We’ll start this discussion of misunderstandings and outright lies with an easy one: Steve Kelley (Creators) resurrects an old canard that, rather than holding off rallies because of the pandemic, Candidate Biden was “hiding in his basement,” and uses it to make a point about his falling approval ratings.
You can find any sort of rating you want for any argument you choose to make, but here are 538’s composite approval ratings for the last four presidents over their first 248 days in office.
First thing you’ll notice is that the 9/11 disaster did good things for W’s approval ratings, but let’s call that an anomaly. Beyond that, Biden’s approval ratings pretty well track the norm, somewhat behind Obama and Clinton, somewhat ahead of Trump and certainly within the normal pattern of a honeymoon period followed by less enthusiasm.
So Kelley isn’t wrong that Biden’s approval ratings have fallen — nor are the many media sites that also cite the statistics.
But it’s an example of the “horse race coverage” that plagues our news coverage, and, in this case, it’s amplified by the unwarranted accusation that an old Washington hand like Biden would be upset with the normal pattern, plus, as noted, the repeat of the “basement” claim, which plays well to pandemic deniers but is pure spin.
Granted that spin is the stuff of political cartoons.
And of politicians bold enough to claim that they could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose a single vote, which is apparently true.
Juxtaposition of the Day
For those following the News of What Really Happened, the story is clear: Trump and his allies commissioned an audit of Arizona’s 2020 votes and came up with zilch, or, as they say in the Southwest, nada, here demonstrated by Bennett’s Big Box O’ Results.
Fitzsimmons, meanwhile, is local to the effort, and notes the amount of money wasted, though not all of it was donated by loyalists, and apparently about three million is being paid by the taxpayers.
But Trump supporters donated about $5.7 million to hire an inexperienced group of conspiracy theorists for the recount, for which they got the aforementioned rien du tout.
Which you might think would quash the whole thing, but let’s not forget with whom we are dealing, and Telnaes responds to the absurd, astonishing denial that Mr. Shoot-Someone-on-Fifth-Avenue foisted on a crowd in Georgia following the revelation of the Big Fat Zero, as reported in this news story:
Of course, they lost on the Arizona forensic audit, on a level that his faithful followers won’t believe, but repeating the Big Lie is part of the ongoing strategy.
What’s interesting is that the excerpted report is from the Washington Times, the rightwing fringe publication of the Unification Church — Moonies, for short — that not only believes in Trump but had him deliver a speech at their 9/11 gathering, which he attended in lieu of appearing with the other ex-Presidents at Ground Zero.
The Washington Times is so disrespected a news source that their print circulation of about 52,000 mostly goes to rightwingers plus some government officials who need to know what the Moonies are saying. Their crosstown rival, the Post, has about four times the print circulation, plus a prodigious digital footprint.
Even the Moonies aren’t swallowing Trump’s false narrative, which would matter a whole lot more if there weren’t so many people who are.
This depressing analysis may be behind the WashPo’s paywall, but your day will be more cheerful if you can’t access it anyway.
The gist of it is confirmation that, as Paul Fell contends, Trump has assembled an army of True Believers and the GOP is grooming itself to fit the fact-free model under which political pressure, and not votes, may determine the results of future elections.
As noted in that above-linked piece:
All of which makes a modest, predictable drop in approval numbers seem like pretty small potatoes, doesn’t it?
And then there’s this:
Juxtaposition of the Day
I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that there are people who wave the flag and proclaim their pride in America even as they reject the country’s founding principles and work to overthrow its government.
As Horsey and Bagley point out, there are also plenty of people who claim to follow religious rules while ignoring the precepts as well as the leaders of their proclaimed faith.
Horsey’s piece hits me directly, since, as a recovering Catholic, I’m well aware of the dissatisfaction with Pope Francis, who, like Biden, gets simultaneously criticized for doing too much and for not doing enough.
Meanwhile, Bagley focuses on the vaccine as a current and critical example of the stubborn disconnect.
I can’t speak for the Dalai Lama, but I know that, although it was dependent on both translating the Bible and on the rise of a middle class capable of reading it, the Reformation’s goal of freeing people from the “authorized version” has largely failed to materialize.
We just wound up with all sorts of other divinely-appointed authorities cherry-picking the parts of scripture that justify their doctrines and ignoring the parts that don’t.
It was always that way anyway.
Whether you believe Jesus was the Messiah or simply a great teacher, you can’t ignore the amount of energy he put into trying to correct those who had never bothered to read the user’s manual.
Two thousand years later, people who claim to be his followers still pray on street corners that all may see them pray, and fail to comfort those who hurt, and fail to welcome refugees, and fail to feed the hungry and fail to clothe the poor.
The guy plainly said that the greatest commandment was to love your neighbor, and then clearly explained that “your neighbor” included everybody, not just those who shared your religion and ethnicity.
But people who insist that Genesis should be taken literally are equally certain that Jesus shouldn’t.
Anyway, when I see people waving flags but ignoring American principles, it’s of some comfort that they claim to believe in Hell but ignore the instructions for avoiding it.
While hastening the process by refusing to get vaccinated.