The front page of Friday’s New York Times featured the presumably rehabilitated Jonathan Weisman, who spent a long time in the paper’s doghouse for offending radical Democrats on his Twitter feed.
His latest story is surely safe territory: “With Midterms in Sight, ‘Crisis’ Is Watchword for Republicans.” The text box: “A Lesson of Trump Era: Outrage Works.” Nothing to offend Democrats of any kind here, just 1,700 words of snark directed solely at Republicans, who are fair game to attack.
House Republican leaders would like everyone to know that the nation is in crisis.
There is an economic crisis, they say, with rising prices and overly generous unemployment benefits; a national security crisis; a border security crisis, with its attendant homeland security crisis, humanitarian crisis, and public health crisis; and a separate energy crisis.
Pressed this week on whether the nation was really so beleaguered, the No. 2 Republican in the House, Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, thought of still more crises: anti-Semitism in the Democratic ranks, “yet another crisis,” he asserted, and a labor shortage crisis.
As Americans groggily emerge from their pandemic-driven isolation, they could be forgiven for not seeing the situation as quite so dire. They might also be a little confused about which of the many outrages truly needs their focus: the border, perhaps, but what about Dr. Anthony S. Fauci and the Wuhan lab leak theory, the teaching of critical race theory in the nation’s schools, the fact that some schools are not fully reopened, Representative Ilhan Omar, or all those transgender athletes competing in high school sports?
But for divided House Republicans, outrage may be the tie that binds — at least their leaders hope so.
Whatever a Times reporter would prefer not to talk about becomes a “cultural issue,” as if women’s rights to fair competition, or white children being taught they are born racists, are unimportant issues.
….At the state level, Republican legislators have obscured very real efforts to curtail voting access by spotlighting cultural issues like blocking transgender athletes from high school competitions or stopping the teaching to children of “critical race theory,” a graduate school framework that explores how racism is infused in American institutions.
Weisman portrayed the multiple strands of criticism and arguments by conservatives as a sign of confusion and weakness.
But a drumbeat of cries for Vice President Kamala Harris to visit a southwestern border in crisis gave way to accusations that the nation’s gasoline supply was nearing collapse, which then subsided amid demands for the firing of the government’s leading virologist, Dr. Fauci, and an investigation of the theory that the coronavirus was engineered in a laboratory in Wuhan, China, then released on the world.
Weisman, author of the 2018 book (((Semitism))): Being Jewish in America in the Age of Trump, even defended Rep. Ilhan Omar after her comparison of Israel with the Taliban:
Last week, the target of Republican outrage was Ms. Omar, after a tweet she posted that appeared to equate the actions of Israel and the United States with the human rights abuses of Hamas and the Taliban. Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the minority leader, called the tweet anti-Semitic — though it did not mention Jews or Judaism….
Times writer Giovanni Russonello chatted with Weisman in a follow-up story, in which Weisman took a bizarre angle on coronavirus blame.
The other actual crisis is a once-in-a-century pandemic that has killed at least 600,000 people in the U.S. The effort to spin up outrage over the Wuhan lab-leak theory — to blame China entirely for all of those deaths — is clearly an effort to try to make Americans forgive Trump for his mishandling of the coronavirus by convincing them it was all a Chinese plot. For the most pro-Trump partisans, that’s a slam dunk. For everyone else, it’s probably a stretch.
Even if it is somehow proved that the coronavirus was invented in a Chinese laboratory, its spread in the United States was far more the fault of Trump than of Xi Jinping.
So China bears no responsibility for its fateful initial concealment and lies about the virus (even blaming the U.S. military for its spread) and disappearing its own doctors for issuing warnings?