Commentary

Better late than later: Some GOP palms finally go to GOP foreheads. Sort of.

July 25, 2021 8:48 am

Thought leader Sean Hannity. (Screenshot from July 20 Broadcast via FoxNews.com)

“It’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks” said Alabama’s Republican governor and American Hero of the Week Kay Ivey.

She’s not the only Republican governor speaking up. GOP heartthrob, potential Trump alternative in 2024 (Trumpism, but without the Trump!), and headliner at this year’s upcoming Adam Laxalt Commemorative Wingnuts/Lambnuts Hootenanny Ron DeSantis has been urging his severely unvaccinated fellow Floridians to get the shot.

I don’t watch cable news. I let the internet do that for me. But I gather Republican elected officials aren’t the only ones who are newly encouraging people to get vaccinated. So are far more powerful and influential figures on the right: Fox News performers

Maybe Sean Hannity and Steve Doocy fear their ratings will suffer if all their viewers die. Or maybe Fox Corporation Chairman Rupert Murdoch subtly suggested they cool the anti–vax noise because he owns media companies to make money, not to pay money to lawyers who sue one of his networks and its dancing bears for endangering public health by deliberately spreading misinformation. Or maybe they were uncharacteristically influenced by vestiges of a conscience. Whatever the motive, better late than later.

Alas, the network’s biggest stars are not Hannity (anymore; sniffle) or Doocy, but Laura Ingraham and the guy all of them are jealous of, Tucker Carlson, both of whom are proceeding normally, i.e, recklessly. Carlson in particular, an elitist by both by birth and temperament who has spent his entire adult life smirking on television for a living, is still playing the anti-vaccine card for fun and attention.

And (sigh) predictably, a couple days after Hannity said it “absolutely makes sense” to get vaccinated, he took pains to be “very clear” and explain that he never said, you know, what he said.

Well, baby steps are hard.

Meanwhile, back in Nevada…

Maybe it’s just the circles I run in, but it seems as if no one has seen neither hide nor hair of North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee lately. He, too, is a Republican. That fact, and that fact alone, was why Lee himself was on Doocy’s Fox News morning show once. I only mention it because Lee is also one of those Republicans who is purportedly running for governor. Of Nevada. And as of May, when he got the covid, he was still unvaccinated. 

Perhaps Lee, along with much more frequent Fox News guest Laxalt, the photogenic-while-Trumpy state Republican Party chairman and Proud Boys enabler Michael McDonald, Sheriff Joe (Lombardo, not Arpaio), and the rest of Nevada’s GOP cognoscenti could get on the vaccination bandwagon. You know, now that it’s fashionable in at least some Republican circles.

***

Masking the problem. OK, Nevada worker bees, if yours is an inside job (literally, not figuratively), you have to wear masks, says the Clark County Commission. But the people who enter your place of work, customers, let’s call them, are not required to wear masks. 

And if you are a conventioneer from Iowa or Ohio or wherever, by all means come to Las Vegas and do whatever you want, because that’s how we roll. 

The county commission came to this very Vegas solution at a very lengthy meeting, which doubled as an entertaining Vegas floor show thanks to public commenters inspired by an abiding belief that freedom is a thing and responsibility isn’t.

The anti-vaxx/anti-mask segment of the citizenry is outraged because … well, that’s their default setting, mainly. But the vaccinated also have reason to be disappointed – in their fellow citizenry who are anti-vaxx and anti-mask, who are doing everything in their power to assure the variant thrives, and maybe mutates into something even more horrible, in turn assuring the Las Vegas recovery is as prolonged, painful, and problematic as it can possibly be.

I, vaccinated human, had been going to the grocery store without a mask over the last few weeks. But now that employees have to wear them, I’ve resumed wearing one too, on the premise that every little bit will help get this damned pandemic behind us. I’ll also wear one because it is asinine that this town and the industry for which it stands is not only continuing to allow the aforementioned conventioneers to get sloppy and reckless without masks, but effectively encouraging them to do so. Showing support for and solidarity with workers who are caught in the middle  of this s***show seems the right thing to do.

***

Amodei not Lombardo’d. Yet. In the exciting (just kidding) Nevada GOP gubernatorial primary, Nevada’s only Republican member of Congress and pride of global mining conglomerates Rep. Mark Amodei seems unimpressed with Joe Lombardo’s summer charm offensive. Amodei says he’ll decide in October if he’s going to enter the Republican primary for governor.

