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Monday, December 09, 2019

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Republican Senators Attack U.S. Military's Successful Inclusion Programs

A new report released by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) criticizes military efforts to increase diversity, even though the U.S. military itself, along with experts and military leaders, say increased diversity improves military effectiveness.

Rubio and Roy provided early access to the report, titled "Woke Warfighters," to Fox News, which has publicly campaigned against anti-LGBTQ equality for years.

"We need to spend more time thinking about how to counter Chinese aircraft carriers and less time thinking about pronouns," Rubio wrote in the report. Roy wrote, "[President Joe] Biden's woke Pentagon is using taxpayer dollars to promote blatant anti-American ideology."

The report features photos of Black and transgender military leaders and members and claims that programs aimed at diversity have become so much of a priority in the armed forces that they are undermining fighting capability.

The Army has put emphasis on diversity in the military since before Joe Biden became president. In 2020, while Trump was in office, the Army launched "Project Inclusion," an initiative designed to increase diversity and equity across the branch.

In a document accompanying the program's announcement, the Army stated that it was important because "The strength of the Army comes from its diversity. Developing and maintaining qualified and demographically diverse leadership is critical for mission effectiveness and is essential to national security."

The Biden administration has committed to increased diversity across the military. The National Security Strategy released by the White House in October stated, "We will strengthen the effectiveness of the force by promoting diversity and inclusion." Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has overseen initiatives designed to address extremism within military ranks.

In March 2021, Biden removed restrictions on transgender military service that had been put in place by former President Donald Trump.

Dartmouth College professor Jason Lyall has studied the effects of diversity on military effectiveness and preparedness. He said in an analysis published by the Washington Post in July 2020, "My research shows that inclusive armies fight harder, suffer lower rates of desertion and defection, and exhibit more creative problem-solving on complex battlefields than armies drawn from marginalized or repressed groups."

Lyall wrote: "Victory on the battlefield over the past 200 years has usually gone to the most inclusive armies, not the largest or best-equipped ones. Inclusion, in other words, is good for military effectiveness."

In May, a group of former Defense Department leaders released a letter in support of increased diversity and inclusion in the armed forces. Among those who signed the letter were Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel, who served as secretary of defense under former President Barack Obama, and Mark Esper, who served in the same position under Trump.

"Diversity is a strength of the U.S. military, and our experience as senior defense leaders tells us that capable and diverse teams are more effective in today's complex environment," the authors said.

Active members of the armed forces have also spoken out in favor of increased diversity.

Col. Andrew Deaton, a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, wrote in a column for the nonprofit Association of the United States Army, "When leaders are able to leverage the holistic diversity of their soldiers, the unit and mission benefit."

Gen. Mark Milley, current chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a 2021 speech at an ROTC ceremony at Howard University: "Opportunity in our military must be reflective of the diverse talent in order for us to remain strong."

Rear Adm. Keith Davids of the Naval Special Warfare Command was quoted last month on the Navy's official website as saying, "Diversity is a force multiplier and makes us a stronger and more capable fighting force."

Voters have rejected attacks on diversity from Republican officials and candidates. Gubernatorial candidates such as Tudor Dixon in Michigan and Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania, who made anti-LGBTQ positions a key part of their campaigns, were overwhelmingly defeated. Anti-LGBTQ Senate candidates such as Mehmet Oz and Blake Masters also lost their races.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

McConnell, McCarthy Challenged As Hill Republicans Bicker Over Wreckage

Calls are growing from within the GOP for their Congressional caucus to hold off on leadership elections in light of the party’s underwhelming midterm performance and narrowing path to victory in both chambers.

As things stand, the partisan breakdown of the forthcoming 118th Congress remains unclear: Major networks called the Arizona Senate race for Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) late Friday, putting Democrats in a prime position to grasp a 51 - 49 majority in the U.S. Senate, with incumbent Democratic senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Raphael Warnock (D-GA) favored to outdo their Republican challengers.

NBC News currently projects a slim GOP House majority of “220-215” in the next Congress, with a “+/- 7” margin of error, positing — regardless of insurrectionist Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO)’s sudden lead in Colorado’s third Congressional district race — the slight but real possibility Democrats could hold the House, albeit by a tiny margin.

