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Opinion | Covid Isn’t Finished Messing With Politics

Gail: I do like imagining you walking around town with a Bernie button.

Bret: Let’s not take this too far! Hopefully it will work out differently. Bill Clinton managed to straighten out his presidency after a terrible start that included the Black Hawk Down incident in Somalia and the failure of Hillary Clinton’s health care plan. But that means tacking back toward the center. If I were Ron Klain, the White House chief of staff, I’d be quietly pushing Nancy Pelosi to pass a “clean” $1 trillion infrastructure bill that gives the president the big bipartisan win that he really needs now.

Gail: … and has all the stuff that you like.

Bret: As for his $3.5 trillion social-spending behemoth, he might consider breaking up the bill into separate items of legislation to bring the headline price tag down. If this stuff is as popular as progressives claim, they should be able to score some legislative victories piece by piece.

Gail: Sounds reasonable outside the reality of our modern-day Congress, in which the idea of passing more than one bill on anything seems way, way more difficult than firing a shuttle into space.

Bret: In the meantime, we’ve got a recall election coming up in California, for which polling shows Governor Newsom will likely survive. I’m not Newsom’s biggest fan, but the whole idea of recall elections seems … unsound.

Gail: Yeah, California makes it relatively easy to gather enough signatures for a recall vote, and this is a good example of why that’s bad. Newsom has been one of the strongest governors when it comes to pandemic-fighting, and while that’s great, the restrictions have been around for so long it’s left a lot of people feeling really cranky.

Bret: I’m making my quizzical face. Go on.

Gail: Then we had one of the worst political errors in recent American political history, when Newsom snuck off to a very fancy restaurant for a maskless birthday dinner for a lobbyist pal. Who wouldn’t have muttered “this guy has to go?”

Bret: It was also emblematic of out-of-touch California elites who live on a totally different planet from the one in which there’s a housing crisis, a homelessness crisis, an affordability crisis, an addiction crisis, a pension crisis, a schooling crisis, a power-outage crisis, a wildfires crisis, a water-shortage crisis, and maybe even another Kardashian crisis — all in a state that’s under almost complete Democratic Party control.

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