In the before times, back when the Republican Party was about something other than Trump, it would have been appropriate to note that Amodei is a much more natural, comfortable, and just better politician than Lombardo, who can be stilted, and whose is-there-any-there-there problem seems to become more pronounced by the day. But it is no longer the before times, and such things might not matter.

The more entertaining question about an Amodei entry is whether, by splitting the vote with Lombardo, it would make a path more realistic for the Trumpy fruitcake (Joey Gilbert; his name is Joey Gilbert). And yes, as noted above, John Lee is also in the race. But neither he nor his campaign seems to know why so for my current purposes (detached snark) I’m placing him on the back bench pending further developments.

***

More Amodei! (Sort of.) Nancy Pelosi won’t let a couple Republicans sit on a House committee to investigate January 6, because those two Republicans have indicated they despise the committee’s intent and will do everything they can to turn the process into a clown show. Pelosi, like many of us, is not in the mood.

There are House Republicans, by the way, who think an investigation of an insurrectionist attempt to overthrow a presidential election, democracy itself and the rule of law deserves a deep investigative dive. Specifically, 35 House Republicans (Amodei was not one of them) voted in May to establish an independent, 9-11 style commission. Under terms negotiated between congressional Democrats and Republicans, those appointed to that commission would have had to be people with “significant expertise in the areas of law enforcement, civil rights, civil liberties, privacy, intelligence, and cybersecurity,” no sitting member of Congress could have served on it, and Republican and Democratic leaders each would have selected five members.

After a bill to create that commission passed the House – again, with 35 Republicans (but not Amodei) voting for it – it got McConnelled in the Senate. For the majority of Republicans (including Amodei), you see, the first rule of January 6 is you don’t talk about January 6.

So Democrats adopted a backup plan to create a select congressional committee. To which GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy appointed people whose sole goal is to throw up smokescreens and irrelevant distractions (antifa! CRT! Hunter Biden’s art!) and otherwise transform the commission into show prep for the aforementioned dancing bears on Fox News, as well as lesser grifters and carnival barkers in America’s sprawling Trumpist media entertainment-industrial complex.

And since Pelosi won’t allow that to happen, according to McCarthy, “this panel has lost all legitimacy and credibility” – two qualities with which McCarthy has no familiarity.

***

Faux outrage in full plumage. Thursday’s Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee vote on Tracy Stone-Manning’s nomination as director of the Bureau of Land Management went exactly as expected:

  • A 10-10 vote that means the nomination will go to the Senate floor, and
  • Republicans from more or less rectangularly shaped states out west pretended to be outraged because a 23-year-old woman retyped and then mailed a letter that had a bad word in it in 1989.

After the hearing, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer labeled the Republicans on the committee “hysterical.” That’s wrong. They were just being theatrical. 

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso (R-Drilling Mud) and his even more obscure GOP intermountain west colleagues will continue their smear campaign through the rest of the Stone-Manning nomination process, and beyond, presumably. And they will be assisted of course by the nation’s premier provider of manufactured outrage, the aforementioned Trumpist media entertainment-industrial complex.

Oh, the Trump reference reminds me: Barrasso’s smoking gun evidence against Stone-Manning involves Barrasso heavily exaggerating and extrapolating events so as to say that Stone-Manning “lied” during her testimony to the Energy Committee. And if Barrasso and the rest of the Republicans in Congress proved nothing else over the course of the Trump administration, it is that they have zero tolerance for lies, lying, and liars. Unless of course that one guy who does it all the time is doing it. Then it’s patriotic.

***

Pigs in space. No Jeff Bezos, history will not remember you for being a space explorer. History will remember you for having a website.

(The above are excerpts, some lightly massaged, others more heavily, of material published over the past week in the Daily Current newsletter, the editor’s opinionated morning news roundup.)

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Hugh Jackson
Hugh Jackson

Hugh Jackson was editor of the Las Vegas Business Press, senior editor at the Las Vegas CityLife weekly newspaper, daily political commentator on the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, and author of the Las Vegas Gleaner political blog. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and editor at the Casper (Wyoming) Star-Tribune.

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