Editor’s Note: Say What? is the segment of Liberty Nation Radio where we unveil some of the most wacky, astonishing, and damnable things uttered by politicians and the chattering class.
Tim Donner: How much is enough in COVID relief for Americans who’ve lost their jobs during the pandemic? The bargaining continues on Capitol Hill between Republicans trying to hold the line on profligate spending with a national debt now approaching an almost unthinkable $30 trillion, and Democrats looking to spend about three times as much as Republicans, almost $2 billion. Typifying the liberal approach to most every issue, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said this is no time to think small.
Chuck Schumer: It makes no sense to pinch pennies when so many Americans are struggling. The risk of doing too little is far greater than the risk of doing too much.
Tim: That’s the argument the left makes on almost every issue — throw as much money as possible at the problem. The question now is whether the Democrats will try to ram through their super-sized COVID relief bill with or without support from skeptical Republicans. Leftist icon Bernie Sanders sent out encouraging signals about working with the GOP but said substantial relief is needed right now for victims of the pandemic.
Bernie Sanders: We all want bipartisanship, and I think you’re going to see more of it as we move down the pike. You’re going to see bipartisanship on infrastructure. There a lot of Republicans who are outraged by the high cost of prescription drugs in this country. We pay ten times more than other countries for certain drugs. We all got to look forward to working with Republicans. But right now, this country faces an unprecedented set of crises.
Tim: Those would be the so-called four crises outlined by Joe Biden in his inaugural address: the pandemic, the economy, climate change, and racial injustice. The new president has been rolling out new policies across the board designed to present as stark a contrast as possible to former President Donald Trump. Biden’s top economic adviser Brian Deese continued the theme of the new administration’s crisis management reflected in the Democrats’ proposed relief package.
Brian Deese: We just lived through the worst economic year since the demobilization in the wake of World War II. Just this week, a million more Americans filed claims for unemployment insurance, 30 million Americans reported they didn’t have enough food to eat. We’re in a unique crisis, and the elements of this plan really were designed and are designed to take on that crisis head on. How are we going to get shots in people’s arms? How are we going to get schools reopened so parents can get back to work? How are we going to provide that direct relief to those families and those businesses that are struggling the most?
Tim: Meanwhile, as much as things are changing on the domestic front, the change in administrations promises to alter the international landscape in equally profound ways. Job one is how to deal with China, after Trump called out the Chinese as never before, and challenged it on trade and intellectual property theft, among the other things. And the new Secretary of State Antony Blinken tried to talk tough while justifying a return to the old ways and back into international institutions like the World Health Organization, viewed with skepticism at best by his predecessor.
Antony Blinken: We have to be able to approach China from a position of strength, not weakness. That strength, I think, comes from having strong alliances, something China does not have, actually engaging in the world and showing up in these international institutions because, when we pull back, China fills in and then they’re the ones writing the rules and setting the norms for these institutions.
Tim: On Russia, Blinken said the recent crackdown — mass arrests ordered by Vladimir Putin on the supporters of his jailed political enemy Alexei Navalny, which Putin tried to somehow blame on the United States — signals trouble ahead.
Antony Blinken: It’s about the government. It’s about the frustration that the Russian people have with corruption, with kleptocracy. I think they need to look inward, not outward, and hopefully take into account what they’re hearing from their own people. Mr. Navalny is giving expression to the voices of millions and millions of Russians and that’s what this is about.
Tim: You’d almost think he was talking about Trump and the millions he gave voice to here in the United States.
Back on the home front, conservatives frustrated by the increasing censorship by big tech have been seeking a champion for their cause and may have found one in Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who’s proposed a first-in-the-nation bill based on the absurdity that big tech can actively suppress conservative speech while he and other politicians have their feet held to the fire on simple things like a campaign picnic.
Ron DeSantis: They have me over. We buy food, we buy some signs. I give a speech. We have to account for all of that because that’s helping me further my candidacy. But yet they could potentially de-platform the opposing candidate. They could suppress the message, and that’s just something that is somehow okay and free from that. I don’t think so. I think we need to hold them accountable.
Tim: And so, DeSantis has proposed legislation to fine social media companies 100 grand if they de-platform a political candidate. It empowers users to sue a social media company if they’ve been treated unfairly. It allows Florida’s attorney general to bring anti-monopoly cases against tech companies. DeSantis reintroduced the issue surrounding the son of the new president, which the left has determined must not be mentioned.
Ron DeSantis: Hunter Biden’s story was true, okay? We now know it was true. The typical corporate media outlets, they just chose to ignore it. Obviously, they wanted to beat Trump. They had a view on the election. They didn’t want to give it any air. So we rely on social media to go around that, not let corporate legacy media outlets control the discourse and let us speak. So you had the New York Post to run it and you couldn’t get any traction. You couldn’t get any reach on it because big tech put its thumb on the scale.
Tim: DeSantis may be the leading edge of the re-emergence of the America First Movement post-Trump. One of the targets for Trump supporters is Liz Cheney — congresswoman from Wyoming, daughter of the former vice president — who voted to impeach Trump a second time. Trumpists like Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida are visiting Wyoming, talking up their efforts to challenge Cheney in a GOP primary, and reigniting the message of making America great again.
Matt Gaetz: Wyoming is a great place. These are great people. They love America. They love freedom and they deserve a representative who will actually represent them. Liz Cheney is out of touch with Wyoming. She’s out of touch with the Republican Party and she should be removed from her leadership position in Congress … The policies of President Trump work. When we lower taxes, when we reduce our engagement in foreign wars, when we invest in our people, our country does better. So we don’t have to have an esoteric conversation. We can actually look at the data and we can look at the progress of our people. I don’t believe the Republican Party should stand to invade everywhere and invite everyone across our borders illegally for big business. I think we ought to stand for the working men and women of the country.
Tim: That sounds like the new blueprint for the Republican Party circa 2021.
Read more from Tim Donner.