Coronavirus Is a “Partisan Pandemic”

Coronavirus Is a “Partisan Pandemic” April 5, 2020

I have subjected myself to listening to each and every press briefing from the White House in their entirety over the last few weeks. It is definitely a source of pain. You don’t need me to repeat myself again in exasperation that people could vote for the utter twit that is POTUS. Yes, saying this will entrench his supporters even further into their support undergirded by their cognitive dissonance. Last night’s was a rambling mess; it was embarrassing. From crying and whingeing at the nasty press for, you know, holding him to account, to giving a public prescription for an untested drug, to banging on again about how wonderful he was for banning travel to and from China (itself a mistruth); from waffling on about the impeachment and calling Adam Schiff a “corrupt politician” during a hopefully non-partisan health briefing at a time when you would want national unity to lauding his popularity on Facebook. There were bizarre moments like his euphemistic amazement that there are as many as at least 151 countries in the world (do some geography but try not to Wiki quickly, because last time you got a population confused with a city’s elevation…) – it all made me want to cry. Then he talked about advisory “regulations” on mask-wearing, where he presumably endorses the advice enough to refuse to do it…:

“If people want to abide by them, frankly, I don’t think they’ll be mandatory because some people don’t want to do that.”

Oh, so government advice is just sort of laissez-faire. If you just don’t happen to want to do it, you don’t have to. Right.

“If people wanted to wear them, they can. [He goes on to endorse wearing scarves] But I’llk say this, they can pretty much decide for themselves.”

As he has said:

“I don’t know, somehow sitting in the Oval Office behind that beautiful Resolute Desk, the great Resolute Desk, I think that wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens — I don’t know, somehow I don’t see it for myself, I just don’t. Maybe I’ll change my mind.”

Either it’s good advice for everybody, or:

  1. he is an exception
  2. he won’t take good advice because he is openly admitting moral failure
  3. it’s not good advice and he’s implicitly lying

Take your pick.

As a side note, my partner is effectively apolitical (although this has marginally changed due to osmosis over time), but she has taken to tuning in to CNN every night to watch Trump; she is weirdly obsessed with him, but not in a good way. Instead, she is compulsively viewing him as some sort of political freak show. She can’t believe his language, content and lack of presidential quality and acumen. That’s about as objective a dismissal of him as you could hope for in my life!

Historian Jon Meacham was spot on when he said to MSNBC:

“We’re in the midst – I remember thinking at the beginning of this, I hope I don’t have to say this but in fact I do – we have a partisan pandemic. It depends on where you live and what channels you watch whether you trust certain facts and data. To a large extent, and this sounds overly grand, I know but I think it has the virtue of being true (as Henry Kissinger used to say), the Enlightenment’s on trial here. Facts and data that shape human decisions because they are objectively true… that is something that is now very much under assault. And I think it absolutely begins at the top.

“The other thing I hoped at the beginning of this is that does not become a perpetual referendum or commentary on this particular president; but, see the previous point, it’s simply a fact that he is not communicating coherently and universally truthfully about what we face.

“It’s very curious: he’s become this anti-federalist figure from the 18th Century, right? Suddenly, States’ rights. He loves the idea that somehow or another the border between the border between my state and Kentucky and Mississippi and Georgia and Alabama, somehow or another the virus is gonna see a border and say, ‘Oh wait, that’s a Republican governor; I’m not going there.’ It doesn’t work that way. And so I think that people are hungry for direction, I think they’re hungry for coherent information. You can find it: thank God for the 1st Amendment…. But in a crisis like this, you shouldn’t have to freelance health information, right? You shouldn’t outsource that to the citizens…. Anything anyone can do to give a stream of fact amid the perpetual reminders about what he did about China I think will serve the national interest the best.”

This nails it. This comment is on the money.


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