Wednesday, August 04, 2021


CNN's Kevin Liptak and Jeremy Diamond detect a new tone from President Biden.
When Republican governors began prematurely lifting coronavirus restrictions in their states earlier this spring, President Joe Biden and his team largely kept their heads down, ramping up vaccine distribution while steering clear of rhetorical battles with political adversaries.

But this week, as the Delta variant and low vaccination rates in several southern states sent cases soaring, Biden took a new approach: Castigating Republican governors who are standing in the way of mask and vaccine requirements -- and calling out the governors of Texas and Florida in particular for enacting "bad health policy."
The Washington Post's Greg Sargent also noticed the change.
President Biden has now forcefully rebuked a handful of GOP governors who are actively hampering our national covid-19 response. This was a long time in coming, and it should prompt a deeper shift among Democrats, toward a more aggressive effort to hold Republicans publicly accountable for such malevolent, depraved displays of hostility toward the public good....

To contextualize this, recall that early on, Biden’s brain trust concluded that criticizing GOP governors over covid risked further polarizing masks and vaccines, potentially driving GOP voters away from them.

...a top Biden adviser told me in December that Bidenworld saw a major opportunity to unite the country around the covid response. They could rebuild bipartisan trust in government public health expertise and restore a sense of social cooperation around battling covid, a shared national foe.

The true nature of this diagnosis, and its pitfalls, are now evident.
Not only did that fail to win over Republicans, but Biden and the Democrats disn't get any credit for trying to be uniters. It's now conventional wisdom that Democrats have been sneering and contemptuous toward vaccine refusers and mask opponents from the beginning, even though Biden wasn't contemptuous at all.

And even now, Biden won't utter the R word. Here's what he said yesterday:
... the escalation of cases is particularly concentrated in states with low vaccination rates. Just two states, Florida and Texas, account for one third of all new COVID-19 cases in the entire country. Just two states.

Look, we need leadership from everyone. And if some governors aren’t willing to do the right thing to beat this pandemic, then they should allow businesses and universities who want to do the right thing to be able to do it.

I say to these governors, “Please, help.” But if you aren’t going to help, at least get out of the way of the people who are trying to do the right thing. Use your power to save lives.
And, later, in response to a question:
Q Mr. President, do you believe that Governor DeSantis and Governor Abbott are personally making decisions that are harming their own citizens?

THE PRESIDENT: I believe the results of their decisions are not good for their constituents. And it’s clear to me and to most of the medical experts that the decisions being made, like not allowing mask mandates in school and the like, are bad health policy — bad health policy.
BUt he never said the word "Republican," except when he decalred that "this is isn’t about politics. The virus doesn’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican." He didn't even refer to DeSantis and Abbott as Republicans euphemistically -- when Biden was young, a politician might refer to "the other party." Biden didn't.

When did Democrats conclude that it's beyond the pale to mention the fact that their critics belong to a particular political party? When did they decide that it was rude and divisive to suggest that members of their own party might have better ideas than members of the other party? When Republicans back policies that the majority of Americans believe are awful, why do Democrats believe it's off-limits to say the terrible ideas are Republican?

Maybe this wasn't the time or place to do it, but most leading Democrats never do it. That's why many Democratic voters don't know who the bad guys are, beyond Donald Trump. Republicans don't have that problem. know who they hate.

No comments: