Where we are

Good God has this been a hell of a day.  I should be asleep, but I’m still up obsessively reading news.  And even feeling the need for a nearly 1am blog post.  One thing I have yet to see a satisfactory answer to is… just how much better would this be if Hillary Clinton were president now.  I know we can think of all sorts of ways, but does sound like some of the bureaucratic screw-ups might extend beyond Trump’s malign influence and neglect.  That said, undoubtedy, having Trump as president for this is the worst of worlds.  David Frum lets loose.  Read it all:

Trump’s Oval Office speech of March 11 was the worst action yet in a string of bad actions.

Here are the things the president did not do in that speech.

He offered no guidance or policy on how to prevent the spread of the disease inside the United States. Should your town cancel its St. Patrick’s Day parade? What about theaters and sporting events? Schools and colleges? Nothing.

He offered no explanation of what went wrong with the U.S. testing system, nor any assurance of when testing would become more widely available. His own previous promises of testing for anyone who needs it have been exploded as false. So what is true? Nothing.

Layoffs are coming, probably on a very large scale, as travel collapses and people hunker at home. Any word for those about to lose their jobs? Only the vaguest indication that something might be announced sometime soon.

It’s good to hear that there will be no copays on the tests nobody seems able to get. What about other health-care coverage? Any word on that? Nothing.

The financial markets have plunged into a 2008-style crash, auguring a recession, perhaps a severe one. The Trump administration has had almost two months to think about this crisis. It has trial-ballooned some ideas. But, of course, fiscal policy would require assent from the House of Representatives. Trump is still pouting at Speaker Pelosi. So—aside from some preposterously unconvincing happy talk about the economy—again: Nothing…

More people will get sick because of his presidency than if somebody else were in charge. More people will suffer the financial hardship of sickness because of his presidency than if somebody else were in charge. The medical crisis will arrive faster and last longer than if somebody else were in charge. So, too, the economic crisis. More people will lose jobs than if somebody else were in charge. More businesses will be pushed into bankruptcy than if somebody else were in charge. More savers will lose more savings than if somebody else were in charge. The damage to America’s global leadership will be greater than if somebody else were in charge.

There is always something malign in Trump’s incompetence. He has no care or concern for others; he cannot absorb the trouble and suffering of others as real. He monotones his way through words of love and compassion, but those words plainly have no content or meaning for him. The only thing that is real is his squalid vanity. This virus threatens to pierce that vanity, so he denied it as long as he could. What he refuses to acknowledge cannot be real, can it?

And even now that he has acknowledged, he still cannot act, because he does not know what to do. His only goal now is to shove blame onto others. Americans have to face that in the grip of this epidemic, the Oval Office is for all practical purposes as empty as the glazed eyes of the man who spoke from that office tonight.

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