Portman nails Biden on relief package. Plus: Why downplay covid progress? Tiger life vs. golf talk.

By Gary Abernathy

Portman nails Biden for ignoring ‘bipartisan’ promise

Sen. Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, has a great column in today’s Washington Post nailing President Biden for failing to live up to his promise to bring an attitude of bipartisanship to his administration.

Portman, who I worked for during his first year in the Senate back in 2011, announced a few weeks ago he will not seek reelection next year. He particularly goes after Biden on the pending “covid relief package,” wherein Biden and his Democratic colleagues in Congress want to spend another $1.9 trillion, on top of more than $4 trillion spent so far. Portman and other Republicans have proposed a more targeted package of about $600 billion, but even though Biden met with Portman and the GOP group, he’s largely ignored negotiating on the subject, content to press forward with a purely partisan vote, if necessary, to enact the larger package.

Portman writes, “The Biden administration’s partisan approach repeats the same mistake that Barack Obama made early in his presidency. It sets the wrong tone for the beginning of a new administration and risks undermining other bipartisan efforts going forward.”

The senator adds, “Biden faces an early choice. He can act on the hopeful bipartisan rhetoric of his inaugural address — and his presidential campaign — or contradict that message by trying to jam a $1.9 trillion bill through reconciliation with no GOP support.” 

Frankly, with the economy cranking back up into high gear, it’s likely we would be just fine with no more spending at all. Plus, the $4 trillion we’ve already allocated is money that doesn’t exist, so we sure don’t have another $2 trillion. But that doesn’t seem to phase some people. When the money’s not real in the first place, what’s the problem?

Why downplay covid progress? Maybe because…

Speaking of covid, all signs point to the conclusion that the virus is quickly running its course. The World Health Organization reports that “global deaths from the coronavirus fell by 20 percent last week compared with the week before… -- part of a wider trend that also includes a decline in cases worldwide. The downturn in cases and deaths follows a winter surge in infections but also has coincided with an increase in vaccinations, particularly in the United States and Europe,” as reported in the Washington Post.

And yet, Dr. Anthony Fauci and others continue to insist that our “preventative” measures such as social distancing and mask wearing will probably have to last at least through the fall. That won’t happen, in part because it will soon seem obviously ridiculous to almost everyone, and in part because patience is wearing thin by people and businesses alike. But why are the “experts” saying such things?

One theory is that it’s better to seem overachieving than underachieving. In other words, set the bar high, and then do better than expected. The more cynical might suggest that if we recover too quickly, the Biden administration won’t get the credit, because clearly any changes made since Jan. 20 haven’t had time to have any real impact compared to what the Trump administration was doing. But if we let enough time go by – a few more months – before we announce the “all clear,” it can be said that we have the “new” policies of President Biden to thank for coming to our rescue.

Let’s pray for Tiger to live, and worry later about golf

Everyone has heard about the serious car crash involving golfer Tiger Woods on Tuesday. Woods is apparently recovering from a long surgery to repair serious damage to his legs.

What struck me is that within hours, stories popped up across the media speculating on how his injuries might impact his future as a golfer. For example, the Wall Street Journal has a story headlined, “Can Tiger Woods Come Back – Again – After His Car Crash?” Not picking on WSJ, because many others are doing it, too.

I’m not a big golf fan, nor a big follower of Tiger Woods. But how ‘bout we first hope and pray for him to live, or maybe to walk, before we start wagering on his ability to golf? Even though he’s out of surgery, there is always a serious risk of infection or other setbacks to recovery. We live in such an impatient world, moving thoughtlessly from life-threatening event to insensitive speculation.   

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