Ross: Darwinian politics help to turn around US vaccinations
I was being interviewed on a British talk show, and the host, Nick Abbot, seemed most astounded by two things going on in America: that Donald Trump was still getting big audiences at his rallies, and number two, that so many Republicans were still refusing the vaccine – even though some of them have died as a result.
Trump’s rallies are easy to explain. He’s entertaining and he knows what his audience wants to hear.
But the vaccine issue is tougher because it was Trump who pushed Operation Warp Speed, which got an effective vaccine (actually three of them) ready in record time. In fact, back in December, when Biden got vaccinated as president-elect, he mentioned that.
“The administration deserves some credit getting this off the ground with Operation Warp Speed,” Biden said.
So if you love Trump, why would you shun what is probably his crowning achievement?
Well, sure enough – finally, we are now seeing a turnaround.
With death counts rising among unvaccinated people in red states, Republican leaders like Mitch McConnell started pushing the vaccine. Even Fox hosts apparently realized their anti-vaccine approach was slowly exterminating their audience and did an about-face.
And then there’s Alabama Governor Kay Ivey. Now, it doesn’t get more conservative than Kay Ivey.
She signed a law making abortion illegal, no exceptions. She signed a law protecting confederate monuments, and issued an order allowing school administrators to carry guns in the classroom.
Now she says, get the vaccine.
“Folks supposed to have common sense, but it’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks, it’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down. … I can encourage you to do something, but I can’t make you take care of yourself,” Ivey said.
She’s invoking a traditional conservative argument: personal responsibility.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki actually pushed back, saying it’s not the role of state lawmakers “to place blame” for something like this. But you gotta do whatever works. Who do you think Alabamans are more likely to listen to: Jen Psaki or Kay Ivey?
“Folks supposed to have common sense.”
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