Friday, October 16, 2020


We know that President Hillary Clinton would have handled the coronavirus pandemic much better than President Trump, although she would have struggled with Republican accusations that she was a mass murderer because of a death toll many times smaller than the one we've had under Trump.

But I believe that even another Republican would have done a better job than Trump. Here's Chris Christie, just out of the hospital:
Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor who was recently battling a coronavirus infection, said on Thursday that he was “wrong” not to wear a mask at an event honoring Judge Amy Coney Barrett and in his debate preparation sessions with President Trump, and that people should take the threat of the virus seriously.
Christie, who says he didn't wear a mask at the White House because he thought it was a safe zone where everyone was frequently tested, issued a statement that seems like a perspective on what a less neurotic Republican than Trump would have said and done in the pandemic.
“I hope that my experience shows my fellow citizens that you should follow C.D.C. guidelines in public no matter where you are and wear a mask to protect yourself and others,” he said.

... Mr. Christie said that the virus is “something to take very seriously. The ramifications are wildly random and potentially deadly.”
However, Christie combines this with demands for reopening, even now, as case number are rising again and hospital ICUs are filling up:
... as a former public official, I believe we have not treated Americans as adults, who understand truth, sacrifice and responsibility that I know them to be. I have also concluded that like much else in 2020, that the virus is governed by our two dominant political and media extremes: those who believe there is nothing to this virus and those alarmists who would continue to close down our country and not trust the common sense of the American people. Both are wrong. This is not an either/or proposition. The public health consequences of ignoring the virus and the responsible safeguards that we need to take will be additional illness and death caused by COVID-19. The public policy consequences of continuing to shut down or re-shut down our country will be further economic devastation to families, even more loss of education by our students and the continuing loss of life through the drug abuse, suicide and depression caused by taking away people’s ability to support their families. There is another way.

Every public official, regardless of party or position, should advocate for every American to wear a mask in public, appropriately socially distance and to wash your hands frequently every day. At the same time, we should be reopening in every corner of this nation under these guidelines. Reopen all those places which have taken the brunt of these shutdowns and allow our country to get back to a life where citizens can support their families using common sense. Even during a contentious election year, we must trust the American people with the truth. I believe that these two steps can bring our country together while our pharmaceutical companies invent the therapeutics and vaccines which will rid us of this virus.
Of course, Christie was infected because he's a friend and ally to a man who regularly tells "those who believe there is nothing to this virus" that they're absolutlely right, a man who, even after his own infection and near-death experience, expresses contempt for masks and the people who wear them.

But this is what we would have been told in a different Republican presidency: Mask up and get back to work. Fewer people would have died if "Follow CDC guidelines" had been the message from the start, but we would have reopened sooner and more recklessly than we should have.

We are where we are not because having "extremists on both sides" is the natural course of events, but because Trump made anti-science extremism the official approach of the U.S. government, while encouraging citizens to scoff at science. It wouldn't have been as bad under another Republican. Rejection of masks and social distancing wouldn't have been the right-wing line in the sand. But we would have rushed to normalize, just as right-wing plutocrats want us to do. Christie's statement sounds like the presidential address we would have heard. Too many people would have died as a result -- but not as many as are dying now.

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