Despite this remarkable outcome on the horizon, which has stunned lawmakers of both parties, Senate GOP leaders reportedly plan to hold leadership elections next week, inciting the ire of other right-wing lawmakers demanding a delay and posing a direct challenge to McConnell.

Senators Cynthia M. Lummis (R-WY), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mike Lee (R-UT), Rick Scott (R-FL), and Ted Cruz (R-TX) have publicly demanded the postponement of next week’s secret election, in which McConnell is expected to win re-election, the Washington Post reported Friday.

Hawley and Cruz have called for a stay in GOP Senate election proceedings until after the Georgia Senate runoff on December 6, the Post noted in its report.

“We are all disappointed that a Red Wave failed to materialize, and there are multiple reasons it did not,” Johnson, Lee, and Scott wrote in a letter circulated to other GOP senators, according to Politico.

“Holding leadership elections without hearing from the candidates as to how they will perform their leadership duties and before we know whether we will be in the majority or even who all our members are violates the most basic principles of a democratic process,” the senators added.

Rubio tweeted Friday that leadership elections should not hold until the party is “sure that those who want to lead us are genuinely committed to fighting for the priorities & values of the working Americans,” a sentiment Hawley quickly agreed with.

A Rubio advisor told the Post that the senator wants “Senate Republicans to figure out ‘what in the world happened’ before they elect their next leaders” and didn’t rule out Rubio, who won his race by a large margin, going for a leadership spot.

According to CNN, the internal back-biting may have been incited, to some extent, by the beleaguered former President, Donald Trump, who is seeking to shift blame for the GOP’s devastating midterm losses to McConnell, presenting a new headache for the Senate minority leader.

Representatives for McConnell didn’t return the Post’s request for comment. However, Senate GOP leaders are moving forward with plans to hold the election despite the bubbling dissension, reports Politico.

“After presentations from candidates, and there is every opportunity to address questions from every member, we will complete leadership elections,” Sen. John Barrasso, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, wrote to his colleagues on Friday afternoon in a letter, an excerpt of which Politico published.

Tough Reality For House Republicans

Republican lawmakers in the U.S. House, who — like their Senate counterparts — believed they would cruise to a smashing victory, are finally contending with the reality that the GOP might fall short of a large majority, if they win at all, quashing their prospects of enacting pre-planned legislation and leadership maneuvers.

The Post reported that House Republicans understand Democratic votes would be crucial in a lower chamber narrowly dominated by the Republican Party.

“It’s an unworkable majority. Nothing meaningful will get passed,” a senior House Republican told the Post on the condition of anonymity.

In a statement to the Post, outgoing Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI) blamed the Republican party’s grim outlook on the extremism perpetuated by its conspiratorial far-right caucus, which culminated in the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters.

“By midnight on January 6, it was obvious that if we continued to sleepwalk down the path of crazy we’d face a rude awakening,” Meijer said.

“Instead of facing those facts, the GOP spent the last two years heading in the same direction and actively avoiding any internal reckoning. After Tuesday, we have no choice but to heed voters when they say that ‘the grass is green, the sky is blue, and by the way, you just got your ass handed to you.’ But waking up to that reality is going to be rough,” he added.

Like McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has pushed on with his speakership bid, defying opposition from factions of House Republicans opposing his efforts.

On Friday, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said in a tweet that the House GOP ought to “put our star players in a position to shine brightest so that we can attract more people to our policies and ideas” and denounced McCarthy and his allies as the “C-team.”

“There are people who swear upon firstborn children that they’ll never vote for McCarthy,” an aide to a senior Republican lawmaker told the Post, anonymously discussing internal party consternations.

Members of the House's far-right pro-Trump faction, the Freedom Caucus, have also reportedly withheld their support for McCarthy’s drive until its laundry list of demands is met, per reporting by the Post and CNN.

Marco Rubio, ‘States’ Rights’ Advocate, Endorses National Abortion Ban

United States Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) announced on Wednesday afternoon that he has become a co-sponsor of a national abortion ban that was first proposed by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Tuesday.

The legislation would outlaw the procedure after 15 weeks with limited exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother.

Less than three weeks ago, Rubio told CBS News Miami's Jim DeFede that he believes that abortion should be regulated by the states.

