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Rethinking Trump’s performance and other commentary

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Rethinking Trump’s performance and other commentary

Pandemic journal: Rethinking Don’s Performance

The Washington Examiner’s Byron York sees “the beginning of a sense of perspective about the way the Trump administration battled the virus. The bottom line is: Of course, the crisis was awful, but on balance, overall, the United States handled it as well or better than many of the world’s most advanced countries.” Exhibit A is Nate Silver noting that “with some exceptions . . . the EU’s pandemic handling has been worse than the US’s on balance.” And Matt Yglesias saying of the EU’s vaccine rollout, “What a disaster.” Meanwhile, York points out, a graph of US jabs shows steady, “continuing progress” from late December onward, while the American death rate from the virus is in line with those of other developed nations. In short, “the frenzied, hysterical and hostile media coverage of the Trump administration during the virus’ worst days . . . gave Americans an unbalanced picture of what was happening.”

Disorder watch: Gotham Picks Crime

Twenty years of growing success in driving down crime rates under Mayors Rudy Giuliani and Mike Bloomberg, observes Heather Mac Donald ­at City Journal, “set a benchmark for what was possible, preemptively discrediting any future mayor’s excuse that crime was beyond his capacity to overcome.” Yet the citywide rise in crime in 2020 was “worse than the annual numbers suggest,” since the lockdown had street crime dropping from March to late May. And the spike has extended into 2021. What happened? In the wake of George Floyd’s death, city elites felt compelled “to signal a commitment to fighting white supremacy” and so moved “to stop penalizing criminal behavior.” Prosecutors grew even more forgiving, while the NYPD closed its prime anti-gun unit; arrests plummeted. If city leadership doesn’t reverse course, “New York may be heading back not just to the early 1990s, but to the even grimmer 1970s.”

Physician: Accept Good Vax News

“Despite the amazing solution of vaccines,” sighs infectious-disease prof Monica Gandhi at The Atlantic, “many educators, government officials and media commentators cannot seem to permit themselves any optimism yet about when school closures and other emergency restrictions might be eased.” All the approved vaccines “provide nearly 100 percent protection from severe COVID-19,” including variants. “Powerful data” also show vaccinations reduce spread, even from “asymptomatic infection.” Yet predictions of “deadly” new waves of infection “are generating anxiety among the public, including teachers,” and “distorting the discussion about schools.”

Conservative: A Brave Gov’s Fight for Kids

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds recently signed into law a bill requiring “every public and accredited private school in her state to offer in-person learning, five days a week,” cheers The Washington Post’s Marc A. Thiessen, proving that there is at least one “chief executive with the courage to take on the teachers unions.” Reynolds had been sitting in on local school-board meetings and “was shocked to see the contempt with which parents were treated” for wanting to reopen schools. Union workers in Des Moines voted to not be considered essential workers to avoid returning to the classroom. Reynolds believes that “the pandemic has created a ­moment of clarity, when frustrated parents across the country have finally had enough and are ready to take back control of their children’s education.” If “more Americans learn about Reynolds’ leadership,” concludes Thiessen, perhaps one day” we will be able to take advantage of this grim moment.

Campus beat: So Much for Free Inquiry

Woke academia’s apologists brush off all criticism of censorship on campus as cherry-picked and anecdotal — yet, counters Eric Kaufmann at The Wall Street Journal, new data “give the lie to these claims.” His survey found that “4 in 10 American academics” wouldn’t hire Trump supporters, “while in Britain, 1 in 3 academics wouldn’t hire a Brexit supporter.” Plus, “only 28 percent of American academics say they would be comfortable sitting with a gender-critical scholar over lunch, less even than the 41 percent who would sit with a Trump-voting colleague.” Bottom line: Conservative opinions don’t get a “fair hearing.”

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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Opinion

Supreme Court decisions expose Dems as half-baked hysterics

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Supreme Court decisions expose Dems as half-baked hysterics

When President Donald Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court last fall, hysterical Democrats declared millions of Americans would lose health coverage with her vote against ObamaCare — and immediately started talking about packing a court they called hopelessly divided.

Two big Supreme Court decisions last week proved reality turned out to be nothing like Dems’ fever dreams.

In a 7-2 decision in California v. Texas, the high court rejected a Republican bid to invalidate ObamaCare — and Barrett was not one of the two dissenters. It ruled that Texas and 17 other GOP-led states didn’t have standing to challenge the law’s individual mandate. The Trump administration had taken their side, while 20 Democratic-run states including New York and California, along with the Dem-controlled House of Representatives, took the other. Only Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch dissented to the majority opinion the liberal Stephen Breyer authored.

How could this be? Last year, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez declared, “Confirming Amy Coney Barrett will be the end of the Affordable Care Act.” In her opening statement at Barrett’s confirmation hearing, then-Sen. Kamala Harris held up a picture of an 11-year-old constituent and accused Republicans of trying “to jam through a Supreme Court nominee who will take away health care from millions of people during a deadly pandemic.”

