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Mar 04 2021

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

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Paul Krugman: Unmasked: When Identity Politics Turns Deadly

Will Republican politicians kill some Texans to own the libs?

Relieving yourself in public is illegal in every state. I assume that few readers are surprised to hear this; I also assume that many readers wonder why I feel the need to bring up this distasteful subject. But bear with me: There’s a moral here, and it’s one that has disturbing implications for our nation’s future. [..]

Which brings me to my actual subject: face mask requirements in a pandemic.

Wearing a mask in public, like holding it in for a few minutes, is slightly inconvenient, but hardly a major burden. And the case for imposing that mild burden in a pandemic is overwhelming. The coronavirus variants that cause Covid-19 are spread largely by airborne droplets, and wearing masks drastically reduces the variants’ spread.

So not wearing a mask is an act of reckless endangerment, not so much of yourself — although masks appear to provide some protection to the wearer — as of other people. Covering our faces while the pandemic lasts would appear to be simple good citizenship, not to mention an act of basic human decency.

So not wearing a mask is an act of reckless endangerment, not so much of yourself — although masks appear to provide some protection to the wearer — as of other people. Covering our faces while the pandemic lasts would appear to be simple good citizenship, not to mention an act of basic human decency.

Yet Texas and Mississippi have just ended their statewide mask requirements.Yet Texas and Mississippi have just ended their statewide mask requirements.

Eugene Robinson: We have a choice between two covid-19 futures. Let’s make the right one.

Giving up early is self-gratifying and self-defeating. This is the time to hang tight

We are at a turning point in the fight against covid-19, and President Biden is right: “Neanderthal thinking” that puts immediate gratification ahead of what’s best for public health and the economy only helps the virus and postpones the day when life returns to something like normal. [..]

And if our leaders fail, we all have to step up in their places. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll published last week, African Americans and Hispanics are more likely than Whites to say they want to “wait and see” before deciding whether to get vaccinated. And a deeply worrisome 38 percent of Republicans said they would “definitely not” be vaccinated or would do so “only if required.”

But if you wouldn’t get the vaccine simply in the name of public health, do it in self-interest. If you miss sending your kids off to school, eating at restaurants, traveling on airplanes and other pleasures of pre-covid life, then do yourself — and the rest of us — a favor: Get in line and get the shot.

Amanda Marcotte: Mr. Potato Head, Dr. Seuss and trans kids: How Democrats are already letting Republicans win in 2022

Republicans have quickly seized on wedge issues while Democrats stubbornly refuse to end the filibuster

It’s early, but Republicans have already seized on their strategy for winning the 2022 and 2024 elections.

Of course, it does not depend on mundane tactics like “running on their record” or “making robust arguments about how their policies are better than their opponents.” The GOP is instead returning to the well that has, time and again, paid off handsomely: feigning umbrage over culture war flashpoints, usually ones wholly invented by the right or propped up with lies, to distract from substantive policy debates that actually impact American lives.

And it will probably work — again— because Democrats, hamstrung by their own inability to end the Senate filibuster, will not be able to pass substantive legislation they can tout as accomplishments in future campaigns. And so the election will come down to the Great Potato Head and Dr. Seuss Wars of 2022. Even more unfortunate, truly vulnerable people — like those who are part of the trans community — are also in the crosshairs, as the favored target for the culture wars that Republicans want to wage ahead of the next election.

For those of you blissly unaware of what some 20th century children’s artifacts — Dr. Seuss and Potato Head — have to do with politics, well, let me briefly explain.

Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman: Newsflash: Biden actually is governing in a bipartisan way

It may not conform to an outdated fantasy, but it’s the best we can hope for in a polarized age.

In Thursday’s floor debate on the covid relief bill, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — implacable enemy of partisanship that he is — took Democrats to task for failing to cooperate sufficiently with Republicans.

Democrats, said McConnell, are “ramming through their partisan spending spree. … And they’ve told Republicans: Take it or leave it. No openness to meaningful bipartisan input.”

The truth is precisely the opposite. In a way that has eluded many observers, the handling of the covid relief bill by President Biden and Democrats has actually shown genuine efforts at bipartisanship and cross-party cooperation.

Another way to put this: We’re seeing the kind of qualified effort at bipartisanship that we should want and expect in such a polarized, crisis-ridden age. [..]

Our point is not that seeking (or achieving) bipartisanship for its own sake is a good unto itself. It’s that, given the realities of today’s GOP and the scale of the challenges the country faces, the right way to strive for bipartisanship is to seek input from Republicans — in good faith — while not letting the quest for bipartisanship set the agenda.