George Rebane, the closest thing to sophisticated thinking you’ll find among our motley collection of local conservatives, has been busy detailing the shortcomings of new President Joe Biden, aka Bumblebrain.
In his latest broadside (“Bumblebrain’s latest Big Lie,” Rebane’s Ruminations, Jan. 25), Rebane claims that Biden can’t deliver on his campaign promise to fix the shortcomings of Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the one thing that got him elected.
“…he has no plan of his own that is better than what President Trump achieved with both the historically rapid development of multiple vaccines (Project Warp Speed) (sic) and the meticulously planned distribution of the vaccines to the states using military logistics,” Rebane wrote in his broadside.
“(Biden) has admitted his Big Lie with ‘there’s nothing we can do to change the trajectory of the pandemic in the next several months.’ So on what he got elected, he can’t deliver.”
Rebane makes his case by employing the same tactics he says discredits the “lame stream” media: Ignoring the facts to advance his own narrative, and employing one the biggest sins of journalism, quoting a speaker out of context. But what do you expect from an avid viewer of Fox News?
For starters, Rebane gives Trump more credit than he deserves for rapid development of the two vaccines currently being used. Drug companies had already started work on a vaccine before Trump “launched” Operation Warp Speed (as Rebane keeps reminding us, companies are motivated by the animal spirits associated with capitalism), they took no upfront money from the government, and the rapid development of the vaccines had more to do with the application of mRNA science than any whip applied by the president.
In fact, they were so alarmed by Trump’s ham-handed approach the major drug companies pledged they wouldn’t be bullied by Trump into offering a vaccine before it was ready. They made this pledge publicly as a group (they rarely even talk to each other) and even bought advertising to drive home the message.
As for the “meticulously planned distribution of the vaccine,” initial deliveries to the states were 20% to 40% short of the quantities promised, creating confusion and delaying vaccinations. “The ripple effect is huge,” said Claire Hannon, executive director of the Association of Immunization Managers. “The planning piece is critical. We cannot role this vaccine out on the fly.”
So what happened to the military logistics implemented by the Trump administration? Well, General Gustave Pena, ceo of Operation Warp Speed, didn’t take into consideration the time it would take for the completed vaccinations to go through the Food and Drug Administration’s quality control certification, which must be completed 48 hours before the drug manufacturer can ship the batch.
“Where I failed—I failed, nobody else failed—is to have a clear understanding of that cadence,” General Pena said. (To his credit, he was willing to admit he was at fault, something you would never hear from Pena’s former commander in chief.)
But this is still an issue for Trump’s militarily precise distribution system. States continue to complain that they get short notice on how many vaccines they can expect in the next shipment, making it impossible to efficiently organize the administration of the vaccine.
Biden has promised to fix this problem by telling the states three weeks in advance how much vaccine they can expect. And that’s one example of how Biden will improve on Trump’s plan: Fixing the shortcomings of the ex-president’s botched effort.
We know the Trump administration passed on the chance to purchase an additional 100 million vaccinations before Pfizer started signing up other customers. Now Biden is pushing to purchase another 200 million doses to speed up vaccinations in the country.
We were told by the Trump administration that almost half of the vaccines were being held in reserve for the follow-up shots required. That turned out to be about the last lie we heard from the administration—no such reserves exited.
Then there were the directions the Trump administration gave to the states, which were then left on their own. “The biggest state mistakes so far have been adhering too much to the federal government’s initial guidance…,” as the Wall Street Journal noted in a recent editorial. “The federal government’s Jan. 12 decision to follow states and throw open eligibility to anyone over 65 is an admission that the feds were wrong.”
But what do you expect from an administration that played down the seriousness of the pandemic since the day it began, and was populated by White House officials who thought the whole thing was hoax that would disappear after Election Day.
Take the recent comments of Dr. Deborah Birx, who was the Trump administration’s coronavirus response coordinator. They took such little interest in her work that Birx was given no staff, her advice was ignored, Trump foisted “parallel” data on the public she had never seen, and her access to the media was severely restricted. Like Dr. Anthony Fauci, she was pressured to be more positive.
Thanks to Trump’s denigration of masks, his unwillingness to practice social distancing, and his promotion of quack remedies, we have turned a pandemic that should employ our best science to limit its spread into a political debate.
That’s why the United States has the most deaths of any country in the world, and Joe Biden has been handed the task of stopping an aircraft carrier that’s running at full throttle.
That’s what promoted Biden to level with the public and proclaim that “there’s nothing we can do to change the trajectory of the pandemic in the next several months.”
That’s not the admission of failure Rebane would have you believe. That statement was made in the context of the mess Biden has been handed.