Friday, July 17, 2020


This showed up in my Twitter feed this morning, posted by the Trump campaign:

Here's an excerpt from the linked post by Ben Domenech, which appeared on Tuesday:
Imagine for a moment a similar situation to the school reopening debate on Earth One, where President Hillary Clinton was trying to get America reopened fending off an essentially AWOL Republican challenger, without the aid and direction of the pro-Democrat media. Teachers unions would be clamoring to get back to work. Our leading academics and young, adorable students would cut ads pleading for Republican governors to reopen schools. The media narrative would be obvious as they berated one elected Republican after another for their lack of leadership, intransigence, and anti-science reluctance in bringing schools back on line.

The script is obvious: “Why are you Republicans so anti-science? Kids need to learn! The data are clear as day: development is stalling, kids are falling behind every day, not to mention covering up for at-home child abuse. Without the school lunch program, kids will starve. Schools are the BEST place for kids to be, for their health, their education, and to ensure their parents’ ability to work! Haven’t you seen the Europeans? Once again they’re more pro-science than we are, and their schools are open! It’s the height of white privilege to think that middle and working class minorities can keep their jobs without schools being open – what, you think they can hire tutors? We all know minority kids don’t get on Zoom classes as much as the white kids, and their internet is slower because of racism. If you’re a dumb fearful redneck who thinks your kid is going to get the ‘Chinese virus’, go ahead and keep your stupid kid at home! While you are letting your kids’ brains melt because you’re so anti-science, mine will be racing ahead of them in STEM!”
Domenech's argument is that if the parties were reversed and America were heading into the school year with a rampaging coronavirus and no clear plans for keeping children, teachers, and staff safe in schools, Democrats would take the position exactly opposite to the one we're taking now. In other words, he's saying that our opposition to poorly planned and extremely dangerous school reopenings is strictly political.

And here's where he gives the game away: In this scenario, he's imagining that Republicans would be against reopening. Really, Ben? But you and your ideological allies have been telling us that returning kids to the classroom is strictly a matter of principle. Here you let the mask slip. You're admitting that if we wanted reopening, you'd want the opposite. You're the ones who advocate whatever your political opponents don't want.

In reality, President Hillary Clinton would have pounced on reports of an incipient pandemic very early, and would have tried to follow the advice of epidemiologists and other experts in order to reduce the spread of the virus and mitigate the consequences.

In this she would have been fought every step of the way by Republicans. She'd have been fought on lockdowns, fought on economic relief (lots of deficit scolding), and fought on testing and tracing, which would be described as a horrifying tool of Orwellian surveillance.

And she'd have been held personally and solely responsible for the spread of the virus by now, with congressional hearings already under way, and treason talk in the air (for allowing a foreign "enemy" onto our shores). Republicans and right-wing media figures would regularly talk about "the Clintonavirus" and "Clintovid-19."

The liberal perspective on the coronavirus has been consistent since the nature of the threat became clear: This is serious. Drastic measures are necessary to contain the spread. The goal of those measures is to significantly reduce transmission while testing capacity is ramped up and effective contact-tracing programs are developed. We approve of reopening many businesses and, eventually, schools, but only if infections are reduced to low levels and we have the ability to zero in on outbreaks and contain them.

In response to the pandemic, we're not playing political games. Ben Domenech is admitting that Republicans are.

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