Two Views on Where Trump Stands

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RUSH: There are two different pieces, columns, articles that I wish to share with you today to show you the contrast in attitude and apprehension that exists among Trump supporters — or, better stated, supporters of America, supporters of the American economy, people who understand and realize that we have to open it, that this whole notion of…

You know, the idea of flattening the curve? I have a couple of stories, “We didn’t flatten the curve nearly as much as we need to flatten the curve. It’s not nearly enough.” Flattening the curve was not a solution to anything other than preventing overrun hospitals, and there weren’t any overrun hospitals. There weren’t even overrun hospitals in New York.

The hospital beds that were built for Andrew Cuomo were not necessary. He didn’t use them. The ventilators that he demanded? He end up getting more than he needed. The crisis as measured by those metrics never met the apocalyptic forecasts. So the circumstances under which we have been told, “We gotta flatten the curve, flatten the curve!”

All that was ever gonna do was prolong, what? Not the suffering. It was not going to eliminate cases. It was not gonna speed up a reduction in cases. It was not gonna do that. It was not gonna reduce the number of people who died. The only reason for flattening the curve — i.e., social distancing and keeping you home. The only reason for that was to see to it that fewer people got sick right now so that they would not overwhelm the hospital system.

The hospital system wasn’t overwhelmed. It never came close to being overwhelmed nationwide, and it really… In New York state and New York City, with just a couple of outlier examples, not even there was it stressed to the degree that we were told was possible. So the bending the curve, flattening the curve? Yeah, it’s great for people that want to keep you in the home and theoretically limit the spread.

But all we’re doing is delay the spread of the disease by keeping people at home. If you look at and try to define normal behavior, staying at home all day and not going to work and losing your job and not having money, that’s what’s not normal — and that, thus, cannot be sustained.

Getting up, going to work, earning a living, advancing your career, doing those kinds of things — going out and about and living life — is what is normal. And so the request has always been in the name of flattening the curve for everybody to live abnormally, and it cannot be sustained. People aren’t going to do it.

You see now there are revolts — most of them in Democrat states — against Democrat governors who are getting a little taste of their autocratic power and they’re tightening down on everything. And these protests, thank goodness for them. It shows that America is still alive and well. The America that wants to work, the America that wants to be productive, the America that’s willing to take risks and adapt is alive and well.

Now, these two pieces that eventually I’m going to share excerpts from. One’s by Kimberley Strassel at the Wall Street Journal. The headline to her piece: “Moving the Shutdown Goalposts — Liberals try to set Trump up to take the blame for any further coronavirus deaths.” Now, her piece features many points that we have been forecasting here all week, that whatever bad news there is after the reopening happens, including COVID-19 deaths, you know damn well they’re gonna blame it on Trump.

He knows they’re gonna blame it on him. The first death is going to be a medal winner! The media is going to treat them as though they have… Well, you can imagine the coverage that’s going to happen. She thinks… Her piece is devoted to how the Democrats are laying a trap for Trump and that Trump had better manage expectations.

He’d better not fall into this trap. You better tell people it’s gonna be slow going. He better stop this business that we’re gonna come back fast and stronger than ever. He’d better not do that because the Democrats are laying a trap. And I know this point of view is something many of you share. As lifelong Republicans, you are ready to be betrayed.

You’re ready for your leaders to be outsmarted. It happens seemingly every time you elect somebody you really like. And this is a continuation of that belief. That Trump, he better on the lookout. The Democrats are setting a trap! See, I think the truth is that Trump has management a massively successfully operation. I just got through saying how masterful I think this is.

It has been a brilliantly conceived strategy, this task force, the daily brief, the progress they’ve made. It has totally achieved its goals. And the Democrats know that. They’re the ones that have to redefine the goalposts. They’re the ones that have to move them. They’re the ones have to make it… Trump doesn’t have to. So I think Ms. Strassel’s piece, while worthwhile and useful, is…

Well, for my tastes — and I may be missing her point. But it’s a little too (sigh) potentially fatalistic. I don’t think she is, but she’s warning of the things that go wrong. The other piece is by somebody equally as pro-American, equally as pro-American economy, somebody who literally admires Donald Trump, and that’s Conrad Black from Canada.

