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CSotD: Fair game, fair commentary

F-Minus (AMS) offers a cartoon that took me back to the days of the Soviet Union, when people stood in long lines for groceries and other basics. This same gag was told there as part of the grim humor Russians enjoy, as well as part of a reality in which people really did get into lines because apparently something was available and they didn’t want to pass up the chance for whatever it was.

Things were bad enough that, when a group of Soviet executives visited here in the fading days of the USSR, they asked the college hosting their sessions to cut back on the size of the buffets because it made them feel bad to see so much food wasted.

And then their economy imploded, their nation fell apart, and within a few years, they had cancelled glasnost and perestroika in favor of Putin.

 

Here and now, the lines are primarily for covid testing, — this overhead shot of Dodger Stadium, by Robyn Beck / AFP – Getty Images, is from an AP story — and we don’t know how the story will end.

The political cartoonists, however, have not missed the moment.

 

Two weeks ago, Kamala Harris told the LA Times that the administration’s plans had not anticipated the new variants in their planning, a lack of foresight Michael Ramirez (Creators) seized upon for this accusation.

 

Then, when Biden repeated the explanation this past week in an address to the National Governors Association to explain why he was ramping up production of at-home test kits, Bob Gorrell (Creators) repeated the accusation.

Lack of variation aside, it’s fair commentary, though the Americans are hardly the only ones around the world who felt they finally had matters in hand, only to be blindsided.

But if you believe in American Exceptionalism, we should have seen what no other world leaders did.

 

In any case, it is good to see conservatives take the coronavirus seriously. As Mike Lester (AMS) points out, we’ve had more deaths in 2021 than we had in 2020. He concedes that Biden has brought about more vaccinations than Trump but blames him for the deaths.

Lester is more partisan than Ramirez or Gorrell in his analysis, however. It seems odd to go from mocking precautions to condemning those who didn’t do enough to stop it.

Probing the math, the most current count is about 385,000 deaths in 2020, compared to about 386,000 this year with a week to go, a miniscule increase of a little over 0.25%, and it’s not only fair but logical to point out that 2021 had a significant head start, since the first US death from coronavirus was reported Feb 29, 2020.

Comparing a 10 month period to 51 weeks of a full-year isn’t all that relevant from a policy point of view: The numbers certainly haven’t fallen to the point where cautions can be abandoned.

However, that accusation reverses itself if you’re blaming the deaths on administrations: They come out to about 38,500 per month for Trump’s 10-month command and 32,156 per month for the near-full year of deaths under Biden.

And the reality is beginning to fight its way through the partisan takes:

 

Dialogue on the topic took a sudden slitch when Trump not only admitted to being vaccinated and boosted, but encouraged his followers to do the same. Clay Jones notes the backlash, though, in the essay at his website, he refuses to forget Trump’s history of foot-dragging and denial.

Well, better late than never. Jones may be overstating the level of booing, which seemed to come from a relatively small number at the event, but he’s right that the revelation came as quite a surprise, as much because of the open admission as for the fact itself.

This Rolling Stone article echoes Jones in commenting on both Trump’s history on the topic and the shock sent through his fan base.

 

The most prominent attacks on Trump’s sudden switch to common sense seem to be coming from, as the RS’s headline writer put it, “MAGA Diehards,” like cartoonist Ben Garrison, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and you-supply-the-adjective Candace Owens.

 

The question before us now is how much influence the Diehards have over average conservatives. This article lays out the cost of misinformation in detail, including breaking down the partisan split not only over who is getting vaccinated but how they see the threat of the pandemic.

It has also been documented that the death rate from covid is higher in counties that supported Trump than in counties that supported Biden, but that may offer a ray of hope: Will people who personally know people who have died of covid lose their trust in the spreaders of misinformation?

And will some of those spreaders change their tunes?

 

 

Community Comments

#1 Christine Lehman
December/28/2021
@ 9:21 am

The big problem for Trump is that he wants it both ways: respect from the “elitist Hollywood libs” for “creating” the lifesaving vaccines, and votes from his cult followers who hate those vaccines. Look for his massive ego to continue sabotaging him in the coming year. It may not keep him from trying again in 2024, but it may well slow him down a bit, especially now that people like Candace Owens are pulling the “age card” on him!

#2 Greg Olson
December/28/2021
@ 1:29 pm

Dear Leader’s switch to (vaccine) common sense is like Petain claiming have been part of the Resistance all along (in keeping withe the Casablanca theme).

#3 Hank Gillette
December/28/2021
@ 5:46 pm

The lack of availability of COVID-19 rapid tests is certainly on Biden, but in fairness, how could he have predicted that so many people would refuse to get vaccinated, and that many Republican governors would take actions that seem to be designed to kill as many people as possible?

Biden did succeed in the distribution of the vaccines. I don’t think that there are very many people in the U.S. who wanted to get vaccinated and couldn’t. To paraphrase Samuel Goldwyn, if people don’t want to get vaccinated, no one can stop them.

#4 Kip Williams
December/28/2021
@ 8:50 pm

“More deaths under Biden.”

Is this like how Obama put GWB’s off-the-books outlays for Iraq warmaking on the books, and the Gops promptly declared that he was spending money too fast?

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