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I don’t get it.

In the midst of our collapse, we are starting to ponder why it is that so many people are fighting the inevitable reality. What exactly is making them dig in their heels and resist with all their might, alienating friends and families to stick up for Donald Trump. It seems incomprehensible.

Let’s look at this from another angle. Jonathan Last at The Bulwark wrote a piece called The Malicious Irresponsibility of Rush Limbaugh detailing chronologically each one of Rush’s arguments for ignoring the seriousness of the virus and defending Trump against his perceived enemies. Forget for a moment that many Trump defenders have voluntarily disarmed their brains for him. What makes a smart guy like Rush, especially Rush who is dying of advanced lung cancer, carry the message for Trump?

Let’s assume his lung cancer has been miraculously halted by chemotherapy and his oncologists tell him he can definitely live another 10 years. It’s unlikely but let’s consider it. That doesn’t mean that Covid-19 is going to adhere to any commands to stop being less like a cold or flu. It doesn’t prevent Covid-19 from having an R0 of 2.3. Rush and Trump can’t prevent it from arriving in the US or hitching a ride with unsuspecting asymptomatic people. The message does not prevent any deaths. It can’t suggest a solution that will work better than social distancing.

All Rush did was convince millions of people to not take any of this seriously and to excuse Trump from not proactively doing what he could to produce PPE and ventilators and to strongly encourage ALL governors to implement shelter in place. In other words, Trump had sufficient time to flatten the curve beginning when Rush started his “it’s just a cold” campaign.

He had to have known this. You don’t need to be a rocket surgeon to look at what was happening in China and South Korea and say, “hmmm… This doesn’t look like a cold. Not if you have to quarantine a city of 11 million people. Gee, maybe I should use my megaphone to zap Trump into action.” But he didn’t do that.

I can’t figure out why since Covid-19 was not going to spare the USA and he had to have known that the disruption and deaths were definitely going to get here. It was just a matter of control and mitigation. There was no way around it. It was unstoppable the minute it got out of China. The WHO predicted that.

What was the purpose of letting it run wild in the US while lulling so many people into a state of complacency? Not just complacency but genuine hostility for anyone who was pulling the alarm? What was the point of delaying a response when so many of Rush’s audience are going to die from this virus?

It can’t be ratings. Rush has a loyal audience.

It can’t be money. He’s got plenty of that and not much more time to spend it.

I can believe that his malice has a sociopathic bent and he appeals to people who get a thrill out of getting away with stuff. But time is not on Rush’s side. And time is not on Trump’s side. In another week or two, there will be full blown panic and anger about how this is going down.

Trump tried to blame China. We’re done with that.

Then he tried to blame cruise ships for inflating his numbers. That stopped working.

Then he tried to blame governors like Cuomo for not being prepared. That’s not working either given that the national stockpile of PPE and ventilators is now empty.

Now Trump is blaming the healthcare professionals for using too many masks and gloves.

Soon, his blame will fall on the victims. He’ll get angry with all the people who are asking him why their grandparents and parents had to die. He’ll say they weren’t following stay home orders or they were unhygienic or too poor to know better or they were old anyway. It’s coming. I can almost hear his thought bubble now.

I’m waiting until he has a meltdown. Well, I’ve been expecting that for 3.5 years now. He isn’t up to the job. But for all that time, things were kind of lurching forward without his input. He could spend most of his “executive time” tweeting or bribing other countries or causing misery for people who don’t vote. It was infuriating but we all thought we could wait it out until November.

Then this came along and his incompetence, venality and callousness is really dangerous. To be fair, any president would have trouble staying on top of a natural disaster of this magnitude. Some would have done better than others and made the economic collapse a little less severe and lessened the loss of lives. But no president would have come out of it unaffected.

We just have the great misfortune to be stuck with the one person in the world who absolutely should not be in charge right now. He isn’t going to get better. He won’t become presidential. He doesn’t have the problem solving abilities to work his way out of it. And each day that he is in power with two competing task forces doing god knows what makes it harder for us to deal with this fiasco.

A guy like Rush had to have known that the day of reckoning was coming. So, why carry on with it when he could do nothing to stop it and his audience was eventually going to catch on? Is there something we aren’t seeing here?

I don’t get it.

5 Responses

    • >>That said, every expert I spoke with felt that the capacity for denial in Trump voters is not bottomless. It’s just that the scandals and corruption are unlikely to move the needle much, since those things can be rationalized away. But most of these experts thought it’s possible that if the president’s policies (especially if he signs the Republican health care bill) start to affect Trump voters’ finances or well-being, many of them will be unable to keep telling themselves he’s a good guy who is just besieged by the mean-spirited liberals in the media.<<

      I’ve always known that the Republicans will hang on until the bitter end until they feel personally betrayed. We are at that point. Their retirements and jobs are gone and they are going to start dying because they refused to shelter in place. You can avoid a lot of reality while your life stays pretty much status quo. Then you can indulge in conspiracy theories and militant rugged individualism. That’s much harder to do when your life is in danger and you’re giving up other things in order to feed and house yourself, if you even have a house.

      All the cult specialists say there is a breaking point for most people when they feel personally betrayed. That betrayal is going to be especially difficult now. This is why I’m so puzzled at Rush sticking to his denial schtick. Reality IS going to smack them in the face really hard. It’s not going to be easy for them to keep the blinders on. In fact, he’s almost guaranteed that it’s going to be worse because instead of preparing, the Republican voters were lead to believe that no preparation needed to be done – at all. Rural voters are going to die as much as city folks. And for many of them, there will be no ventilators because a lot of rural hospitals are closed.
      It is going to be very very ugly and people are going to get very very angry.
      Trump is running out of excuses.

      • And given the shitty way he’s treated the military brass, he can just forget the Pinochet option. 😈

  1. It burns me that such incompetent people are “allowed” to fuck this up so badly. I was arguing with an old friend yesterday about Trump. He just kept saying, Trump’s doing the best he can. Well, it ain’t good enough…somebody competent needs to be in charge. Why don’t the Repugs see that???
    But what can I or you or we as a small group do? If enough people get angry,and more pointedly enough Repugs get angry- then something might change.But what? Aren’t there a bunch of them who are OK with the Rapture? Or letting Grannie die for the economy?
    Why are they allowing the country to be brought to it’s knees?

    • See last thread, for my post of Davis X. Machina’s famous quote.

      I am deeply disappointed in a large number of my fellow white Americans.

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