My dear friend Michael Doane, may he rest in peace, an early supporter of this blog, cautioned me, whenever possible, to not waste energy rehashing and unpacking the conventional news.
“Everyone is outraged,” he said, “so if you’re just going to add to the outrage, you might as well skip the whole business. We have heard it all already — or soon will. Find an angle, at least. Best, though, write about what people aren’t."
And nothing could be more in everyone’s wheelhouse today than the appearance of Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) — there simply is not a font small enough for the “D” — on Fox News Sunday explaining why he would not support the Build Back Better plan, ostensibly crashing it, and with it, a once-in-a-generation investment in America.
But, you know, deficits again are all the rage and he won’t be pushed around.
MANCHIN: And you start looking at — then you have the debt that we're carrying, $29 trillion, you have also the geopolitical unrest that we have. You have the COVID — the COVID variant, and that is wreaking havoc again, people are concerned. I've been with my family, I know everyone is concerned.
I’m sure everyone in the Manchin Clan headed to their own stateroom on the Almost Heaven after dinner without their digestifs, so verklempt they were about the country’s deficit spending.
How disingenuous is Manchin on this?
About as disingenuous as he always is.
Here’s what he said when his daughter, Heather Bresch, who as head of Mylan Pharmaceuticals jacked up the price of the EpiPen.
In the interview, Manchin suggested that the controversy was a “blessing in disguise” because it would lead to greater attention to the challenge of rising drug costs.
Hate to pile on, but the entire family has the heart of a rabid bat.
EpiPen only costs a couple dollars to make — including the drug. Oh, and as a side note, after the price increase, Manchin’s wife, Gayle Conelly Manchin, lobbied for federal legislation requiring schools to have EpiPens onsite.
But since everyone who has a blog — or will start one this week — will be talking about Manchin, I’ll heed Michael’s advice.
OK, one more: Here’s how much West Virginia would benefit from Build Back Better:
West Virginia ranks worse than the national average, with one in five children living in poverty in 2019. West Virginia’s median household income was second-lowest among the 50 states, at $16,862 below the national average. The Build Back Better Act would improve economic security among households with children by extending critical improvements in the historic, poverty-reducing Child Tax Credit (CTC) made via the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). In West Virginia, the CTC reached 346,000, or 93 percent, of all children under 18, including 170,000 who were previously left out of the full value of the credit. This would drive a historic reduction in child poverty, lifting 22,000 West Virginia children above the poverty line.
OK, I’m really done. Promise.
Let’s move on.
CNN’s State of the Union had as its guest Gov. Chris Sununu (R-NH), one of those sane Republicans you keep hearing about until you ask him or her about the former president.
In a minute, though, on that.
HOST JAKE TAPPER: I want to put up a chart of hospitalizations in your state. You're familiar with it already, I know. You're at a new record high, almost 500 hospitalizations, even worse than last winter. Given these skyrocketing numbers, how worried are you? And what are you considering to do to protect the people in your state, mask mandates, vaccine mandates? What are you thinking of?
SUNUNU: So, unfortunately, we have kind of known this winter surge was going to be upon us for quite some time.
Give the governor credit for at least acknowledging that the surge was not because Joe Biden is in the midst of dotage.
So, even back in July, August, September, we were planning for the winter surge. We were planning for new variants. We were planning for what might come, because, as governor, you have to kind of plan for the worst and hope for the best.
How about that? A full paragraph about COVID from an elected GOP official without comparing Dr. Anthony Fauci to Josef Mengele?
We were traveling to other states while they saw their surges last summer, learned from their hospitals. We brought CEOs of our hospitals across the country to kind of learn how they were managing internal surge plans. And now we're really kind of releasing that plan, if you will.
Real research, real findings, real planning.
TAPPER: So you have been pushing folks to get vaccinated for a year now. A new poll this week showed that 96 percent of Democrats nationwide say they're vaccinated, but only 54 percent of Republicans say they're vaccinated. Why do you think it is that so many Republicans are still refusing to get vaccinated? I understand — I don't want to talk about mandates right now, but just willingly. Why are so many Republicans unwilling to do so?
Spoke too soon. Now watch what happens?
SUNUNU: Well, I like to be careful. I don't think it's Democrat vs. Republican, males vs. females, older vs. young.
Not for nothing, Governor, but that’s exactly what it is.
SUNUNU: I have talked to young Democrat women who are schoolteachers and nurses, and they're concerned about getting the vaccine because they might get pregnant, which there's no data to support that. And we tell them to talk to their doctors and to be smart about it.
Young Democrat women — could he be any more condescending?
So I don't think it's a party thing. I don't think it's a political thing.
October saw the largest difference to date, with three times as many residents dying of COVID-19 in counties where at least 60% voted for Trump than in counties that supported Biden. When it comes to the percentage of vaccinated people in these communities, the numbers are reversed, with increasingly more Biden supporters getting vaccinated than Trump supporters.
I really just think it's a matter — it has to be a personal choice, of course.
You could drive a truck full of ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, and Trump swag with anti-vaxxers hanging from the sides of the truck through that answer.
I think we all, as a society, take a bit of the blame in terms of polarizing and politicizing something that absolutely shouldn't be.
Ted Cruz, you were saying?
One such retweet circulated a DailyMail.com article in which Cruz calls Fauci “the most dangerous bureaucrat in the history of America” and says he could face prison time for denying that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) had funded gain-of-function virus research at a lab in Wuhan, China.
And while we’re on the subject, let’s remind the aforementioned Dr. Fauci both sides are sending him and his family death threats with the proviso it’s ONLY ONE SIDE doing so
Tapper then brought up the fact that more than 200,000 children in New Hampshire are currently receiving more $53 million in federal child tax credits every month.
SUNUNU: Well, look, tax credits are great, and they can come in a variety of forms.
Actually, this is where the “Thank You” goes, Governor.
Sununu went on to slam the Build Back Better bill, no big surprise there, but then Tapper asked the only question worth asking any Republican office-holder these days.
TAPPER: But I do want to ask. You supported then-President Trump in 2020. He has been teasing another run in 2024. Can he count on your support if he decides to run? Or are you keeping your mind open?
SUNUNU: Not even looking at '24.
Of course you’re not.
I don't want to say I don't care about '24, but the furthest thing down on the priority list, as you can imagine.
Handing over, once again, the future of America to a madman is not on your priority list? I mean, sure, you’ve got that bridge replacement over Bunker Creek in Durham, New Hampshire, to worry about.
TAPPER: All right, I hear you.
So did the rest of us.