Friday, July 30, 2021


I briefly mentioned Matt Taibbi's New York Post op-ed in my previous post, but I didn't really convey what a vile piece of work it is. The headline is:
From ‘Yes we can’ to ‘No, you moron’: Dems have selves to blame for vaccine hesitancy
The piece begins with a passage from Joseph Heller's Catch-22 that I assume was underlined in a dog-eared paperback by a weeded-out Matt Taibbi at age fifteen:
“Then there was the educated Texan from Texas who looked like someone in Technicolor and felt, patriotically, that people of means — decent folk — should be given more votes than drifters, whores, criminals, degenerates, atheists and indecent folk — people without means.”

— Joseph Heller, “Catch-22”
The problem with using this quote to bash Democrats is that the Texan doesn't sound like a Democrat at all. He sounds like this guy:

Taibbi goes on to cite a Sunday talk show panel discussion:
On “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” this past Sunday, a bafflegab of Washington pooh-bahs, including Chris Christie, Rahm Emanuel, Margaret Hoover and Donna Brazile ... discussed vaccine holdouts.
This got up Taibbi's nose because the panelists support vaccine mandates. To Taibbi, this is Democrats' fault because ... (checks notes) ... two Republican panelists and two GOP-friendly Democratic panelists agree on this course of action.

So who's the next Democrat at fault, according to Taibbi?
This bipartisan love-in took place a few days after David Frum, famed Bush speechwriter and creator of the “Axis of Evil” slogan, wrote a column in The Atlantic titled “Vaccinated America Has Had Enough.”
Frum is ... um, also not a Democrat. So you can see why the Democrats are at fault here.

What is Democrats' crime exactly? Let Taibbi explain.
I’m vaccinated. I think people should be vaccinated. But this latest moral mania — and make no mistake about it, the “pandemic of the unvaccinated” p.r. campaign is the latest in a ceaseless series of such manias, dating back to late 2016 — lays bare everything that’s abhorrent and nonsensical in modern American politics, beginning with the no-longer-disguised aristocratic mien of the Washington consensus.

If you want to convince people to get a vaccine, pretty much the worst way to go about it is a massive blame campaign, delivered by sneering bluenoses who have a richly deserved credibility problem with large chunks of the population, and now insist they’re owed financially besides.
Really? I would argue that the worst way to go about it is to ask them politely, which is what the Biden administration and the public health establishment has been doing all year, with no success. Open exasperation only kicked in recently, and not on Biden's part -- he's praising Donald Trump, for crissakes. (Then again, he did that in December and none of the refuseniks cared.)

Now, please pay attention when Taibbi talks about folks "who have a richly deserved credibility problem with large chunks of the population" -- this is his clever way of trying to link his Murdoch-friendly present-day material to his former work attacking genuine elitists. Taibbi still says he hates the financial elites -- but now he equates them with economically comfortable suburbanites, who, in his view, are indistinguishable from genuine plutocrats making a hundred or a thousand times what they make:
There’s always been a contingent in American society that believes people who pay more taxes should get more say, or “more votes,” as Joseph Heller’s hilarious Texan put it.

It’s a conceit that cuts across parties. You hear it from the bank CEO who thinks America should thank him for the pleasure of kissing his ass with a bailout, but just as quickly from the suburban wine mom who can’t believe the ingratitude of the nanny who asks for a day off. Doesn’t she know who’s paying the bills?
Bank CEOs invariably believe they're entitled to more than the rest of us. Does every "suburban wine mom"? Group slander much, Matt?

You might question whether all bank CEOs ands suburban wine moms are Democrats. Rest assured that, according to Taibbi, the GOP used to be an epicenter of this kind of evil, but the party is now in the hands of honest yeoman farmers and sweat-soaked laborers thanks to the heroic efforts of the man Taibbi once called our Insane Clown President:
After 2008, the “We’re pulling the oars, so we should steer the boat” argument dominated the GOP....

Then Trump came along, and the media and political landscapes were reordered. Now there was no philosophical or political split among America’s wealthiest and most educated people. Both strains of snobbism — one looking down on the unschooled, the other looking down on an economically parasitic underclass — fused, putting wealthy America’s pretensions under the same tent for the first time
In other words, according to Taibbi, all the snobbery in America is now Democratic.
The Brookings Institute noted that Hillary Clinton won 472 counties in 2016, which accounted for 64 percent of the country’s GDP. Trump, meanwhile, won 2,584 counties, many in flyover territory, which collectively produced 36 percent of national wealth.

By 2018, it was also true that 41 of the 50 wealthiest congressional districts voted Democratic, with states like California, Virginia, New York, Maryland and New Jersey dominating.
What Taibbi is saying here is that the Democratic Party hates the "parasitic underclass" -- which you can tell from the fact that the Democratic Party gave the have-nots COVID relief checks and a child tax credit and expanded healthcare eligibility. Democrats are also working on two big infrastructure bills, which will create jobs for blue-collar workers.

That's how snobby they are. Why can't they do what true lovers of the hoi polloi would do, like give massive tax cuts to the rich?

But we were talking about vaccines -- and it's odd, because even though Taibbi argues that the elites (who are all Democrats now) "have a richly deserved credibility problem with large chunks of the population," somehow Democrats didn't have a credibility problem when they were expressing wariness about the possibility that President Trump would approve a vaccine prematurely prior to the 2020 election. In fact, the hoi polloi, or at least some of them, clung to these evil Democratic elitists' every word, and internalized a level of skepticism about the vaccines that exceeded even the Democrats' own:
... the messaging from the Biden-Harris campaign last year ... set a precedent of urging the public to distrust the vaccine....

It’s bad enough they went this route last year, which almost certainly resulted in some of the early reported “hesitancy” among communities of color....
But Taibbi told us that non-elitists disdain everything Biden and Harris say! Or is that just white non-elitists? (Elsewhere in the piece, Taibbi describes the notion that Trumpism is about white racial resentment as "propaganda." It's all about class, he insists. So who are these non-white non-elitists who became vaccine-hesitant because they listened to Biden and Harris express anxiety about a premature approval of vaccines?)

To Taibbi, everything is Democrats' fault, and it's Democrats' fault because they embody all the elitism in America. The Trumps? The Kochs? The Mercers? The Murdochs? Nothing elite there.

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