"And I listened because I hadn't found my own voice yet. So all I could hear was the noise that people make when they don't know shit. But I didn't know that yet."
Fiona Apple - "Fetch the Bolt Cutters"
Over the weekend pirate wannabe and Texas Congressman Dan Crenshaw went toe to toe with everyone's favorite saucy centrist Bill Maher and the results were surprisingly bland. Maher seemed unprepared for Crenshaw's weak sauce Repug talking points, and the Right exploded with calls for Crenshaw to be the nation's next president because he managed to lie in a calm voice instead of shouting at reporters like Trump.
If you must, you can watch the clip here.
The whole thing was just dumb. Sure, Maher looked really silly (and bizarrely restrained for such a quick, arrogant wit), but that doesn’t mean Crenshaw was right, or even coherent. He just calmly & clearly stated a bunch of bulls**t totally divorced from reality, and for some reason Maher wasn’t prepared for a Trump bootlicker to spout the standard talking points.
For instance, the response to the China travel ban talking point is easy: There was already community spread in Washington at the time Trump put it in place. It was too little, too late, and everyone knew that. I, a random Georgian knew it, and certainly his health officials knew it. It was toothless and transparently provocative, given that Italy, Iran, South Korea, and Taiwan were entering pandemic as well.
The Left did criticize Trump for the move, but the criticism was two-fold:
The focus on China instead of other pandemic countries as well showed it was a political stunt (a hunch reinforced later when he inexplicably excluded countries with Trump properties during the EU travel ban);
It was already too little, too late. Community spread had come to Washington, and there were nascent outbreaks in New York, Miami, and California as well.
It's a blatant misrepresentation for Crenshaw to say the Left criticized the China ban but ignore the context of those arguments. The Left was criticizing an obvious political stunt because it was going to hurt people and was ineffective and stupid. As for the completely useless $2.5b package the Dems “held up,” Crenshaw again excludes the context (there’s a pattern emerging, huh?): why on earth would the Dems feel ok green-lighting a $2.5b giveaway to a corrupt president they had just impeached a few weeks before for corruption? Never mind the fact that it was hastily put together by the Repugs, who, if you recall, had just acquitted an obviously corrupt president for purely political reasons. Oh, and it was already obviously not enough money, and Moscow Mitch then held up the bill for a long weekend before passing. Crenshaw also conveniently left out that part too. Another useless point Crenshaw makes is comparing the US to Italy and Spain (who also botched their responses), which is useless and inaccurate. Our first case was concurrent with South Korea and Taiwan, and compared to their responses we failed miserably. By constantly comparing the US to Italy, the Right is essentially pointing to the the C- students in class and acting like Trump did the best out of the class idiots. That's a funny argument for "patriots" to be making. And finally, any response to defenders of Trump's terrible performance that doesn’t start with the absolutely horrible testing situation (still ongoing, BTW) and the complete lack of leadership is dead in the water. Even if you cede the Right’s nonsensical arguments (about the travel ban, his non-response in February, etc.) it still doesn’t even scratch the surface of the biggest failure of all: Trump refused WHO tests for no damn reason and then totally fudged the ramp up of US-made tests. This is the failure that contributed more than anything else to the loss of life and the economy-destroying panic response of March and April, and the Travel ban does nothing to wipe away the muddled and combative response since then.
Remember when the CEO’s of every major retailer and lab in the country got on stage and promised us rapid testing in parking lots and a website by Google within a week? That was 6 weeks ago. Still no testing sites or website. Remember when we were promised 1,000,000 additional tests back in mid-March, and then 5,000,000 more a week after that? Yeah...umm we didn’t get to a 1m tests until the beginning of April, and we’re still not at 5m. Remember when Trump invoked the Defense Production Act, and then only used it as political leverage over companies he didn’t like? Two months later we still have nurses and doctors without enough PPE. Remember when Trump regularly hyped an unproven drug made by a company he owns shares of, and which the unauthorized use of led to at least 1 verifiable death? Remember when he withheld critical supplies from Blue State Governors because he believes the National stockpile is for "his" use, and then changed the definition on the website the next day to conform to his description?
Remember when Trump changed the timing of his pandemic rallies so that the stock market wouldn’t be able to react to him in real time? Remember when 40,000 Americans died alone and drowning in mucus and their loved ones watched helplessly from FaceTime while the president spent more time publicly shouting at reporters who tried to get straight answers out of him than listening to his own public health experts? Remember that Trump has talked more about the health of the economy and stock market than he has mourning the loss of 40,000 lives? Remember that he said he takes no responsibility? And that he said his power was total? The truth is very simple: Trump botched, and continues to botch, the response to COVID, and thousands of Americans are dead because of it. Congress were also caught flat-footed, and there is plenty of blame to send the Dems’ way. Maher should’ve conceded that Pelosi and the House weren’t on their A-game either. They were playing politics in early February instead of being a stone cold counterweight to Trump's flippancy. But there is literally nothing Pelosi or the House can do that ultimately doesn’t require co-signing by the Senate and Trump. That is a fact, which means the Repugs own all of it. Every policy, every action, every statement are because Trump and the Repugs wanted it that way. There is no dodge for their responsibility for this. They held (and still hold) all the cards and dealt the hand the way they saw fit. No other group had the power to act unilaterally. Only Trump and the Republicans. This is a fact. So anyone trying to blame the Left or Obama or the Chinese for the terrible US response is essentially admitting defeat up front. The math is clear:
The response was botched;
Trump and the Repugs were the only ones with the unilateral power to stop it;
Trump botched the response. (QED)
Trump and the Republicans own this epidemic. It’s theirs and it will always be. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Trump is responsible for the deaths at least 40k Americans. That is the truth.