“[A]ll the Supreme Court said is that now that debate is not going to happen in Washington — where it wasn’t happening at all because of Roe v. Wade — now that decision has to be made at the state level.... Every state will have its own [law]," Rubio said as noted by MSNBC's Steve Benen on Wednesday.

"Well, I think that right now this issue is appropriately before the states," Rubio added. "That’s where it should’ve always been; that’s where it is now; and I think that’s where it’ll be for the foreseeable future.... Frankly, I think this issue is better decided at the state level."

Rubio's opponent in the hotly-contested race for his Senate seat, House Democratic Representative Val Demings, blasted the incumbent's move on Twitter.

Rubio "just cosponsored the bill to ban abortions and criminalize doctors. He’ll stop at nothing to strip women of our constitutional rights. We have to hold him accountable in November," Demings wrote.

In response, Rubio parroted Republican comparisons to reproductive laws across Europe, where citizens enjoy universal health care, comprehensive sex education, and public assistance when an abortion is needed.

"Restricting abortions to the first 4 months is more lenient than virtually every country in Europe," Rubio tweeted. "The extremists are people like Congresswoman Val Demings who opposes any restrictions & has voted for taxpayer funded abortion for any reason, at any time, up to the moment of birth."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Rubio Says Trump Absconding With Top Secret Documents ’Is Not A Crime’

In a rare Fox News moment, host Bret Baier reported that many are concerned about the lack of Republican “alarm” over Donald Trump absconding with at least 15 cartons of documents and other items, some of which were classified, or even “top secret” classified, and storing them in his suite at Mar-a-Lago, compared to the massive coverage the media gave the Hillary Clinton email story.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), who is the Ranking Member on the Intelligence Committee, and also serves on the Foreign Relations Committee, responded by saying “it’s not a crime” to break federal law – the Presidential Records Act of 1978, in this case, by removing the documents or flushing them down the toilet.

It seems odd that the Ranking Member of the Senate Intelligence Committee would be unaware of federal laws about retention of presidential documents, especially handling of classified and top-secret national security documents.

The Florida Republican also suggested Trump had turned over all the missing documents, which is false.

Rubio began by claiming he doesn’t know what’s true because “they” have made up so many stories about Trump “over the years.”

He goes on to suggest, apparently erroneously, that Hillary Clinton’s treatment of classified documents was pleaded in a federal court case.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

GOP Bill Would Revive Boss-Dominated ‘Company Unions’

Congressional Republicans are proposing a bill they claim would improve "teamwork" between workers and management. In reality, it would allow businesses to bring back the "company unions" used in the 1920s and 1930s to prevent workers from achieving meaningful gains.

Last Thursday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the Teamwork for Employees and Managers Act of 2022, a bill "to enable an employer or employees to establish an employee involvement organization to represent the interests of employees." Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) and 12 GOP colleagues filed the same bill in the House.

In a February 3 press release, Rubio and Banks claimed the bill "would provide workers seeking to organize with an alternative to unionization that allows both workers and managers to work together, without fearing heavy-handed legal action or bureaucratic meddling from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)," and noted that it is supported by "conservative labor experts."

Rubio said the bill would help protect companies from having to negotiate with their employees "by creating a pro-worker alternative to unions, which are notoriously left-wing and almost always pit workers against management, only worsening the workplace environment."

Banks claimed the bill would allow workers' voices to be heard without having to embrace "the left's woke agenda."

Labor unions have strongly opposed so-called "company unions," arguing that they allow businesses to run roughshod over their workers.

According to an issue brief by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, "In the 1920s and 1930s, large numbers of employers established management-dominated employee organizations — known as 'company unions' — to thwart the efforts of workers to form their own independent unions."

In 1935, Congress stepped in, passing the National Labor Relations Act. Section 8(a)(2) of that law made it illegal for a business "to dominate or interfere with the formation or administration of any labor organization or contribute financial or other support to it."

The new bill would eliminate those protections, making it possible for employers to "establish, assist, maintain, or participate in an employee involvement organization" where employees and supervisors "address matters of mutual interest, including issues of quality of work, productivity, efficiency, compensation, benefits (including related to education and training), recruitment and retention, grievances, child care, safety and health, and accommodation of the religious beliefs and practices of employees."

