I think calling the conservative fantasy about smaller government a ‘fever dream’ is particularly relevant right now. The story has always been a fraud but now it is being fully exposed as the folly it is – literally by fevers! I was reading an article in the Guardian, ‘The missing six weeks: how Trump failed the biggest test of his life,’ about the various and sundry ways the Trump administration has failed in it’s response to Covid-19 (the article would have been FAR shorter had it been about the things the ImPOTUS got right) and I had a bit of a revelation. To my conservative brethren: this is it. This is your dream come true. THIS is what small, impotent government looks like…
The entire basis of the conservative dream is that government should just dry up and blow away. Or, according to Grover Norquist, “I’m not in favor of abolishing the government. I just want to shrink it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” Who needs ’em, right? Well, look around. In keeping with the conservative “utopia,” states are being told to take care of Covid-19 themselves. SOME states are finding they’re being “punished” by the petulant President because the governors of those states are not nice enough to Trump himself.
In at least one case, I’m pretty sure Trump is punishing Michigan because the governor of that state, Gretchen Whitmer, is among the whispered VP candidates for Biden. Whitmer claims medical supply vendors were told not to deliver equipment to Michigan and suggests the vile order came from the White House. Trump just can’t let the opportunity to smear a political rival pass – even if it means people will die.
The entire world seems shocked that the United States government could get their response so completely, undeniably wrong. The reality is, even after the Trump administration began trying to take the whole thing seriously, they simply failed. Now, we know that some of it was just a stall while rich people sold off their stock shares before the crash but I’d say the delay seems to be a natural, predictable outcome to posting people who are completely unqualified for the jobs they’ve been assigned – unless their goal was to destroy the department in charge, as seems to be the case.
And conservatives have been cheering all the while. “Oh,” they say, “we just LOVE what he’s doing!” The ‘what he’s doing’ they refer to? Dismantling the government. NOW we find ourselves in a position where we need that government, the one that worked before, and it’s simply unavailable. It no longer exists. I wonder if conservatives will continue to cheer as they struggle to take that one, last breath…
Trump just lied, of course, claiming he “inherited” a weak system. But HIS administration disbanded the pandemic response team in 2018. Trumpsters pretend it was Bolton, not Trump, who disbanded the team. Truth? Most people know that Trump is a feckless, out-of-touch administrator who spends most of his time playing golf or watching television so you could convince me that Bolton took such a serious action without Trump’s knowledge…except for the presser Trump had the day AFTER the team was disbanded in which he defended the decision…
And STILL, Conservatives have tried to defend Trump, pretending there WAS no delay in responding because, after all and gee golly whiz, you go into a pandemic with the team you have, not the team you might wish to have had – or actually had on hand and ready to go. After all, how important could it be to have experts at the ready, prepared to spring into action and do what needs to be done? In a word? NASCAR!
Say you’re a NASCAR driver. You’ve been out driving in circles for awhile and you need a pit stop. You pull into pit row and your pit team, led by Pit Boss Obama, springs into action. They take 12.9 seconds to get you four new tires, fuel, and whatever else you need to keep going. It’s an awesome, drilled and skilled team that works together with near-perfect precision because they’re prepared and properly equipped when you pull in. Then, Obama retires.
You hire a new guy. You’ve never heard of him but he talks a good game. Besides, you think to yourself, there’s only one race left in the season. We can check out the new guy that way. And really, how much damage could he do? Obama left behind a team that works so well, they don’t really even need a Pit Boss…
New race. You’ve been out driving in circles for awhile and you need a pit stop. But as you pull into the pits, you don’t see anybody in your station except the new guy. You get on the radio, “Where is everybody?”
“I’m a business person,” Trump responds. “I don’t like having people around when you don’t need ’em. What do you need ’em when you can get them back very quickly?” (Trump’s actual response to disbanding the pandemic response team…)
“We don’t have a crew ready to go?”
“I told you. When you called and said you were coming in, I put together a new team, a great team, the very best team in the history of teams. Nobody has ever put together a team like the team I’ve put together because nobody understands things like I do. It’s a great team. It might suck but I think it will be great. And fast. And great. I’m just the best.”
“So where are they?”
“They’ll be here in about 20 minutes.”
“20 minutes?!? Your incompetence has cost me the Winston Cup!”
“Listen, nobody knew this was going to happen. It was completely unpredictable. I take no responsibility. I’m doing a great job…”
As it happens, I’ve noticed that not ONE NASCAR team has opted for the ‘build a pit crew when the car’s on the way in’ model…