Suddenly, (Some) Republicans Are All In on the Vaccine

Susan Glasser, The New Yorker, reports:

Since the end of the Trump Presidency, Republicans have been ratcheting up the doom-and-gloom quotient in their rhetoric. By this spring, they settled on a narrative of permanent crisis—to be blamed on President Biden, of course. There was the Biden Border Crisis. The Crime Crisis. The Inflation Crisis and its corollary, the High-Gas-Price Crisis. The Critical-Race-Theory Crisis. Even, this week, the Ben & Jerry’s-Is-Mean-to-Israel Crisis. America under Biden, to hear them tell it, has become a hellscape of disasters. In June, the House Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, issued a letter to his colleagues. “Our country is in crisis,” he declared. “Republicans stand against the impending malaise and stand for a greatness that we reached just a few years ago.” The one crisis that Republicans have tended not to mention is the actual one—that is, the pandemic. When Republican politicians have focussed on covid in recent months, it’s often been to give Donald Trump credit for the vaccines, while simultaneously accusing the Biden Administration of forcing those same vaccines on unwilling Americans.

So it was more than a bit surprising to see some Republicans this week kinda, sorta, maybe embrace a different message. The Louisiana congressman Steve Scalise, the House’s No. 2 Republican, posed for a photo of himself getting a vaccine shot, many months after he was eligible, and urged others to do the same. “Get the vaccine,” Scalise said, at a press conference on Thursday. “I have high confidence in it. I got it myself.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a polio survivor who was never on board with his party’s vaccine denialists and anti-maskers, warned, during his own press conference: either get vaccinated or get ready for more lockdowns. “This is not complicated,” McConnell said. Fox News, which, along with Facebook, has been among the country’s premier platforms for vaccine disinformation in recent months, started promoting a new get-vaccinated public-service announcement. Its prime-time star, the Trump confidant Sean Hannity, stared straight into the camera on Monday night and said, “It absolutely makes sense for many Americans to get vaccinated.”

(click here to continue reading Suddenly, (Some) Republicans Are All In on the Vaccine | The New Yorker.)

Covid Vaccines

I dunno, can you really trust a Republican to do the right thing for humanity? Even once? For instance, Sean Hannity has already denied he told anyone to get vaccinated because, paraphrased since I’m not interested in looking at his face this morning, “I never told anyone to get vaccinated because I’m not a health care professional”. 

The cynical answer to this conservative flip-flop is that1 some GOP political consultant did the math and wrote a warning memo to members of the party who are able to read. If thousands, or millions of conservatives die then some close “purple” Congressional districts will vote Democratic members into office, not to mention Fox News ratings will tumble if their viewers are on respirators or in funeral parlors and unable to control the remote. 

The real question is will this new pro-vaccine message penetrate the conservative base’s consciousness? Honestly, the base has to be pretty gullible and easy to lead if they believed in nonsense like Obama is from Kenya, and Jade Helm, and that Hillary Clinton & Bill Gates has a secret pedophile ring in the basement of a Washington pizza restaurant, and whatever the gazillion other ridiculous conspiracies were. So maybe they will quickly forget months of these same talking heads arguing the exact opposite? Freedom! 

But influential falsehood spreaders like Tucker Carlson and Joseph Mercola haven’t switched yet, thus I’m not sure what Brittany Johnson2 of Little Rock, AR will do – will she continue sharing fake news about 5G cell towers and mRNA on Facebook? Or will she get a vaccine before she is hospitalized? Is she still going to mindlessly chant, “lock her up” at the next Trump rally? Or tell people that keys stick to her forehead?

Only time and hospital bed availability numbers will tell…

COVID19 Risk by county 2021 07 23
COVID19 Risk by county 2021-07-23.PNG via NYT

Footnotes:
  1. probably []
  2. a made up name []

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