Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a CNN Medical Analyst, said last week, "A surprising amount of death will occur soon..." But why, when the deadly Delta variant is sweeping the world, are Republicans and their media warning people not to get vaccinated?
There's always a reason. People don't do things — particularly things involving a lot of effort and a need for consistency — without a reason. It just doesn't happen. No matter how bizarre, twisted or dysfunctional the reason may be, there's always a reason.
Dr. Anthony Fauci told Jake Tapper on CNN last Sunday, "I don't have a really good reason why this [unwillingness to get vaccinated] is happening."
But even if he can't think of a reason why Republicans would trash talk vaccination and people would believe them, it's definitely there.
Which is why it's important to ask a couple of simple questions that all point to the actual reason why Republicans and their media are discouraging people from getting vaccinated:
1. Why did Trump get vaccinated in secret after Joe Biden won the election and his January 6th coup attempt failed?
2. Why are Fox "News" personalities discouraging people from getting vaccinated while refusing to say if they and the people they work with have been protected by vaccination?
3. Why was one of the biggest applause lines at CPAC: "They were hoping — the government was hoping — that they could sort of sucker 90% of the population into getting vaccinated and it isn't happening!"
4. Why are Republican legislators in states around the country pushing laws that would "ban" private businesses from asking to see proof of vaccination status (they call it "banning vaccine passports")?
5. Why, when President Biden suggested sending volunteers door-to-door into low-vaccination communities to let people know how and where they could get vaccinated, did rightwing media go nuts about "government thugs" coming to your door to "force" vaccines on you?
6. Why are about half of all the Republicans in Congress refusing to say if they've gotten a vaccine or not? For that matter, why do the CPAC speakers who are trashing vaccines refuse to say if they're vaccinated or not?
7. Why would a Newsmax host trash-talk vaccines saying, "I feel like a vaccination in a weird way is just generally kind of going against nature"?
8. Why did Republican Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota downplay the dangers of Covid last week by bragging that she never shut her state down (and Ron DeSantis did) when SD has 230 Covid deaths per 100,000 people while similar low-population states like Vermont and Oregon are at 41 and 66 deaths per 100,000 respectively?
I hope I'm proven wrong on this, but the only possible explanation I can see for all this activity that seems so well-coordinated and largely consistent is that they all think there's something in it for them. And what might that be?
Political power. And, of course, the eventual wealth that often comes with political power, particularly corrupt power. Retired Republicans make a lot of money.
Put simply, I believe these Republicans are trying to promote outbreaks of Covid in America to soften or damage Joe Biden's red-hot economy on the assumption that if the economy tanks then people will vote out Democrats and vote in Republicans in 2022 and 2024.
As Pat Buchanan wrote today: "Are the Democrats headed for their Little Bighorn, with President Joe Biden as Col. Custer? The wish, you suggest, is father to the thought."
They're not just willing to let tens or hundreds of thousands of Americans die just to win the next two elections, they're actively encouraging that outcome.
Death is their electoral strategy.
Is there any other possible explanation?
They're not stupid (although they're banking on their audience being, at least, poorly informed) and most have college degrees (and Lauren Boebert finally got her GED). Even if a few of them fell down the Facebook or YouTube rabbit hole into anti-vaxxer territories, they still have no shortage of actual medical experts and staffers who know how to use Google available to them.
It's remotely possible they just hate and want to damage the US, and a few who are pushing vaccine "hesitancy" like Ron Johnson and John Kennedy recently celebrated the 4th of July in Moscow, but it's unlikely that they'd take the chance of coordinating with a foreign power to kill Americans (even if much of the foreign troll activity on social media is also trashing vaccines to American social media users).
A bizarre faux masculinity could be behind it, the way Trump tried to promote the idea that only wimps wear masks, but, seriously, do you really think these folks are taking fashion/appearance tips from an obese geriatric guy with a huge comb-over who wears absurd amounts of makeup, contacts, men's diapers and false teeth? And what's "masculine" about slowly dying by drowning in your own snot? Or becoming unable to get an erection, as happens to a significant number of men who get Covid?
It's certainly not fear of, or concern about, the vaccine itself; whether they'll admit it or not, virtually all of these Republicans and media stars telling people to be afraid of getting a shot have been secretly vaccinated themselves, just like Trump and his family were in January. As CNN Medical Analyst, Dr. Jonathan Reiner, said, "Over 100 members of Congress, all of them GOP members, refuse to tell their constituents whether they have been vaccinated. They've all been vaccinated, every single one of those characters have been vaccinated."
This also has nothing to do with "conservative" ideology. Vaccination has been a part of the American landscape since George Washington ordered his troops inoculated against smallpox during the Revolutionary war, and Republican President Dwight Eisenhower (and his VP, Richard Nixon) had schoolchildren across the nation get the polio vaccine in the 1950s (I was one of them who lined up in school to get it and remember it well).
As California governor, Ronald Reagan oversaw a public school system that required vaccination for admission and conservatives like Bill Kristol and George W. Bush are proudly vaccinated against Covid. Mitch McConnell, who had polio as a child, said, "As a victim of polio myself, I'm a big fan of vaccinations, and if I were a parent who had a child … being subject to getting any particular disease, I would come down on the side of vaccinations." This is not about fearing or not understanding vaccines.
They're certainly not being paid by "big Pharma" to trash vaccines, and you can bet your last dollar that the billionaires who pay for big Republican events are not only themselves vaccinated but have made sure the entire staff of their multiple mansions, from the cooks to the pool boys to the masseuses and the live-in chefs are all vaccinated.
So, what's left?
Politics, and the power and money that derive from it.
The reason why Donald Trump spent much of 2020 desperately encouraging people to keep shopping and working was because he knew that when an economy collapses in the 18 months before an election, the party in power always loses.
In his desperation to get the economy back in shape, Trump even issued an executive order forcing mostly Black and Hispanic meat-packing and slaughterhouse employees back to work under threat of imprisonment.
But, sure enough, the economy tanked anyway and Democrats now control the White House, Senate and House of Representatives.
Thus, it appears that today's entire GOP strategy of encouraging "vaccine hesitancy" is to try to replicate that dynamic, to tank the economy, only this time in a way that works in favor of Republicans.
Encouraging Americans to die so they can win elections. That's how low today's GOP has sunk.
Thom Hartmann is a talk-show host and the author of The Hidden History of American Oligarchy and more than 30 other books in print. He is a writing fellow at the Independent Media Institute and his writings are archived at hartmannreport.com.This article was produced by Economy for All, a project of the Independent Media Institute.