“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
On “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” this previous Sunday, a bafflegab of Washington pooh-bahs, together with Chris Christie, Rahm Emanuel, Margaret Hoover and Donna Brazile — Stephanopoulos calls the phase his “Powerhouse Roundtable,” which to my ear feels like a Denny’s breakfast sampler, however I suppose he couldn’t identify it Four Hated Windbags — mentioned vaccine holdouts.
The former George W. Bush and Giuliani aide Hoover mentioned it was time to cease taking part in good:
“If you’re going to get government-provided health care, if you’re getting VA treatment, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, anything — and Social Security obviously isn’t health care — you should be getting the vaccine. OK? Because we are going to have to take care of you on the back end.”
Brazile nodded sagely, however Emanuel all however gushed cartoon hearts.
“You know, I’m having an out-of-body experience, because I agree with you,” mentioned Obama’s former hatchet man, earlier than including, over the chyron, FRUSTRATION MOUNTS WITH UNVACCINATED AMERICANS:
“I would close the space in. Meaning if you want to participate in X or Y activity, you gotta show you’re vaccinated. So it becomes a reward-punishment type system, and you make your own calculation.”
This bipartisan love-in came about a couple of 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.” In it, Frum questioned:
“Does Biden’s America have a breaking point? Biden’s America produces 70 percent of the country’s wealth — and then sees that wealth transferred to support Trump’s America. Which is fine; that’s what citizens of one nation do for one another . . . [But] the reciprocal part of the bargain is not being upheld . . . Will Blue America ever decide it’s had enough of being put medically at risk by people and places whose bills it pays? Check yourself. Have you?”
I’m vaccinated. I feel folks must be vaccinated. But this newest ethical mania — and make no mistake about it, the “pandemic of the unvaccinated” p.r. marketing campaign is the newest in a ceaseless sequence of such manias, courting again to late 2016 — lays naked the whole lot that’s abhorrent and nonsensical in fashionable American politics, starting with the no-longer-disguised aristocratic mien of the Washington consensus.
If you need to persuade folks to get a vaccine, just about the worst method to go about it’s a huge blame marketing campaign, delivered by sneering bluenoses who have a well-merited credibility downside with massive chunks of the inhabitants, and now insist they’re owed financially besides.
There’s all the time been a contingent in American society that believes individuals who pay extra taxes ought to get extra say, or “more votes,” as Joseph Heller’s hilarious Texan put it.
It’s a conceit that cuts throughout events. You hear it from the financial institution CEO who thinks America ought to thank him for the pleasure of kissing his ass with a bailout, however simply as rapidly from the suburban wine mother who can’t imagine the ingratitude of the nanny who asks for a time without work. Doesn’t she know who’s paying the payments?
The delusion can run so deep that folks like Margaret Hoover can speak themselves into the concept that Social Security — cash taxpayers lend the federal government, not the opposite method round — is definitely a present from the check-writing class.
In the final decade or so, I had the misfortune of watching this phenomenon rise inside each events. After 2008, the “We’re pulling the oars, so we should steer the boat” argument dominated the GOP. Offshoots of Ayn Randian desirous about ubermenschen producers and their doubtful obligation to society’s plenty of parasitic looters offered speaking factors each for TARP recipients (who insisted America wanted to be invested not simply of their survival however their prosperity) and the Tea Party.
Remember Rick Santelli on CNBC, calling for a referendum on whether or not or not we must always “subsidize the losers’ mortgages” or whether or not we must always “reward the people who carry the water, instead of drink the water”?
Then Trump got here alongside, and the media and political landscapes were reordered. Now there was no philosophical or political break up amongst America’s wealthiest and most educated folks. Both strains of snobbism — one wanting down on the unschooled, the opposite wanting down on an economically parasitic underclass — fused, placing rich America’s pretensions underneath the identical tent for the primary time.
The 2016 election introduced forth this bizarre paradox. On one hand, it was abundantly clear that Trump was taking part in class politics. His schtick was aimed at “elites,” and the response to him was couched as an overtly upper-class protection of “excellence” and “expertise,” and against “populism.”
As Thomas Frank wrote in his terrific “The People, No: A Brief History of Anti-Populism,” Trump was portrayed as an ignoramus revolting towards his betters, with a New Yorker cartoon depicting a mutiny of airline passengers capturing the tone:
“Those smug pilots have lost touch with regular passengers like us,” bellows one in every of them. “Who thinks I should fly the plane?”
Propaganda goals, nevertheless, required that or not it’s denied that Trump was about something however race. Statistic after statistic was cited proving Trump was not a “working class” phenomenon, that whereas the median Trump voter earned lower than the Kasich voter, that particular person additionally earned greater than both the Clinton or Sanders voter.
