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Politics

We need a test to quantify the BS factor on Capitol Hill

By Bob Franken on

It's high time someone came up with a way to quantify the BS factor. No, that doesn't mean what you think it does. What this one would measure is the number of times officials at their various task force public briefings bow and scrape to President Donald Trump, obsequiously flattering him and ignoring his daily deluge of nonsense. I suppose that nonsense could have its own BS rating. But whichever, a unit of measurement could be developed that would range on the sycophant scale from a Fauci to a Pence.

Again, Trump has constantly demonstrated that he's way over his head. But even he has concluded that the pandemic is more than a "hoax." What is needed right now is leadership by the nation's chief executive, but the nation is not getting it. Instead, it's coming from elsewhere -- governors, mayors, the private sector and a few experts sprinkled in the federal bureaucracy -- those who have survived his various purges. While he fumbles, they are carrying the ball.

And so are those who lead the Congress. Swimming against the toxic stream of poisonous division, the politicians in the legislative branch have found a sliver of bipartisanship and have managed to pass constructive measures that have addressed the very real problems of America going through a tremendous scourge. Among those treated kindly by history might even be Steve Mnuchin, who has emerged as an honest broker as he represents the administration in maneuvering through the treacherous and differing policy outlooks and egos.

So far, the House and Senate have declared a cease fire in their usual warfare. To quote the philosopher Mitch McConnell: "We occasionally have these great crises. And when they occur, we're able to rise above our normal partisanship and many times our normal positions because these are not ordinary times. This is not an ordinary situation, and so it requires extraordinary measures."

It's been extraordinary for some in the private sector who have realized that making money is not their only duty, not their be-all-end-all. Those that have are motivating the haves in our society to remember the have-nots with an outpouring of altruism.

Meanwhile, it's plain to see that not even the Democrats who are running to replace Donald Trump ... all two of them, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are not getting in the way. There is now pressure on Sanders to pull out and bring things down to just Biden, who has taken a commanding lead particularly because of the coronavirus; the Bern has nowhere to go. Any record of the 2020 election, at least the Democrat version, will have to include an asterisk to designate the efforts to contain the contagion have included a delay in the primaries, moving forward.

 

Will Sanders abandon his quest in the name of party unity? Or will he stick around to pressure Biden on their significant policy differences. One of his top campaign officials offered a clue: "Sen. Sanders is going to be having conversations with supporters to assess his campaign."

How long will he assess? Is he really in this for the long haul? How long is a long haul anyway? If and when he pulls out, can he persuade his passionate supporters to be passionate about Biden? Much depends on how Sanders whips up his followers. Is he in a dealing mode or will he wait for the campaign silly season to restart with the state primaries that were only delayed?

They have not been canceled, after all. Theoretically, Sanders could sweep them, winning enough delegates to overtake Biden. It won't happen, but it begs the question: Will the nation have emerged from the pandemic rubble by the party conventions? By general Election Day? Significantly, will the Democrats allow Donald Trump to emerge from the rubble and actually win? That's always possible, and that is no BS.

(c) 2020 Bob Franken

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

 

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