Democrats boycotted the final committee vote, filling their seats instead with posters of ObamaCare recipients, implying a vote for Barrett would put those lives at risk.

During the whole childish circus, they insisted Trump had picked Barrett and sped up her confirmation just so she’d be seated in time to hear arguments in the case and dismantle the law. They didn’t bother to look at her record and examine her judicial philosophy — they assumed this well-qualified woman would be the president’s puppet.

In the second important decision, Fulton v. Philadelphia, the court ruled unanimously that the city violated the Constitution’s free exercise clause by suspending Catholic Social Services’ contract because the group wouldn’t certify same-sex couples as foster parents.

Yes, all nine justices ruled in favor of religious freedom — putting paid to Democratic complaints the court is out of balance with too many conservatives. It’s far from the only unanimous decision already this term, either. Every justice signed on to decisions written by Gorsuch, Breyer, Clarence Thomas and Sonia Sotomayor, with two of the cases involving immigration issues.

That people of varying political stripes can agree on the law shouldn’t come as a surprise. Supreme Court justices take their jobs seriously — which is more than you can say for Democrats charged with helping choose them.

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Opinion

The undying myth of GOP ‘obstructionism’

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The undying myth of GOP ‘obstructionism’

The media have spent the Joe Biden presidency thus far pressuring moderate Democrats to join the left’s efforts to destroy the filibuster.

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Opinion

Big Labor’s gift to itself and other commentary

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Big Labor's gift to itself and other commentary

Libertarian: Unions’ Gift to Themselves

Big Labor spent millions getting President Biden elected — and now it’s seeking to enact a law “directing federal power and resources to boost flagging” union rolls, laments Reason’s Eric Boehm. The so-called PRO Act “is a grab bag of Big-Labor agenda items that would extend some of California’s awful independent contractor regulations nationwide” and “abolish so-called right-to-work laws in the 27 states that have passed them.” Biden and the unions insist this is about empowering workers, “but if workers were as eager to join unions as [they] seem to think, they wouldn’t need a powerful federal bureaucracy to encourage that outcome.”

Centrist: United Supremes

The most striking aspect of the Supreme Court’s recent rulings on ObamaCare and religious liberty was the “absence of ideological divisions” from a high court that “Democratic leaders have declared hopelessly divided along ideological lines,” observes Jonathan Turley at USA Today. The largely united decisions mark “the final collapse of the false narrative that has been endlessly repeated like a mantra in Congress and the media.” Critics may continue to insist that the court is “dysfunctional, divided and needs to be radically changed,” but the justices aren’t “cooperating,” issuing instead an “inconvenient line of unanimous decisions.” Yet even as the court “seems to be saying a lot in one voice not just about the law, but about its own institution,” the media will undoubtedly continue to denounce it, “because politics demands it.”

Crime beat: A Wake-Up Call in Atlanta

The “mind-numbing randomness, brazenness and, even worse, casualness of violence afflicting Atlanta” has the upscale Buckhead neighborhood “wanting to break away from Atlanta to form its own city” with “its own police force,” writes The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Bill Torpy. Atlanta shootings are up 40 percent this year, but police often see “the same ne’er-do-wells walking the streets the next day,” thanks to a “broken” criminal-justice system. “Buckhead is almost three-quarters white,” yet “in black neighborhoods across the city, victims are widespread, and residents there want police to protect them, too.” But Buckhead can get attention, because its departure would “take away 40 percent of the city’s income.” It should be “one loud wake-up call.”

Culture critic: RIP, Janet Malcolm

At First Things, Helen Andrews assesses the complex legacy of veteran New Yorker magazine scribe Janet Malcolm, who died last week — and whose “cold, precise, unsparing” journalistic style recalled that of the great Russian writer Anton Chekhov. She was born to a psychiatrist father, and “psychoanalysis was a constant presence in Malcolm’s journalism.” The shrink’s couch formed her “eye for the telling detail” and “taught Malcolm a certain bleakness” about the world — and her own profession. Yet her “most famous line” — that “every journalist who is not too stupid or full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible” — helped spread cynicism about reporters. The result, Andrews laments, is that now “every trace of authenticity has been scrubbed from press interviews.” 

Media watch: Suppressing the Truth

“From the lab-leak theory to the Lafayette Square tear-gassing, anti-Trump bias blinded our news media,” declares Wilfred Reilly at Spiked Online. “Except perhaps for the Hunter Biden story,” there was no “potentially major and obviously newsworthy story more intensely suppressed than the lab-leak explanation for COVID’s origins,” but it was just “revealed quite possibly to be correct.” Pols and press called then-President Donald Trump “reckless” for touting hydroxychloroquine, yet “a major study” has found “it increases survival rates for COVID patients by almost 200 percent.” And the claim “Trump had ‘tear-gassed peaceful protesters’ ” to stage a photo-op turned out to be “complete nonsense.” Tellingly, all these facts only came out when Joe Biden became president. This “mainstream-media swiveling” causes “latent social distrust that has no imaginable upside.”

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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