Mitch McConnell arose in the Senate on Monday to present the most amazing tale, in which the current president had been handed the New Jerusalem by the previous president* only to squander those riches by giving out vaccines and making sure people could buy food. It was amazing to hear. It is also amazing to read.
And after the Biden administration was very eager to claim ownership and spike the football on the vaccination trajectory which they largely inherited from Republican leadership, we’ve now seen vaccination rates in many places plateau on what this White House has been insisting is their watch. This turn toward pessimism is especially stunning and especially sad because President Biden took office with wind at his back.
Things were set up for a roaring success like no other presidential transition in recent memory thanks in large part to Operation Warp Speed set up by the prior Congress and administration we had multiple safe and effective vaccines that were beginning to circulate widely through the country. The new administration’s so-called ambitious goal of about a million vaccines per day was already happening before they were sworn in. Thanks to the five bipartisan rescue packages that the Republican-led Senate passed last year, we were primed and ready for a historic economic comeback. Americans were excited and ready to build a comeback summer for the history books, but those incredible tailwinds have largely been squandered.
He spoke of a country with which I am unfamiliar, but it’s the one he and all the candidates of his political party will be running in for the next two years. Meanwhile, back in the reality that most of share in common, the Department of Veterans Affairs has decided to do the right thing. From the New York Times:
The Department of Veterans Affairs will require 115,000 of its frontline health care workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus in the next two months, making it the first federal agency to mandate that employees be inoculated, government officials said on Monday. The move comes as concern is growing that the substantial portion of the population that has not been vaccinated is contributing to the rapid spread of the highly contagious Delta variant. While it was a sharp departure from the Biden administration’s reluctance to embrace mandates, it was part of a broader shift in which New York City, many hospital chains and some private employers are deciding that the time has come to make being vaccinated a requirement.
“I am doing this because it’s the best way to keep our veterans safe, full stop,” Denis McDonough, the secretary of veterans affairs, said in a telephone interview on Monday. The department is one of the largest federal employers and is the biggest integrated health care system in the country.
More than any other election in my lifetime, the 2022 midterms elections are going to be a conflict between what is actually happening and what people believe is happening. The distance between the two has never been so great, and it’s becoming greater still.
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