A 1995 AFL-CIO executive council statement warned that without the National Labor Relations Act's protections, "non-union employers would be free to create phony employee organizations and fake employee committees and handpick the 'leaders' of these organizations. Employers would then be free to deal with these management-anointed 'representatives' as if they were the real voice of the employees."

They also noted that, even in unionized workplaces, companies could "create, fund, and deal with a rival, company-controlled entity" to undermine the existing union and destabilize its collective bargaining efforts.

At that time, Republicans in Congress were pushing a nearly identical effort. The original Teamwork Act, authored by Rep. Steve Gunderson (R-WI) was passed by the GOP-run House in September 1995 and Senate in July 1996 — mostly along party lines.

President Bill Clinton stopped their bill with a veto, writing, "Rather than encouraging true workplace cooperation, this bill would abolish protections that ensure independent and democratic representation in the workplace. True cooperative efforts must be based on true partnerships."

Rubio and Banks said their new bill is "modeled off" of Gunderson's proposal.

Since the 1996 effort failed, Republicans have largely backed off the idea. But now that the Democratic majority in Congress is trying to expand labor rights through the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act and through the Build Back Better framework, these 14 GOP lawmakers are trying to undermine unions.

The House bill is co-sponsored by Reps. Rick Allen (GA), Brian Babin (TX), Tom Cole (OK), Byron Donalds (UFL), Mike Garcia (CA), Ronny Jackson (TX), Tracey Mann (KS), Mary Miller (IL), Ralph Norman (SC), David Rouzer (NC), Austin Scott (GA), and Claudia Tenney (NY).

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Lethal Lie: Distorting Data, Republicans Insist Covid Only Kills Very Sick

Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, Republicans have settled on a position that seems just a smidge incredible: There is no pandemic. Downplaying the impact of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the disease that it generates has been standard Republican operating procedure since Donald Trump insisted that cases would soon be “down to zero” and that COVID-19 would go away “like magic.” But at this point, with 860,000 dead Americans and over 5.5 million lives lost around the world, in the midst of a wave of disease sending record numbers to hospitals, pandemic denial seems like something that should be impossible.

It’s not. Republicans have returned to the idea that people are just, you know, dying. And that COVID-19 has nothing to do with it.

It’s another trip through irresponsibility, delusion, and jackassery that started with a badly edited interview, passed through a now deleted Texas Sen. Ted Cruz tweet, and spawned a million gloating I-told-you-so claims on Facebook. Since then other Republicans, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, have doubled down on the claim, and the Republican National Committee (RNC) is proceeding at warp nine into conspiracy space.

Like so many of the claims during the last five years, this one started from a misunderstanding, then pivoted to a deliberate lie. It can be fully expected to become the accepted “truth” for Republicans moving forward. Here’s the three-step process into how “not from COVID-19, but with COVID-19” became the new Republican baseline.

Step 1: ABC makes a criminally bad edit of an already bad interview

To say that Rochelle Walensky’s brief term as director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been marked by poor communication is something of an understatement. Communicating with dolphins is only slightly less frustrating.

It’s not so much that the CDC has been wrong, but under Walensky the agency has issued unnecessary guidance that includes caveats and details almost certain to be steamrolled into a mush of confusion. For example, the idea that people who were asymptomatic but who tested positive for COVID-19 could cease self-isolation after five days if they continued to wear a mask. This was predictably turned into “CDC cuts COVID-19 quarantine to five days” by the media within 30 seconds of its issuance.

But perhaps no single statement has done more damage the CDC’s reputation than an interview on ABC News. In that interview, Walensky was asked about the results of a new study showing that vaccines were very effective in preventing severe illness. Here’s her response as it appeared on ABC News.

Walensky: “The overwhelming number of deaths, over 75 percent, occurred in people who had at least four comorbidities. So really, these are people who are unwell to begin with. And yes, really encouraging news in the context of omicron. This means not just to get your primary series, but to get your booster, and yes, we’re really encouraged by these results.”

