Sunday, April 18, 2021

Fantasy Politics League


Rembrandt van Rijn, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, 1632, via Wikipedia.

Monsignor Douthat, treating a dumb but harmless political metaphor they way Jack the Ripper used to treat young women, says that "Ron DeSantis Is the Republican Autopsy". Ew, right? 

What he means to say starts from the sensible observation that Republicans can't perform an "autopsy" on their 2020 election loss the way they did after the loss of 2012, because that would force them to say negative things about The Former Guy, and we can't have that! So it's not that DeSantis is an autopsy, whatever that would mean, or the corpse on the gurney—that's the Trump party—but that Ross is the coroner cutting it up, standing in for the party officials who can't be seen doing it, and what he finds is that DeSantis is the lecture you get after he's done; an incarnated Douthat column:

the party’s autopsy for 2020, and its not-Trump hopes for 2024, are made flesh in the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis.

Ew again.

So middle-aged Ross is finally turning into Dr. William Kristol, who's going to spend the rest of his career playing Fantasy Politics League in an imaginary world where he's right about everything and the winning candidate agrees with him about everything, even if the living person wouldn't have a clue what Ross is talking about, because he's too dumb in the first place but also because nobody cares about the things Ross is talking about, with his idea of being kind of alt-right but civilized. DeSantis is "arguably" the perfect waffle—

not exactly the kind of Republicanism that the party’s donor class wanted back in 2012: DeSantis is to their right on immigration and social issues, and arguably to their left on spending. But the trauma of Trumpism has taught the G.O.P. elite that some compromise with base politics is inevitable, and right now DeSantis seems like the safest version of that compromise — Trump-y when necessary, but not Trump-y all the time. 

and enough so to maybe beat the old rascal himself in a primary, in a pile-up of descriptors that make him sound like an inept version of Richard Nixon's public persona but without any private interior, which is pretty much how he looks to me, in fact:

Not least because in a party that values performative masculinity, the Florida governor’s odd jock-nerd energy and prickly aggression are qualities Trump hasn’t faced before.

(Ross's florid new style of bad writing, with its TV-critic vibe, is going to give Brooks and Dowd a run for their money.) 

What's comical, if you have a fairly sick sense of humor, is what Ross singles out as the evidence that DeSantis is the New Guy on the basis of his putative triumph over Covid-19

The proximate cause of the enthusiasm for DeSantis is his handling of the pandemic, and the media’s attempted manhandling of him. When the Florida governor began reopening Florida last May, faster than some experts advised, he was cast as a feckless mini-Trump, the mayor from “Jaws” (complete with open, crowded beaches), the ultimate case study in “Florida Man” stupidity.

DeSantis is claiming vindication: His state’s Covid deaths per capita are slightly lower than the nation’s despite an aged and vulnerable population, his strategy of sealing off nursing homes while reopening schools for the fall looks like social and scientific wisdom, and his gubernatorial foils, the liberal governors cast as heroes by the press, have stumbled and fallen in various ways.
on the very day we're getting word that, right on cue a month after the DeSantis-approved excesses of the Florida spring break, the state is about to turn into the next Michigan, ravaged with the new variant viruses from Britain and South Africa with their greater infectiousness and tendency to attack younger victims than the Chinese-Italian original, because here we go again:

One month after the peak of Florida’s spring break, the number of residents infected with more infectious mutated strains of COVID-19 has exploded, rising six-fold since mid-March and leaving 122 people hospitalized.

The information, disclosed in response to a lawsuit by the Orlando Sentinel against the Florida Department of Health, shows the total as of Thursday reached 5,177 cases involving five “variants of concern” — a designation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for mutations that make the virus more transmissible, deadly or resistant to treatment and current vaccines.

In 31 of those cases, the people infected died. (Yahoo News)

The absolute numbers are still pretty small, but the trend is frightening—and of course DeSantis's secretiveness in trying to hide the presence of the variants (it's because the Sentinel sued that we're getting the numbers) has made the situation harder to control. 

In Douthat's epistemic bubble, it's believed that the story of DeSantis's efforts to suppress Covid data has now officially died. This is because another scandal (he partnered with the Publix grocery store chain to distribute the vaccine and they gave him a $100,000 campaign contribution, which looks like pay-to-play) was covered in a CBS 60 Minutes story, in which they failed to air footage of him denying that he'd done anything wrong, and conservatives have been treating this as a gross violation of journalistic ethics and working the refs, with some success, to frame the whole thing as the media's war on DeSantis. But I really don't think his luck is going to last; he's too slimy not to be doing more of these things all the time.

Of course Ross will have moved on, by the time that becomes clear, to Dan Crenshaw, or Dan Bongino, or Dan Aykroyd for that matter, or who knows what new victim in the quest for an ever more implausible prediction (Kristol himself has been at the top of his Fantasy Politics League game this weekend, predicting that Liz Cheney is going to be the strongest challenger to Trump in the 2024 primaries, and that Raúl Castro's retirement will lead to Cuba becoming one of the United States, I suppose canceling Puerto Rico's Democratic senators with its own Republican ones). The show must go on.

No comments:

Post a Comment