Friday, March 13, 2020

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This is what a right-wing government looks like

David Corn in Mother Jones:

Donald Trump’s utterly incompetent response to the coronavirus has become readily apparent in recent days. But this disaster is not a solo enterprise. His catastrophic performance as president during the early stages of the crisis is the culmination of decades of right-wing action aimed at subverting the one entity that can protect Americans from the deadly threat at hand: government. 

For many years, Republicans and conservatives have demonized government. In his first inaugural address, Ronald Reagan, the superstar of the right, proclaimed, “Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.” 

The well-known conservative strategist and lobbyist Grover Norquist once said, “My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” 

The tea party arose in opposition to federal assistance for those Americans slammed by the housing collapse of 2007 and became a movement encompassing anti-government fervor and intense paranoia. And Trump rode this wave into the White House...

Trump could only be acceptable to voters who had long been told that government was the problem. 

He was the antithesis of government experience and expertise. And he made that a selling point and convinced 63 million people to vote for him as if they were picking a winner on a reality television show. After all, he was amusing and a kick in the ass of the libs who thought credentials and seriousness actually mattered.

Now the joke isn’t too funny. And tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of Americans will die because the GOP’s war on government paved the way for Trump’s incompetence.

Trump entered the White House not taking the job seriously. He fretted over the estimates of the inauguration crowd size, while, out of neglect or with intent, he depopulated the federal government. 

Key positions across various agencies have gone unfilled throughout his tenure. He hollowed out the State Department. The Department of Homeland Security has had top slots empty for long stretches. 

As has been noted much in recent days, Trump’s downsizing of the National Security Council included dumping the office of global health...

See also The Dismantled State Takes on a Pandemic.

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