There were any number of reasons to be upset by this statement. For one thing, Walensky appears to be not just brushing off people with long-term illness or conditions that make them more susceptible to COVID-19, but actually gloating about how deaths are restricted to people who were “unwell to begin with.” Disability advocates—and a lot of people who suffer from issues such as diabetes and high blood pressure—were justifiably outraged.

However, it turns out that ABC made an absolutely egregious edit. This was Walensky’s actual reply to the question about the study.

Walensky: “You know, really important study, if I may just summarize it. A study of 1.2 million people who were vaccinated between December and October, and demonstrated that severe disease occurred in about 0.015 percent of the people who received their primary series. And death in 0.003 percent of those people. The overwhelming number of deaths, over 75 percent, occurred in people who had at least four comorbidities. So really, these are people who are unwell to begin with. And yes, really encouraging news in the context of omicron. This means not just to get your primary series, but to get your booster, and yes, we’re really encouraged by these results.”

All of that went on the cutting room floor at ABC. Clearly, what Walensky was actually addressing was the results of a single study, a study that showed just how tremendously effective the vaccines really are.

However, the complaints of disability advocates remain absolutely valid, because there was no reason for Walensky to characterize the extremely low number of deaths found in this study in the way she did. It added no value to her response. In fact, by answering in this way, Walensky greatly undercut the point that she was trying to make. That point was not “only sick people died” but “vaccines are tremendously effective.” Walensky’s response remains a masterclass in awful.

But ABC’s editing made everything 1,000 times worse, and queued up exactly what came next.

Step 2: Context gets shredded by the RNC

Those watching the ABC interview might still have picked up on the fact that Walensky’s statement, no matter how mangled, was characterizing only vaccinated individuals in one study. But when those words hit social media, context went out the window. As far as the Internet was concerned, this was the beginning and the end of what Walensky had to say.

Granted, that kind of sentence or even phrase-level cherry-picking has been standard RNC practice for years, but ABC really helped them out by dropping all context from Walensky’s reply. As a result, social media soon flooded with Republicans claiming that 75 percent of all the people who have died from COVID-19 have been people who were very unwell to begin with. That prompted, including other things, this now-deleted Cruz tweet.

Now deleted Ted Cruz tweet claiming that most people who died from COVID, didn

Step 3: Double-down and carry on

Cruz may have backed away from that tweet after the editing fingers of both the RNC and ABC were made clear, but don’t expect him to stay backed up. Since that initial post, the RNC has doubled down. And tripled down. In their latest tweet, they’re back to the language that Republicans used in the opening days of the pandemic as deaths began to pile up across the country. People didn’t die from COVID-19, says the RNC. They’re just sick people who happened to die with COVID-19.

Rubio then took this to the next logical step with a claim that the thousands of people being hospitalized during the Omicron spike aren’t being hospitalized because of COVID-19.

Except that as the article makes clear, there are 145,982 people hospitalized in U.S. from COVID-19. Not from “reasons unrelated to COVID.” There’s absolutely nothing in the article cited, or in any other source, to back up Rubio’s statement.

It doesn’t matter, because the Republican Party has only one reaction to being found wrong on any point: tactical extremism. Rather than admit the claims about people dying from COVID-19 are the results of a series of bad, out of context edits, expect Republicans to harden on this position as a baseline. Expect renewed claims that the CDC is greatly exaggerating the threat of COVID-19, as well as more of those videos where people invade their local hospital to “prove” that there’s no wave of COVID-19 patients.

Expect more resistance to vaccination. Expect more denial of reason. Expect more deaths.

All brought to you by the modern Republican Party, the best friend a virus ever had.

Why Senate Republicans Have A Raging DeSantis Problem

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

The politics of Florida's raging COVID-19 outbreak under the bankrupt stewardship of GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis are proving to be particularly challenging for Senate Republicans.

Not only has DeSantis become the poster boy for dooming his constituents in service of political gain, but the southern swing state is also home to a dissonant mix of political interests as next year's midterms approach.

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Spooked By Negative Polls, Republican Politicians Now Push Vaccination

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Vaccinated Americans are pretty damn upset about the lagging vaccination rates—mainly among white GOP voters—that have led to a nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases, particularly in red states.

Now Senate Republicans want Americans to know who to blame for the low vaccination rates of GOP voters: Democrats.

