The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Saturday, November 19, 2022


I was fortunate enough to live in the free state of Florida during the 2.5 years of COVID insanity. By and large, lockdowns disappeared after the first few months; schools remained open, although there were pockets of resistance in blue cities and counties; there were few, if any, statewide mask mandates, there was no state-sponsored demonization of those who chose not to be vaxed (we subsequently learned that the so-called vaccines did not stop a person from getting or transmitting the virus and therefore did not stop the spread), public parks and beaches were opened sooner than just about anywhere else in the country, and lunatic-level CDC and federal guidelines (none of which were based on solid science or common sense) were largely ignored. 

The Governor of our free state, Ron DeSantis,** showed intelligence and courage under a withering barrage of media and political criticism/demonization as he kept our state open, viable, and free. You could literally feel it as FL residents went about their daily lives without the dark pall of fear that seemed to pervade the atmosphere in many blue states.

With this as background, we come to the only announced contender for the 2024 presidency—Donald Trump. Trump's record on COVID at the federal level was considerably less than stellar. And now that he's a candidate, it's time for him to answer questions about his COVID decisions and policies during 2020.

Megan Fox writes:

Why did Trump allow Anthony Fauci to become the unelected Health Czar of America? Within two months, this man showed he was not fit to be elected dog-catcher, let alone be allowed to fiddle with the nation’s economy. But allow it, Trump did. He deferred to Fauci and his cohort Dr. Deborah Birx. Both of them misled Americans multiple times over masks, lockdowns, and the risks to children and pushed idiocy like “social distancing” which had no basis in science or reality. It’s Trump’s fault we were all forced to stand on stickers at the grocery store. 

(There was a bar we visited during COVID that literally installed 4×3 sheets of plexiglass on top of beer kegs that they shoved in between stools at the bar. It was RIDICULOUS. Anyone without brain damage could see that none of this stuff was protecting anyone from an airborne virus.)

Trump had other advisers close to him who were trying to tell him that Fauci and Birx were batsh*t crazy, like Dr. Scott Atlas, who called for a much less radical approach to the Wuhan Flu. But Trump didn’t sideline Fauci with someone like Atlas, though he had no obligation to give Fauci a microphone. Instead, we suffered. And suffered. And suffered.

The difference between DeSantis’s response to Atlas’s information and Trump’s is stark. According to Atlas, DeSantis quickly realized that following the accepted theories about lockdown was going to harm his state, so he reversed course. Trump, on the other hand, refused to admit he made a mistake even though Atlas says he surely knew it. 

Of course, expecting Trump to admit that he erred in his COVID policy is about the same as expecting plexiglas between the barstools to work in stopping an airborne virus.

But that's not the point. The decisions to shutdown the economy, close schools, and encourage authoritarian "emergency measures," ruined lives and livelihoods and led to government giveaways that set into motion rampant inflation that will invariably lead to recession that will ruin still more lives and livelihoods.

And not a single politician or bureaucrat at the federal or state level has paid any price for egregiously bad decisions, authoritarian mandates. or anti-scientific policies.

In thinking back on his first term, there are dozens of personal traits (e.g., bad temperament, petty combativeness, graceless language) that make Trump a bad choice for the GOP candidate in 2024. But his greatest failure in 2020 was an inability to recognize that many of recommendations he got relative to COVID response came out of an agenda that had little to do with public health and much to do with partisan politics with a dollop of irrational fear mixed in. 

Instead of firing those who had that agenda (he had every right to do so) and bringing in solid, credentialed, public health experts who might chart and rational path through the pandemic, Trump needed to be the center of it all. To make COVID all about him. As a consequence, if the hated DJT suggested that a more measured approach to the virus might be justified, the blue state reaction was to triple-down on lockdowns and mandates so that they wouldn't be like Trump. And in doing so, large parts of blue America were doomed to needless suffering, isolation, and gloom.

That was and is Trump's M.O. and his achilles heel. It's also a disqualifying characteristic for any presidential candidate in 2024.


** This from the Wall Street Journal:

The story of Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis is the story, in contrast [to Trump and others], of a grown-up. After initially adopting stringent measures, he returned to first questions. Was the virus stoppable? Would trying materially pay off in terms of reduced mortality and suffering? No, he concluded. As a result, Florida experienced roughly the same Covid outcomes as other states while piling on fewer of the costly, impotent gestures that were adopted elsewhere mainly to show that politicians were very, very concerned.

His decision was brave because he would be blamed for any deaths that occurred, whereas he would not have been blamed for a single death if he had aligned his response with the prevailing media mood and political incentive. 

Courage is something that is sorely lacking in most pols today. Always interesting when we see evidence of a rare encounter with it.