Biden’s tacking governance, and our media isn’t used to dealing with it

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NY Times:

Assaulting the Truth, Ron Johnson Helps Erode Confidence in Government

Pushing false theories on the virus, the vaccine and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Mr. Johnson, the Republican senator from Wisconsin, has absorbed his party’s transformation under Donald Trump.

Mr. Johnson is an all-access purveyor of misinformation on serious issues such as the pandemic and the legitimacy of American democracy, as well as invoking the etymology of Greenland as a way to downplay the effects of climate change.

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NY Times:

Where Europe Went Wrong in Its Vaccine Rollout, and Why

While Washington went into business with the drug companies, Europe was more fiscally conservative and trusted the free market.

But the biggest explanation, the one that has haunted the bloc for months, is as much philosophical as it was operational. European governments are often seen in the United States as free-spending, liberal bastions, but this time it was Washington that threw billions at drugmakers and cosseted their business.

Nationalism bested the free market. And that’s not great.

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Will Bunch/philly.com:

President Biden’s ‘mistake’ at U.S. southern border isn’t what clueless pundits, GOP think it is

The border situation is neither the first crisis facing the new administration nor close to the biggest — not with a pandemic that has killed more than 500,000 Americans and the related economic crisis leaving 10 million out of work — but it is the nation’s most visible problem that can be so easily demagogued by Republicans looking to score cheap political points against a popular president, or get lapped up by Beltway journalists eager to go back to the brunch of lazy punditry. Indeed, the Sunday morning talk shows — ABC even flew its panelists to an outdoor location at the border — seemed to openly salivate at a return to the days of swinging at Democrats with a club furnished by the RNC.

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Pew Research:

Large Majority of the Public Views Prosecution of Capitol Rioters as ‘Very Important’

Similar shares of Americans view violent right-wing extremism, left-wing extremism as ‘major problems’ for the country

The survey by Pew Research Center, conducted March 1-7, 2021, among 12,055 U.S. adults who are members of the Center’s nationally representative American Trends Panel, finds a wide majority of Americans (69%) saying it is “very important” for federal law enforcement agencies to find and prosecute the people who broke into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Another 18% say doing this is “somewhat important.” Just 12% say this is not too or not at all important.

Nearly half of Americans (47%) say the criminal penalties that the rioters will receive are likely to be less severe than they should be given what happened, while 22% say the penalties will be more severe than they should be. Only about three-in-ten (29%) expect the punishments will be about right.

Melinda D Anderson/Mother Jones:

Why Black Parents Aren’t Joining the Push to Reopen Schools

“They’re insinuating that we’re ignorant…That’s just gaslighting.”

“At the same time that people were talking about reopening, we were seeing [COVID-The Black mother of three had watched her children blossom during the spring semester. Freed from transporting three teens—a sophomore, an eighth grader, and a seventh grader—to athletic games and extracurriculars, Anderson (no relation to me) was more engaged in their lives, and her children were thriving academically, more attuned to their online classes and more self-directed in their learning. She was also skeptical that Baltimore schools had figured out how to do in-person instruction safely. As the deputy director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Safe and Healthy Schools, she spends her days giving policymakers the tools they need to make evidence-based decisions. Conflicting research on safely reopening schools, coupled with a lack of direction from the federal level, told her it was better to sit this one out.

19] case numbers go up astronomically,” she recalled. “There was no clear guidance. It was just, ‘Trust us, send the kids back, and it’ll be okay.’” When Anderson queried other Black families to see how they were feeling, she discovered she was not alone.

PBS:

Why 41 percent of Republicans don’t plan to get the COVID vaccine

Dr. Peter Hotez:

We underestimated how powerful this is and the deadly consequences that it’s had for the American people, not only around anti-vaccine, but actually against science more broadly, because this is what led to defiance of masks and social distancing. The anti-science platform is now mainstream with the Republican Party.

Greg Sargent/WaPo:

An intriguing reason that Republicans want to keep the filibuster

But an interesting argument is bouncing around that explains why McConnell might have reacted this way — and why it’s actually a show of weakness and fear on McConnell’s part.

The idea is that McConnell doesn’t want a simple-majority Senate because many things Republicans want to do can’t get 50 GOP votes anyway, because they’re deeply unpopular. Meanwhile, important GOP priorities that can get 50 GOP votes, such as tax cuts, can be passed via the simple-majority reconciliation process: This is how the 2017 tax cut passed.

As Benjy Sarlin put it in a Twitter thread, there aren’t “many GOP priorities that could get 50 votes.” And Sarlin added a nuance: If the filibuster were done away with, and Republicans did take the majority, there would be tremendous pressure from the conservative grass roots to pass unpopular items, something McConnell might prefer to avoid.

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