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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

You can understand why Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) is bitter.

While Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) became Tea Party rock stars this year with high-profile but legislatively inconsequential filibusters, Rubio went from right-wing hero to RINO by risking his career to back a comprehensive immigration reform bill that actually passed the Senate.

Initially, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) was supportive of “the Republican Savior” as he tried to accomplish the only policy recommendation Republicans gave themselves in their 2012 election “autopsy.” But the GOP base as represented by the Tea Partiers in the House refused to let Speaker John Boehner even consider letting the Senate bill come up for a vote.

As the far right organized against what they called his “shamnesty” bill, Rubio saw his dream of locking up the 2016 GOP nomination early suddenly replaced with billboards condemning the “Rubio-Obama immigration plan.”

To try to win back the base, Rubio joined with Cruz and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) in the failed plot to defund Obamacare. When that wasn’t enough, he actually turned against his own bill.

So you can imagine how steamed Senator Rubio was when he heard Paul Ryan being praised as a “dealmaker” for putting together a budget deal that basically re-enforces the status quo.

Well, you don’t have to imagine. Rubio almost immediately went on the attack against the proposed legislation after it was announced, saying not only was he against it, he was pretty sure it would be responsible for destroying the American Dream.

Ryan heard that criticism Thursday morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and fired back with a deft response.

“Read the deal and get back to me,” he said. “People are going to do what they need to do. Look, in the minority you don’t have the burden of governing.”



Republicans have stopped trying to hide the fact that there is a civil war going on between the Tea Party and the establishment.

Both of the leaders in the Senate — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) — are among the half-dozen Senate Republicans facing Tea Party primary challengers.

McConnell has been calling out the right-wing outside groups who are funding many of the challengers against him for weeks.

“I think, honestly, many of [the Tea Party] have been misled,” he told the Wall St. Journal’s Peggy Noonan in November. “They’ve been told the reason we can’t get to better outcomes than we’ve gotten is not because the Democrats control the Senate and the White House but because Republicans have been insufficiently feisty. Well, that’s just not true, and I think that the folks that I have difficulty with are the leaders of some of these groups who basically mislead them for profit… They raise money… take their cut and spend it.”

Boehner joined the fight this week by blasting the outside groups that he now says led to the shutdown.

“They’re using our members and they’re using the American people for their own goals,” Boehner said in a press conference on Thursday. “This is ridiculous. If you’re for more deficit reduction, you’re for this agreement.”

And Paul Ryan is making a case that being a conservative means accepting reality and actually governing.

Senator Rubio has given up on governance and moved as far to the right as he can go without falling off the game board. And he’s still being overshadowed by even more outlandish Tea Partiers.

That won’t stop him from trying to score points wherever he can. But even if he ends up opposing the immigration bills that will likely come out of the House now that the leadership has cut the Tea Party loose, chances are the only thing Marco Rubio will ever be president of is the Ted Cruz fan club.

AFP Photo/Andrew Burton

Poll: Most Parents Oppose Rapid School Reopening

Numerous local school systems around the country are plowing ahead with plans to resume in-person instruction despite growing evidence that children are just as capable of spreading the coronavirus as adults.

Classes were set to begin on Monday in Baker County, Florida. Masks for students will be optional, not required. "It looks like it's back to normal this morning, honestly," a local television reporter observed as parents dropped their kids off in the morning. Many students wore no face coverings.

The Trump administration and the GOP have pushed for full reopening of schools for months."Schools in our country should be opened ASAP," Donald Trump tweeted in May. "Much very good information now available."

"SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!" he reiterated on July 6.

"The science and data is clear: children can be safe in schools this fall, and they must be in school this fall," demanded Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) on Aug. 1.

"I believe our schools can, and should rise to the occasion of re-opening for in-person education this fall," agreed Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) two days later.

"The CDC and Academy of Pediatrics agree: We can safely get students back in classrooms," tweeted House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) last Tuesday.

But while Scalise, Mike Pence, and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos have all cited the American Academy of Pediatrics in their arguments for reopening, a new study by the group and the Children's Hospital Association raises red flags about how safe that will be.

Their report found 338,982 reported coronavirus cases in children as of July 30 in the United States. Between July 16 and July 30, the nation saw a 40% increase — 97,078 new infected children.

Last week, a high school student in an Atlanta suburb posted a photo online showing few students wearing masks in a crowded school hallway. Since that time, at least six students and three adult employees in the school have reportedly contracted the coronavirus, and the school temporarily has switched to online classes.

Another Georgia school district has already seen at least 13 students and staff members test positive since reopening a week ago.

A recent study in South Korea found that children aged ten and older spread the coronavirus at the same rates adults do. A separate study in Chicago suggested young kids might also be effective spreaders.

These contradict the false claims made by Trump and his administration that kids have an "amazing" near immunity to COVID-19.

"If you look at children, children are almost — and I would almost say definitely, but almost immune from this disease, so few. They've got stronger, hard to believe, and I don't know how you feel about it, but they have much stronger immune systems than we do somehow for this," Trump told Fox News on Wednesday.

"You got to open the schools. They have a stronger immune system even than you have or I have," he told Barstool Sports on July 23. "It's amazing. You look at the percentage, it's a tiny percentage of one percent. And in that one case, I mean, I looked at a couple of cases. If you have diabetes, if you have, you know, problems with something, but the kids are in great shape." Children have made up nearly nine percent of all cases, even with schools mostly closed.

And DeVos incorrectly said in a July 16 interview, "More and more studies show that kids are actually stoppers of the disease and they don't get it and transmit it themselves."

In early July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines for how schools could operate more safely during the pandemic.

Trump publicly ridiculed the guidelines, dismissing them as "very tough & expensive" and "very impractical."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.