Monday, July 12, 2021


New York magazine's Sarah Jones thinks the GOP's vaccine extremism is Donald Trump's fault.
The COVID-19 vaccines are saving lives, but watch Newsmax, and you’d never be able to tell. “I’m not a doctor,” host Rob Schmitt recently warned, before adding, “I feel like a vaccination in a weird way is just generally kind of going against nature.” Perhaps “there’s just an ebb and flow to life where something’s supposed to wipe out a certain amount of people, and that’s just kind of the way evolution goes. Vaccines kind of stand in the way of that.”

... COVID ... has become an intensely partisan affair, with the pandemic doubling as a referendum on the Trump presidency. On the right, listening to Joe Biden and Anthony Fauci on vaccines means rejecting Donald Trump, which is heresy.

... The GOP wants to own the libs to death — who dies doesn’t matter. The priority is fealty to Trump above all.
I don't give Donald Trump credit for much, but this isn't really his fault. In the Republican war on vaccines, as in previous wars, Trump is a noncombatant.

Here's the only reference to vaccines in the speech Trump gave yesterday at CPAC:
When the plague came in from China, I dragged the slow and complacent bureaucrats from the FDA, and the CDC into the Oval Office. I pushed them like they have never been pushed before, and thanks to the relentless efforts of my administration and me, we got miraculous therapeutics straight to patients with historic speed, and we produced three vaccines to end the pandemic in record time. Would have never happened. Would have never happened. We did it in less than nine months. They said a minimum of three years, probably five years, and sir, it probably won’t happen at all. If we didn’t have that, we would be in a position like perhaps over a 100 years ago, right? 1917. Over 100 people, I hear different number. But perhaps as many as 100 million people died.
Most of this is utter nonsense, of course -- but note that Trump talks about the vaccines as if they're a personal triumph. His mostly unvaxxed supporters inexplicably accept that.

In his rally speech in Ohio on June 27, there was a similar riff, as well as this:
The first vaccine was known to be effective before the election.

Remember when they wouldn’t report that the vaccine was effective before the election? Right after the election, oh, the big vaccine story, it was the greatest thing ever. But before, they wouldn’t report it, they wouldn’t report it.
Maybe his fans accept it because he never talks about the vaccines as if they're vaccines. It's all about Trump being the fastest, Trump performing miracles, Trump staving off a cataclysm (even though the fans have never believed that the pandemic is a cataclysm and worry much more about the vaccines) ... and, of course, Trump getting shafted by the Deep State, which delayed approval of his glorious vaccines just so he'd lose the election.

But in any case, he's not part of this particular pile-on. Anti-vaxx Republicanism is post-Trump nihilism. It's the party trying to rouse the rabble to Trumpians heights of rage without Trump's help or unique talent for grievance-wallowing.

In an alternate universe, President Jeb Bush was much more supportive of anti-COVID public health measures starting in early 2020, and he got reelected handily ... and now the small pockets of resistance to the vaccines are the subject of saturation coverage on Fox News, all of it blamed on liberalism and the "left-wing culture of death"; it's identified with edgy upper-middle-class elitists, and also with poor people (who are said on Fox to be exclusively non-white). In this alternate universe, Republicans are talking about withholding public assistance to the unvaccinated, or maybe even the right to vote. Only the level of Republican self-righteousness is unchanged.

No comments: