Politics, Moderate



Biden Tackles Infrastructure While Republicans Put Performative Outrage Over Ideas

Rex Huppke, Tribune Content Agency on

Could they instead have focused on a relief plan that is, according to a mid-March Gallup poll, supported by 63 percent of Americans? Sure. But if Republicans don’t scare their constituents enough to keep them up at night, those constituents might get enough rest to realize they’re being played.

Since moving from the relief bill to an infrastructure plan, Republicans maintained their serious style of governance by repeatedly discussing video of Biden tripping three times going up the steps to Air Force One, still going on about Dr. Seuss and equating the idea of people showing proof of COVID-19 vaccinations to Nazism.

“Proposals like these smack of 1940s Nazi Germany,” Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina told Fox News. “We must make every effort to keep America from becoming a ‘show your papers society.’ The Constitution and our founding principles decry this type of totalitarianism.”

OK. So Republicans like Cawthorn want the former president to get full credit for the vaccines because they’re amazing and miraculous. But nobody should have to show that they’ve been vaccinated because that’s totalitarianism. And while the former president recently said on Fox News that the vaccines are safe, host Tucker Carlson keeps saying things like this:

“If the vaccine was so great, why were all these people lying about it? Honest question. And they were lying, clearly they were lying. You know that for certain, because from the moment the COVID vaccine arrived, the most powerful people in America worked to make certain that no one could criticize it.”

All of this is, in a word, stupid. In fact, I’ll go ahead and make my assessment two words longer than the GOP health care plan currently is by calling it “painfully stupid.”

That’s by design. The present-day Republican Party, in lieu of policy, is dishing out nonsense. And regardless of the party’s fervent, always-lathered-up base, a wide swath of Americans have taken notice.

A recent Morning Consult/Politico poll of registered voters found that Democrats are trusted over Republicans on every major policy issue. On health care, Democrats are favored 52 percent to 30 percent over Republicans. On immigration, Democrats are favored 45 percent to 38 percent over Republicans. They’re favored on jobs, the economy, the environment, education, coronavirus, guns and even energy and national security.


That doesn’t mean Democrats have the best ideas. More likely, it means Democrats have SOME ideas, while Republicans offer little more than performative outrage that, for all but the hardest-core Fox News fanboys, grows tiresome.

Biden and Democrats in Congress will fight for their infrastructure plan. And if Republicans decide to just mutter varying versions of the word “NO!” while searching for the next meaningless culture war battle to lose, it’s likely most Americans will coalesce behind the Biden plan.

Maybe that’s what Republicans want. At least it gives them something to bellow about on Fox News.


Rex Huppke is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune and a noted hypocrisy enthusiast. You can email him at rhuppke@tribune.com or follow him on Twitter at @RexHuppke.)

©2021 Chicago Tribune. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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