Does the American Rescue Plan Signal the End of the Reagan Revolution?
Grifting is all the GOP has to offer anymore
It may well be the end of an era.
Ten years ago, Peter Turchin published a provocative piece in Nature predicting we’d see massive political upheaval in 2020, because, he said, politics tends to go in cycles of around between 40 and 60 years, most often 50 years. He essentially predicted we’d see people in the streets last year like we hadn’t seen since the late 1960s, and it turns out he was right.
It was also 50 years ago, in 1971, that the modern conservative era was kicked off with the Powell Memo, which started building a massive conservative infrastructure and led to the election of Reagan.
Like old Confederate statues, though, the shine on Saint Ronny seems to have turned rather green.
Thus, it now looks like the grift Republicans inflicted on America for the past two generations, hitting its stride when Reagan told us how terrible government is and how wonderful tax cuts for billionaires are, is coming to an end.
The in-our-faces 4-year-long Trump grift is almost certainly what woke America up and frayed out the end of that Reagan Revolution cycle, and even many Republicans (and now-former Republicans) get it.
Perhaps you’ve seen the new PSA encouraging people to get vaccinated?
It opens with former President George W. Bush saying, “Right now the COVID-19 vaccines are available to millions of Americans and soon they will be available to everyone.”
He’s followed by former President Barack Obama who tells us, “This vaccine means hope; it will protect you and those you love from this dangerous and deadly disease.”
Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter drop in to encourage us to get vaccinated, and their wives give cameo appearances.
The only living President missing is Donald Trump. Like a petulant child, he refused to participate.
Instead, he published a statement saying, “I hope everyone remembers when they’re getting the COVID-19 (often referred to as the China Virus) vaccine that if I wasn’t president, you wouldn’t be getting that ‘beautiful shot’ for five years at best, and probably wouldn’t be getting it at all.”
As usual, Trump was lying through his teeth. In fact, the vaccine situation in America when President Joe Biden came into office was far worse than most Americans realized at the time, or even realize now.
Trump had just been running a grift, as Republicans are wont to do.
The Wall Street Journal noted back in December that “Pfizer had it’s 100-million doses goal in place until mid-November, when it became clear the supply chain hurdles were too great for the end-of-the-year timeline.”
Of course, Trump did absolutely nothing about that; playing golf and sending out grifter emails begging for money was far more important to him.
President Biden has now invoked The Defense Production Act to provide Pfizer (and other companies) with a more robust supply chain for raw materials, vials and gloves and syringes, and even gotten other manufacturers to collaborate with each other in opening and jointly running manufacturing facilities.
Trump did none of that.
Instead, while Trump was still president, he kept telling us how vaccines were coming and how wonderful everything was, that the federal stockpile was robust and that he and Jared had everything in hand.
They were lying, of course. He thought he would get reelected and nobody would ever find out.
On January 15 the Governor of Oregon tweeted, “Last night, I received disturbing news, confirmed to me directly by General Perna of Operation Warp Speed: States will not be receiving increased shipments of vaccines from the national stockpile next week, because there is no federal reserve of doses.”
Turns out, there wasn’t even a real federal stockpile. Trump was grifting again.
As governor Kate Brown noted later that day: “I am demanding answers from the Trump administration. I am shocked and appalled that they have set an expectation on which they could not deliver with such grave consequences. This is a deception on a national scale. Oregon’s seniors, teachers, all of us, were depending on the promise of Oregon’s share of the federal reserve of vaccines being released to us.”
She should’ve seen it coming. A month earlier, on December 17, 2020, CNN reported, “Multiple states have been told by the federal government to expect fewer doses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine than initially promised, leaving health officials across the country confused and frustrated about the crucial rollout plans just days after the first doses were shipped.”
As Washington’s Governor Jay Insley tweeted at that time, the allocation for his state would be cut by 40% the following week, and “no explanation was given.”
The headline at the Washington Post said it all: “Vaccine Reserve was Exhausted When Trump Administration Failed to Release it, Dashing Hopes of Expanded Access.“
Even “Operation Warp Speed was just another Trump grift. Private companies were doing their part, but the federal government under Trump and Kushner? Not so much, other than writing a few checks with other people’s money.
And now Trump’s trying to claim credit for something that Dolly Parton helped fund and was developed by two scientists in Germany, a married couple, who were immigrants from Turkey.
For over 40 years, all the GOP has had to offer Americans are tax cuts for the rich, deregulation of polluting industries, and a continual grift grounded in phony grievances or false promises.
Last week that grift went into hyperdrive when the Bucks County Republican Party in Pennsylvania started doing Robo-calls with a Caller ID that said “Johnson & Johnson.” People answered the phone thinking they were being offered a vaccine, and then discovered the GOP just wanted them to show up for an event and contribute money. Another grift.
We’re on the back-end of a 40-year grift started by Ronald Reagan and run by the Republican Party and a few cranky rightwing billionaires.
Americans are broke, exhausted and sick of every Republican president since 1981 giving trillions of our dollars to billionaires, or lying us into illegal wars (Grenada, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iraq) to win elections and spiff their defense industry donors.
The passage of the American Rescue Plan and President Biden’s speech last night, along with an energized progressive movement bringing a fresh perspective and more diverse generations into politics, shows that a new cycle is starting, as Democrats “go large” and actually get done the business of We The People.
There are still a few stragglers among the Democrats in the Senate, but they’ll soon be swept along by the tide of history. They’ll either figure out how to flow with the current or end up cast off on the bank like in previous generations. Manchin’s recent waffle on the filibuster is a leading and positive indicator.
The era of Reaganomics and America held hostage by Republican grifters is coming to an end, and it couldn’t have come at a more necessary time.