His piece is all about how Trump is running rings around his opposition. “Political Elite Plays Its Last Card — Joe Biden is just a muddled amalgam of 40 years at the public trough, an arthritic wheelhorse in a machine that has broken down.” Conrad Black doesn’t think there’s any way the Democrats can outsmart Trump. He doesn’t think there’s any way the Democrats are gonna beat Trump.

He doesn’t think with Biden or whoever that the Democrats… He doesn’t believe in the formidable nature of the Democrats. He thinks they have been reduced to embarrassingly shallow and shoddy tactics that, for once, average Americans who don’t pay regular attention to the news and stuff can finally see. He thinks they’re imploding.

So these two pieces: One uber-positive (and Conrad always is) versus one that’s very cautiously optimistic, very, “Let’s not get ahead of the ourselves here. A lot could still go wrong! Trump could still be outmaneuvered,” da-da-da-da-da.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Now, let me get to these two competing pieces I mentioned in the first hour, ’cause I want to share with you the different levels of anxiety or — not pessimism, but — caution versus genuine, real optimism.

And let me go first with Kimberley Strassel’s piece in the Wall Street Journal today. I think it was posted late last night. Now, the title of Kim Strassel’s piece today, “Moving the Shutdown Goal Posts – Liberals try to set Trump up to take the blame for any further coronavirus deaths.”

We know that’s gonna happen. That’s easily predictable. She thinks that the Democrats are laying a trap for Trump and that Trump needs to be very wary of it. She thinks Trump needs to very honestly manage expectations, that Trump needs to be front and center with the American people about the pitfalls of opening up, that there could be more deaths and there could be more infections and that the rate of economic growth may take a while to rev up.

You know, Trump’s out there saying, “I think it’s gonna be faster, I think it’s gonna be bigger, I think it’s gonna be bigger than anybody thinks. I don’t think anybody’s gonna have ever seen anything like it.” Typical Trump. She thinks that’s dangerous because it’s raising expectations. I think Trump has managed a massively successful operation. I think the way he has run — you know, true leaders, true leaders do not bash their teams. Not in public. True leaders don’t make up excuses for shortcomings. So far during all of this, Donald Trump has exuded confidence.

There’s no substitute for it in terms of its infectious and pervasive nature. He exudes confidence. He respects the people who are the best at what they do. Look. He chose the people on this task force. He chose Pence to lead it. He wants Fauci and the Scarf Queen on this task force. He’s not going to bash them unless they turn on him. That’s always the recipe. Trump doesn’t bash anybody until they hit him. And if they or anyone hits him, then look out. But he doesn’t bash them.

And he’s not going to turn on Fauci. He’s not gonna turn on anybody on this team. Not publicly. Because doing so would make him look bad, make him look like a lousy leader, make him look like he had picked bad people. Whenever he thinks he’s made a mistake, he fixes it. He thinks he made a mistake with Jeff Sessions, for example. He knows he made a mistake with Rosenstein. He knows he made a mistake not firing Comey sooner.

So Kim Strassel, pull quote: “What’s missing from the White House reopening plan–and what is urgently required–is management of expectations. The administration needs to keep reminding the country of the original mission–to flatten the curve. And it needs to define quickly its own measure of success.”

Her point is we have not given up flattening the curve no matter what else we’re doing. If we’re reopening, we still want to keep going on flattening the curve. And Trump, she thinks, needs to quickly go out and tell everybody what success here looks like. How many businesses open, how many people going back to work, what kind of businesses are open, how many states do reopen, things like beaches, whatever.

She believes that Trump needs, rather than just turning everything over to the governors, he needs to define, he needs to set the definitions of success so that others can’t. Don’t leave it to the media to proclaim him a failure because he didn’t establish any measure of success. Another pull quote from Kim Strassel.

“The Trump administration has become a victim of its own success. The guidelines did flatten the curve. As ugly as the outbreak has been, even New York City and other hot spots have had enough ventilators.” As ugly as it’s been, there hasn’t been a shortage of ventilators. People who needed them got them.

“Numerous emergency field hospitals ended up sitting empty.” Yet they were built based on these projections in the model. “The lockdown has been so effective that it has allowed Mr. Trump’s political opponents to lay out a false narrative of what counts as ‘victory.’ The political cynicism is extraordinary.”

