I don’t know, do you think the people at Fox News might be upset that President Biden, in less than four months, is doing what Former Guy failed to do in four years? In case you’re wondering what I’m specifically referring to (because several things might legitimately occur to you just now) I’m talking about backing and seeing passed a workable infrastructure bill. Wednesday the President explained the reasons behind the American Jobs plan and how America is going to pay for it. The plan is probably going to be a rip-roaring success, and Fox News really, really doesn’t like it!
By the way, you may recall what happened to Trump’s infrastructure plan. It was going to be terrific, the best infrastructure plan anyone had ever seen, because nobody thought an infrastructure plan like his would be possible except for Trump, and he was the only one who understood that it was going to be the best infrastructure plan ever, and he was going to deliver it in just two weeks.
Then Nancy Pelosi hurt his feelings. Then he sulked about it for four years between hundreds of rounds of golf, thousands of paranoid, fourth-grade Flesch-Kincaid level hate-tweets, thousands of conspiracy theories about China and the coronavirus and how the election was going to be rigged, then thousands of conspiracy theories about how the election was rigged, and all between thousands of fatty lunches and dinners from McDonalds. And Fox News understood and commiserated.
But one thing Fox News cannot tolerate is seeing Joe Biden successful, even if it makes America successful. So they decided that the American Jobs Plan is really the Green New Deal in disguise! Last week Bill Hemmer put it to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg like this: “We find that 5.6% of the two trillion dollar proposal is only dedicated to roads and bridges.” It was at this point the Fox News host made a fatal mistake. He asked the secretary, “Why is that?”
One thing you never want to do if you’re a Fox News host is ask Pete Buttigieg a question. That can only lead to one thing: a highly intelligent answer that is so logically perfect that it cannot be assaulted from any side. And that’s exactly what the Fox News host Bill Hemmer got. (Did Hemmer learn nothing from Kellyanne Conway? The strategy is to attack, attack and attack, in a Gish Gallop, and never let anyone else get a word in edgewise.)
So Secretary Buttigieg put it this way, “We’re talking about roads and bridges, we’re talking about rail and transit, we’re talking about airports and ports, as you mentioned we’re talking about the grid. I don’t know why anybody would say it’s a mistake to invest in the grid after what we just witnessed in Texas. We saw US citizens, living in Texas, melting snow in their bathtubs to be able to flush their toilets in the United States of America. That is unacceptable. So yes, infrastructure includes energy infrastructure.” In other words, the American Jobs Plan is about infrastructure, that thing that Former Guy promised to deliver on and never did.
But it was nevertheless necessary for Secretary Buttigieg to remind Mr. Hemmer and the people at Fox News that this is no longer the nineteenth century, when roads and bridges were synonymous with infrastructure. “Railroads weren’t part of infrastructure, until we built them. I’m sure in the Eisenhower era they weren’t thinking about things like broadband, they were still working on electrification, which would have sounded newfangled in its time. Now it’s time to prepare for the future and the millions of jobs that will be created by this bill are because this bill looks to the future.”
Of course, MAGA is all about the past, and how desperate Republicans are to get back there, and how much they hate the idea that progress is being made and President Biden is making progress while Donald Trump isn’t part of it because he dropped the ball. It’s the saddest part of partisan hackery, where what’s best for America doesn’t merely take a back seat to what’s best for the Republican Party, what’s best for America isn’t even part of the discussion, and it never will be. Fox is only interested in getting Republicans back in power, and America and American democracy can go straight to hell. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.