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Jennifer Rubin says…

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Author Topic: Jennifer Rubin says…  (Read 585 times)
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Having fun in the hills!

« on: April 04, 2020, 02:46:04 pm »

from The Washington Post…

The lessons we can learn for a post-coronavirus world

We can end the politics of stupidity.

By JENNIFER RUBIN | 1:52PM EDT — Friday, April 03, 2020

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo with Rear Admiral John B. Mustin after the arrival of the USNS Comfort, a naval hospital ship, on March 30. — Photograph: Kathy Willens/Associated Press.
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo with Rear Admiral John B. Mustin after the arrival of the USNS Comfort, a naval hospital ship, on March 30.
 — Photograph: Kathy Willens/Associated Press.

IN THE midst of a pandemic, the likes of which the United States has not seen since the 1918 infuenza pandemic, evidence of rank stupidity and indifference abounds (firing a Navy captain for complaining about an outbreak on his ship; telling states to fend for themselves; demonizing the media; and making part of the public blind to oncoming dangers). We look for solace where we can find it — in the thousands of volunteers helping in the health-care system; in competent governors; in one of the most accomplished House speakers in history; and in science itself. There will be — and must be — an accounting of this entire, devastating episode after we come out the other end, but as we are going through it, we should make a mental note of how we would like our post-coronavirus world to look.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (Democrat), a reassuring beacon of competence and homespun philosophy, remarked recently:

You will get knocked on your rear end. You will deal with pain. You will deal with death. You will deal with setback. You will deal with suffering. The question is, how do you get up? First, do you get up? And second, if you get up, how do you get up? Do you get up smarter? Do you get up wiser? Or do you get up bitter, and do you get up angry? And do you get up fearful? We are in control of that.

He reeled off a list of things we will need to consider or reconsider: “How do you make the economy more resilient? … What happens when something like this happens again? … How do governments work together? … Well why weren't we ready with a tele-education system? … Why weren't we better with telemedicine?”

All of those are certainly major concerns. And there are others:

  • We cannot rely on in-person voting systems. Everyone, everywhere must be able to vote from home.

  • The states will need a formal collective-aid system in case of emergencies when the federal government is paralyzed. They need to establish a process by which supplies, staff and data can be shared easily in case of a nationwide disaster. They should be prepared the next time a president says, “You're on your own.

  • Revamp our “emergency” laws, which are both too broad (allowing President Trump to raid defense budgets for a useless border wall) and too narrow (e.g., do not automatically open enrollment for Obamacare coverage).

  • Update the Federal Vacancies Reform Act to limit the officials who can move into Cabinet and sub-Cabinet roles (e.g., only deputies can replace secretaries, only undersecretaries replace deputies) and limit the amount of time an acting official can serve. We must minimize the number of unqualified cronies in government.

  • Have a permanent inspector general and congressional oversight body empowered to monitor and report to the public on disaster relief/stimulus bills. (Congress should not have to mandate and hound administrations every time it must dispense large sums of emergency money.)

  • Create an office within the Pentagon with specific jurisdiction over the national stockpile of emergency equipment and material with requirements for frequent audits, quality control and distribution.

  • The directors of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Federal Emergency Management Agency should, like the FBI director, serve for 10-year terms that overlap administrations.

At a more fundamental level, the coronavirus pandemic should stanch the urge to elect political leaders who disparage expertise, deny widely accepted scientific findings and do not read. The right's anti-intellectual bent and its hostility toward independent sources of information (e.g., media, universities, scientific associations) is dangerous and, indeed, life-threatening.

We can draw on our current experience to make a wide array of the procedural and technical changes. However, until one party and its base decide that living in the 21st century without respect for 21st-century science is suicidal, we will face one calamity after another and continue to be at the whim of know-nothing leaders.


Jennifer Rubin writes reported opinion from a center-right perspective for The Washington Post. She covers a range of domestic and foreign policy issues and provides insight into the conservative movement, the Republican Party and threats to Western democracies. Rubin, who is also an MSNBC contributor, came to The Post after three years with Commentary magazine. Prior to her career in journalism, Rubin practiced labor law for two decades, an experience that informs and enriches her work. She is a mother of two sons and lives in Northern Virginia.


Related to this topic:

 • Max Boot: The only official fired over the virus? A captain who tried to protect his crew.

 • R. Albert Mohler Jr. and Kelly J. Shackelford: Mandatory social distancing is not a threat to religious liberty. It's essential for humanity.

 • Karen Tumulty: Get rid of political conventions. Not just this year, but forever.

 • George F. Will: Crises and the collectivist temptation

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If you aren't living life on the edge, you're taking up too much space! 

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