She has a lifetime of studying and chronicling Democrat Party political deceit. And so her fear is that they are gonna be able, with the media, to outrun Trump at every political turn if Trump and his team are not careful. “The lockdown has been so effective,” at flattening the curve and limiting the spread of the disease and making sure ventilators got where they needed to go, “that it has allowed Mr. Trump’s political opponents to lay out a false narrative of what counts as ‘victory.’”

She doesn’t specify it. The next pull quote. “The left intends to make reopening it far harder,” than it should be. The Democrat Party, the American left are going to “lace it with political risk by raising the bar for ‘success’ to fantasy heights.

“‘Speaker Nancy Pelosi lashed President Donald Trump during a private call with her caucus Monday, saying he was putting Americans in grave danger if he rushes to reopen the economy at the end of this month,’ reported Politico this week. The article laid out Mrs. Pelosi’s requirement: Until a robust ‘testing and contact tracing’ system is in place, ‘it would be impossible for the president to guarantee Americans a safe reentry into their normal life.’”

See, so she set the bar here. Safe reentry. Nothing’s gonna happen to you. You can go back to work and everybody’s gonna be safe. Nobody’s saying that. Trump is not saying that. But she’s pointing out that this is how Pelosi is defining it. She’s already accusing Trump of assuring people of this. And it allows her to say, “No. We should not reopen because Trump can’t make it safe. It isn’t gonna be safe.” They don’t want the economy up and running because they don’t want Trump benefiting from it. They want to benefit from an economic shutdown.

“By these standards, no lockdown may end until the Trump administration can ‘guarantee’ a ‘safe’ world in which people return to ‘normal.’” And no such guarantee could be made because no such safe world exists short of a vaccine. So that’s what she means by they’re setting an impossible high bar. Trump had better manage the expectation. He better not let the Democrats get away with this.

Okay. So that’s one way of looking at this. Conrad Black, on the other hand, is the eternal optimist.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Okay, the Conrad Black piece. Ah, many of you thought I wasn’t gonna be able to get it in. By the way, I got a couple emails. “Hey, look if I can go have sex with a stranger — if Dr. Fauci says that’s okay — then I can sure as hell go sit on the beach with some people.”

Anyway, Conrad Black, writing in American Greatness it: “Political Elite Plays Its Last Card.” He believes the Democrat Party is imploding, that they’re a bunch of incompetents — and, yeah, you have to be wary of them. They’re the opposition. But they’re not invincible and they’re not running the show and they’re not gonna outsmart Donald Trump.

Donald Trump is fearless. He’s not frightened by these people, and has no reason to act that way. He writes, “Then the coronavirus epidemic miraculously appeared, just when all hope seemed lost. [The Democrats] lunged to seize their last, best, chance. They accused the president of responding to the virus frivolously, but he shaped up quickly and got ahead of the play by shutting down direct flights from China on January 31.

“Then Democrats and their abettors in the press accused Trump of ignoring science, which was quickly aggregated up to an accusation of being an anti-science know-nothing. He dodged that one by setting up a task force, officially led by the vice president, and packed with unquestionable experts in the relevant fields of public health administration and infectious diseases.

“There was a general consensus for a drastic shutdown to break the momentum of the pandemic, to ‘flatten the curve.’ The Democrats and their media partisans whipped up a state of panic and conjured a virtual Old Testament plague that mortally threatened everyone. The media and public hysteria were such that the president had to put himself at the head of the scientists, allow the wild statistical modeling that forecast horrifying numbers of fatalities to grip the nation, shut the country down, and then as the virus responded to the draconian measures taken to slow it, take the credit for containing the illness.

“The Democrats then demanded a prolonged shutdown to assure an economic depression that would destroy the president’s greatest reelection argument: prosperity, which his policies had generated… But the United States has 700 people unemployed by the response to the coronavirus for every fatality that it has caused, 18 million newly unemployed as of Wednesday.

“The average age of the deceased is almost 80 and the unemployed are people in their prime, many with young families. Trump and his Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, stole the Democrats’ thunder with a $6 trillion financial assistance and liquidity package…”

He goes on to talk about how every effort the Democrats have made to undermine Trump, he has turned the table on them and will continue to do so, that they are imploding and are a hapless bunch of people that pose the greatest threat to the country, not Trump.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: I don’t think there’s anything the Democrats could throw at Trump to get him off course. He’s used to it. He knows what they’re capable of. He has beat them back, everything they have thrown at him, and he’ll beat this back.

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