The abject failure of Republicanism—you cannot call it conservatism at this point, whatever that term once meant is null and void now—can be seen in nearly every detail of this nation’s failed pandemic response. Scientists and public health experts ignored, or demeaned; institutional planning efforts shunned in favor of the partisan instincts of a seemingly unending list of designated incompetents; everything from testing to messaging in absolute shambles.
The only remaining instinct appears to be reflexive, twitching racism.
Yet again, every White House and Senate Republican meeting still seems to go something like this:
“Well, we’re getting hammered for the latest incompetent or uncaring thing we did in full view of everybody, and blaming the press didn’t work. Ideas?”
“Yeah, gotta go with racism on this one.”
“No fair, I was going to say that too.”
And so we get travel bans, long after the virus has already travelled. We get attempts to rebrand the virus the “China virus”, to give the party’s ignorant yahoos something to focus their ire on while Dear Leader upturns actual government response efforts to focus instead on supplying lupus medication somebody somewhere heard good things about or muse about how maybe we should try to get the healing power of sunlight involved here, but put it inside people somehow.
That brings us to Sen. Tom Cotton, one of innumerable poster children for Republican Party decay, a man who would have to go to college for the next ten years to elevate himself anywhere near dumb as a post territory. Posts are useful. You can hang a sign from a post. You can hang a sign warning, for example, to beware the raging idiot lurking just behind the post. You cannot hang a sign from Tom Cotton. He wouldn’t stand for it. It’s the one goddamn thing in life he might turn out to be good at, and yet he refuses.
On Fox News this morning, actual Republican Senator Tom Cotton was not able to provide many ideas on how to make the Donald Trump Memorial Coronavirus Pandemic Response suck ever so slightly less. He was, however, eager to froth that what we really need to do around here is ban Chinese students who come to America from learning about science.
Because, you see, the “Chinese Communist Party” wants to be “the country that claims credit” for finding an eventual vaccine for the virus, and so are looking to steal that vaccine from us, if we developmentate it first. That plot includes science-minded Chinese Communist students, who are coming to America to “steal our property” and “design weapons and other devices that can be used against the American people.”
“So I think we need to take a very hard look at the visas we give Chinese nationals to come to the U.S. to study, especially at the postgraduate level, in advanced scientific and technological fields,” says the still-unsigned Tom Cotton.
“You know, if Chinese students want to come here and study Shakespeare and the Federalist Papers, that’s what they need to learn from America. They don’t need to learn quantum computing and artificial intelligence from America.”
"If Chinese students want to come here and study Shakespeare & the Federalist Papers, that's what they need to learn from America. They don't need to learn quantum computing" — Sen. Tom Cotton proposes restricting Chinese students from studying science & tech at US universities pic.twitter.com/Sn6f6MMwtW
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 26, 2020
There is a lot that could be said about this. On the plus side, Cotton doesn’t leave you guessing on his xenophobic theories, he hangs it out there for all to see. On the minus side, he for some reason seems to credit America with “Shakespeare.” That is either yet another sign of his gobsmacking stupidity, or Cotton equating “America” with anything white and English-speaking, or both.
And then there’s the question of whether we intend to withhold an eventual vaccine from China, even assuming we are the nation that first produces one. Or what Cotton’s stance would be if China withheld a China-developed vaccine from us.
Whatever the case, the stupidest people in America, Republicans one and all, continue to take take action on the street against any American who might look Asian and who therefore has now been hastily scrawled into the Republican Party’s enemies list. We have two pandemics going on right now: stupidity was the first, and the virus is the second. To halt the first, social distancing should suffice. To halt the second we might need to quarantine the Republican base en masse.
We should do it sooner rather than later, as well, or Tom Cotton’s pissant little brain thoughts are almost certainly going to get someone killed.
He won’t care if that happens, of course. He intends to put a target on Chinese students; he intends them to be the new Republican scapegoats of the day.
But the rest of us should.