Pelosi and the Politics Pandemic

March 29, 2020 Updated: April 7, 2020

Commentary

To paraphrase “The Godfather”: Just when you thought common sense had taken over and you’re done with obsessive, non-stop, nauseating politics dominating your life, it pulls you back in.

Even during a pandemic, when, you would hope, people would know better.

They don’t.

Especially House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), for whom politics has been her sine qua non since birth. It’s more than mother’s milk to her. It’s that, plus her entire bloodstream, plus the limbic system, and who knows what else.

On March 29—on CNN’s “State of the Union with Jake Tapper”—she … what’s the proper verb? … raged? … vilified? … Trump, telling Tapper “as the president fiddles, people are dying.”

Trump, a fiddler? Like Nero? Whatever else the man is, he’s a workaholic. Sometimes it seems as if he never sleeps. He may not be doing things Pelosi’s way, but odds are if he were, she’d reverse herself and declare that wrong anyway.

If anyone can be accused of fiddling, it’s Pelosi, who held up the relief package for days making sure that her pet projects (Beltway folks have to have their Beethoven, even if they can’t sit together) were injected into the trillions on offer. She was also the person who urged people to visit San Francisco’s crowded Chinatown for the Lunar New Year, undoubtedly to highlight that Trump had banned travel from China and was, therefore, “racist.”

In a similar manner, the mayor of New Orleans is blaming Trump for not banning Mardi Gras now that her city has a growing virus breakout. What was her job? Blame everyone but yourself and failing that, blame Trump.

In our world, political hostility seems to overrule everything, obliterating common sense and collegiality in a crisis. In a sense, we have a “politics pandemic,” as well as a medical one.

The medical one is probably worse, but the political one isn’t terrific and seems to be spreading with the rapidity of the original. Also, they work together, reinforcing each other. The political pandemic helps the medical pandemic spread.

It wasn’t always that way. It wasn’t much more than a week ago that collegiality reined. Govs. Gavin Newsom and Andrew Cuomo were speaking well of Trump, lauding the president for his cooperation in the fight against the virus. Trump was lavish in his praise, demonstrating the feeling was mutual.

Then, the roof fell in, at least on Cuomo’s part. He started by attacking Trump for not delivering enough equipment (hospital beds, ventilators, and so forth) but then let loose on the president as if he were a dictator for suggesting the possibility of quarantining New York and its neighboring states.

In probability, Trump, president of 50 states, was just trying to prevent the spread of the disease. But the president evidently (and wisely, in my view) didn’t want to get into a fight with New York’s governor. The idea was quickly passed off to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a “recommendation” not to travel. But Cuomo had treated it as Armageddon, even “un-American.” Why?

Politics again, I submit. Cuomo was getting whispers from his party that he was too close to the president and, more importantly, his name was being bandied about as a possible president himself, now that the Biden campaign was luffing.

A possible president doesn’t consort with the enemy (i.e., the incumbent) in 21st-century politically obsessed America, pandemic or no. He attacks him, no matter what.

As for the media, they are, if anything, worse than the politicians. Forget reporting the news. They see their job as playing “gotcha” on as many levels as possible. On the most primitive, we have seen it writ large with the White House press that take a rote (and virtually brainless) adversarial stance at every presidential press conference.

But even on the supposedly more sophisticated levels (e.g., Tapper, Chris Wallace), it’s about setting subtle traps that ultimately reward the journalist with a scalp. So the media fans the politics pandemic, spreading it further.

As we know, these political hatreds in our society have been with us for some time, rupturing workplaces, friends, and family. It’s a game that we can play or not. Better yet, we can keep it in its proper place and not let it take over every aspect of our lives. That’s something we can learn during the pandemic that will reward us afterward.

Roger L. Simon is The Epoch Times’ senior political columnist. His most recent novel is the well-reviewed “The GOAT.” Set in the world of big-time tennis, and unlike much of his writing, it is almost entirely apolitical.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.