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Louis DeBroux / Mar. 18, 2020

With Coronavirus, Leftists Angry Trump Not ‘Literally Hitler’

Those who are dependent on the nanny state are inclined to blame the nanny state.

The cognitive dissonance from the anti-Trump Left regarding the federal response to the coronavirus has been fascinating to watch. It’s a simultaneous display of rhetorical contradictions and civic ignorance.

On the one hand, “progressive” Democrats have screeched for three years that President Donald Trump is “literally Hitler,” a modern-day fascist tyrant consolidating complete federal power into his own hands.

Yet today, those same leftists excoriate President Trump for … not exerting dictatorial powers to deal decisively with the COVID-19 pandemic.

These are, of course, the same people who condemned President Trump in January for shutting down travel from China — a decision they called “racist” and “xenophobic.” Can you imagine the outrage from these critics had President Trump at that same time enforced a nationwide lockdown?

“It might seem hyperbolic to compare the U.S. government to a failed state that cannot project its authority or adequately ensure the safety of its population,” The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson opines. “But for much of the past month, the White House has shown an inability to do either.”

Thompson continues, “It is, above all, a test for the state. Only the national government can oversee the response to a national outbreak by coordinating research on the nature of the disease. Only the state can ensure the national regulation and accuracy of testing. … Throughout the world, the most effective responses to the historic threat of the coronavirus have come from state governments. … But in the United States, the pandemic has devolved into a kind of grotesque caricature of American federalism.”

Yet isn’t the cause of this global pandemic rooted in the fact that the Communist Chinese government, wielding the very kind of compulsive power Thompson advocates, completely bungled handling the virus upon its discovery, and then spent precious weeks downplaying and covering up the severity of the outbreak, while refusing to allow foreign experts to assist in controlling the spread of the virus?

And if what Mr. Trump’s critics claim is true — that his handling of the situation has been riddled with incompetence — then wouldn’t giving him dictatorial power to manage the situation only make the outcome far worse? Isn’t it a very good thing, if the criticisms of Trump are true, that individual governors, mayors, business owners, churches, and citizens have the capacity to act expeditiously in their own wisdom to minimize exposure to the virus and slow its spread?

It should be noted that the primary criticism of President Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was the administration having declined to use testing kits that had been quickly approved for use in other countries. In retrospect, that may have saved American lives. More than a month ago BBC News published an article investigating major flaws in the test kits being used by other countries. The BBC reported that “people are having up to six negative results before finally being diagnosed.”

What is worse? Delaying the rollout of test kits by a few weeks in order to ensure accurate results? Or sending thousands of infected people back to congregate among their families, churches, schools, and businesses, infecting countless others, all while thinking they are virus-free?

New York Times reporter Erica Green complained that Trump has “become a bystander as school superintendents, sports commissioners, college presidents, governors and business owners across the country take it upon themselves to shut down much of American life…”

Ignorance of the finer points of pandemic virology can be forgiven in an American journalist. Ignorance of the most fundamental aspects of the American form of republican government cannot.

The Constitution was specifically crafted to deny the president such a level of omnipotence. Green’s rebuke exposes the contempt for federalism she and her leftist cohorts exude.

The fact is that no president possesses the constitutional power to do what these progressive critics are demanding. And thank heaven! Do we really want the same government that couldn’t even manage a working ObamaCare website to have complete control over the response to this virus?

With no sense of irony, Thompson simultaneously demands President Trump act with absolute power in this emergency, condemns him for alleged incompetence, praises the response of the private sector, and says that the private sector should not be depended on in such a crisis.

Over the last week, numerous governors and mayors have taken a range of steps to slow the spread of the virus, from requests for voluntary “social distancing” to mandated closure of schools and businesses. They have done so based on the specific risks and needs of their states and communities. These actions have come from the ground up, demanded by local constituencies.

This is the very essence of federalism. One-size-fits-all policy doesn’t work in a nation of 330 million people scattered across 50 states. Top-down edicts are often counterproductive.

Thank heaven our Founding Fathers understood that, and thank heaven for a president today who respects it.

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