In case you missed it, Republicans are now pro-vaccine, and the sudden surge of the Delta variant is all President Joe Biden's fault. At least, that's the bridge Senate Republicans and some GOP governors are selling.

Before we go any further, let's be clear about what the GOP's latest gaslighting effort represents: an all-hands-on-deck clean-up on aisle COVID-19.

"When it comes to COVID, there should only be one message to the American people and that should be: Vaccines work," Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming told reporters Tuesday in the ultimate Johnny-come-lately of pandemic statements. Barrasso then went on to accuse the White House and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) of "medical malpractice" for having chaotic messages on masking, lockdowns, and other coronavirus mitigation efforts. Never mind the fact that the red-state surge is what has landed the country back in masking territory.

Now that Republicans have driven the country back into a COVID-19 ditch, they're planting the keys on President Joe Biden. Indeed, anti-masker and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is pinning the Sunshine State's deadly outbreak on Biden's border policies. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is suddenly a huge promoter of "VACCINATIONS!" And Minority Leader Mitch McConnell—who's 'perplexed' by the vaccine hesitancy mostly coursing through red America—is now funding radio ads urging residents of Kentucky to get vaccinated. Just eight of the state's more than 120 counties have reported vaccination rates above 50 percent, according to recent CDC data.

Here's one thing we can all be assured of: Mitch McConnell doesn't lavish campaign funds on public health for the sake of public health. His campaign expenditure is a sure sign that Republicans—particularly those in swing states and swing districts—don't like what they are seeing in the polling.

In fact, a newly released Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index is offering a window into the motivations behind the GOP's latest blame-shifting campaign. Of the roughly 70 percent of vaccinated Americans, nearly eight in 10 blame unvaccinated Americans for the latest wave of infections. Beyond faulting the unvaccinated, 36 percent of those who are vaccinated blame Donald Trump, 33 percent blame conservative media, and 30 percent blame people from other countries traveling to the United States. In other words, the vaccinated among us overwhelmingly blame Republicans, Trump, and right-wing media for erasing the gains made by the Biden administration's speedy vaccination program. That's exactly why Republicans are so desperate to recast Biden as responsible for the delta uptick.

Congressional Democrats are reportedly seeing something similar in their own polling, according to Washington Post's Greg Sargent. Internal polling by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has shown that "56 percent of likely voters in four dozen battleground districts have serious doubts about Republicans after hearing that they are spreading lies about vaccines to further conspiracy theories." The DCCC is now pushing its candidates to emphasize Republican disinformation on both the vaccine and the January 6 insurrection at their campaign events. In fact, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been offering a master class in how to highlight the radicalization of the Republican Party.

The vaccine message is also a natural for Democrats since the public widely trusts Democrats over Republicans on health care issues. The fact that Republicans are now trying flip public perception of GOP extremism on a public health issue is also telling—they simply cannot afford to chart a new course on the Jan. 6 insurrection, since many of their voters now support the terrorist siege and most adamantly believe the election was stolen from Trump.

But Republicans will have to stage a massive cover-up in order to retroactively recast themselves as part of the solution on taming COVID-19 spread. Rewriting history would be a cinch among Trump cultists and avid Fox News watchers. But the people Republicans need to convince of their rationality are actually rational people—those who still believe in facts and science and might be willing to vote Republican if the party wasn't overrun by extremists.

That's going to be a much tougher sell after congressional Republicans led the charge in sowing doubt and confusion about the vaccines. Republicans comparing the White House vaccination campaign to tactics used by the Nazis wasn't exactly helpful. Neither was Republicans smearing localized vaccination campaigns as "door-to-door" spying. Some Republicans hyped the idea that President Biden's vaccination effort was really a ploy to raid people's homes for their Bibles and guns.

As of mid-May, 100 percent of congressional Democrats reported being vaccinated while a meager 45 percent of House Republicans said they had gotten the shot. And last week, House Republicans spent much of the week railing against mask mandates in the lower chamber—even as their own caucus poses a primary threat to the health of everyone else in the Capitol.

Whatever whopper congressional Republicans and GOP governors are trying to sell now, they carried the mantle on hamstringing Biden's extraordinary vaccination push. Based on the polling, vaccinated Americans seem to both know that and resent it.