthand for the Republican child separation policy. The El Paso program in mid-2017 separated children from parents without a system in place for reunification. The “zero tolerance” policy (May 2018) scattered children of undocumented asylum seekers to the four winds of 100 Office of Refugee Resettlement shelters.
According to the Pew Research Center the “number of migrant apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border rose in fiscal 2019 to its highest annual level in 12 years.” That was two years (not two months) into the Trump administration.
The Republican thinking on that surge? Close the border; shoot migrants in the legs; build a moat and fill it with alligators and snakes. Their marquee policy idea—the 15 billion-dollar wall the Mexicans did not pay 300 billion pesos for—did not do the trick.
The coronavirus response.
In the very good news department, COVID deaths have dropped about 70 percent in the U.S. since we started vaccinations.
Who is “we?”
Trump lied about the seriousness of the disease and mocked the use of masks. His coronavirus response coordinator said that “most coronavirus deaths in the United States could have been prevented if the Trump administration had acted earlier and more decisively.”
There was no national Republican plan for vaccine distribution. It was left to the states to compete for resources.
There was no Republican support for the American Rescue Plan which provides billions for the development, distribution and monitoring of vaccines and therapeutics.
“Covid relief” should mean helping individuals and businesses who have lost jobs and profits due to the pandemic— and in particular government-ordered shutdowns.
What the columnist and many Republicans seem not to understand–even now– is that government-ordered shutdowns and mask wearing are among the solutions to the problem that at this writing has caused over 570,000 American deaths https://connect-the-dots-101.blog/coronavirus-deaths-in-the-united-states/.
The bill provides relief to state and local government entities. Why should the feds do this? Why not let them borrow on their own, as the federal government is doing?
Because pandemic means “occurring over a wide geographic area and typically affecting a significant proportion of the population?”
Because many state and local government entities have to balance their budgets and shouldn’t have to choose between disease prevention and mitigation, say, and fire and police protection?
Because “promoting the general Welfare” has been a foundational notion of our constitutional system since at least 1788?
“Believe none of what you hear and none of what you see either” is the foundation of the Republican approach to journalism, history and politics, but real problems exist in America that require the combined talents of all Americans to solve:
The coronavirus is not going away by itself.
There is a decades-long problem with immigration on the southern border that needs to be brought under control.
The consent of the governed is more than rhetoric— elections need to be free and fair; the results need to be acknowledged. Political violence in America cannot become the norm.
Tim Smith is right about one thing — a “robust, free and fair press” has an essential role to play in the process.