Maybe that’s the case. But there have been different, extra telling numbers. The Brookings Institute famous that Hillary Clinton received 472 counties in 2016, which accounted for 64 p.c of the nation’s GDP. Trump in the meantime received 2,584 counties, many in flyover territory, which collectively produced 36 p.c of nationwide wealth.
By 2018, it was additionally true that 41 of the 50 wealthiest congressional districts voted Democratic, with states like California, Virginia, New York, Maryland, and New Jersey dominating. Furthermore, these Brookings stats turned an lively speaking level — for Democrats, who now started to stress the affluence of their voters as a sign of their moral supriority.
“I won the places that represent two-thirds of America’s gross domestic product,” Hillary Clinton crowed, on a visit to India. “So I won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward.”
Democrats for the primary time in a very long time not only outperformed Republicans in prosperous white communities, however basically owned these territories.
By 2020, the divide was better, as Frum himself famous. Joe Biden’s 509 counties accounted for 71 p.c of the nation’s wealth, whereas Trump’s 2,547 counties accounted for 29 p.c.
In sensible phrases, what this meant is that schooling and earnings, which monitor fairly intently with one another, turned main determinants in nationwide politics.
This is why it’s not stunning to see folks like Frum — an incomparable villain in liberal circles even 10 years in the past — cheerfully figuring out himself as a part of the “Blue America” that’s “had enough.”
Like Rand’s well-known Atlases, all of them need to go on strike. American politics is not an argument about supply-side economics or struggle or huge vs. small authorities. It’s about check-writers versus check-takers, the book-learned towards the dolts.
The former group, the individuals who say they’re paying the payments, have spent years now attempting to let the rabble know there’s a restrict to each their persistence and their generosity.
They’ve made it clear there are limits to how much speech freedom they’ll confer, how a lot political alternative or proper to meeting might be permitted, how a lot ignorance might be allowed to fester.
The information panorama has turn out to be Frank’s dreaded “utopia of scolding,” with each display screen filled with finger-wagging Rahms and Brian Stelters telling us how “fed up” they’re with others’ inadequacy. This method not only will fail, it already has, again and again.
Now, this new vaccine debate has been amped to 11. The common consensus of the “Powerhouse Roundtable” sorts is that it’s time to begin opening the whoop-ass cans on the vaccine-hesitant, yanking providers and civil liberties from these murderous holdouts who’re, the president tells us, “killing people.”
They do that appearing like the general public doesn’t keep in mind the messaging from the Biden-Harris marketing campaign final yr, which was talked about on the time as being irresponsible exactly as a result of it set a precedent of urging the general public to distrust the vaccine. Biden repeatedly got here out with statements like:
“When we finally do, God willing, get a vaccine, who’s going to take the shot? Who’s going to take the shot? You going to be the first one to say, ‘Put me — sign me up, they now say it’s OK?’ ”
It’s dangerous sufficient they went this route final yr, which just about actually resulted in among the early reported “hesitancy” amongst communities of coloration, however now that Biden and Harris are in workplace, aristocratic America is exerting its institutional affect to sterilize their historical past.
Politifact, which now mainly exists to deflect criticism from the Biden administration, rated “False” the declare that Biden and Harris “actually had reservations about the safety of the vaccines.” The website’s excuse is that the then-candidates “were raising questions not about the vaccines themselves, but about then-President Donald Trump’s rollout of the vaccines.”
What the hell does that imply? That it’s OK to have reservations not simply in regards to the White House however in regards to the CDC, FDA, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna and each different establishment concerned with the vaccine effort when you don’t like or belief the president? Isn’t that precisely the issue with Republicans who say they received’t get the vaccine now?
Along with different clear fabrications — like that Republicans only final week turned pro-virus, and didn’t implement 27 state vaccination applications, and didn’t have Trump on Fox twice in March and April to boast about Operation Warp Speed and urge folks to get the vaccine — the press and Democratic politicians alike are compounding the very downside they declare to care about.
There was comparable end-of-the-world howling about the whole lot from the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to Trump’s Helsinki assembly with Putin to the “insurrection,” which we’re advised each day was worse than 9/11 when it clearly was not. People see the hyperbole, and don’t alter again to credulity once they’re advised to get a shot.
This is identical political story that’s dominated America since Trump arrived. Why did Americans vote for such a truth-challenged candidate? Because they trusted the political aristocracy much less.
How did the aristocrats reply to that damning message despatched on the poll field? They doubled the lies and doubled the scolding, rising the distrust.
Is anybody going to hassle attempting to break this cycle?
Reprinted with permission from Matt Taibbi’s TK News, taibbi.substack.com