"There's a quote that I keep hearing on and off the record, that this is a crisis that's going to be locally managed, state run and federally supported," Joe Scarborough said.
March 20, 2020

I thought this conversation with Joe Scarborough was the single most useful discussion to make sense of the coronavirus chaos coming out of the White House.

"There does always seem to be an overpromise," Scarborough said to Andrea Mitchell.

"You have, as you're going into the press conference, you hear today, for instance, we heard there was going to be big news from the FDA. All we heard is something that doctors were telling me a week ago that anti-malaria medicine may be available to make the coronavirus effects a little less severe. What was so striking, first of all, the president was very tired today, looked very tired in the press conference.

"He made very clear today, again, and you talked about the, quote, 'The federal government is not a shipping clerk.' But unlike past presidents, whether it was FDR or President Bush after 9/11, this president is not going to use the White House as the command and control for a national emergency. National emergencies don't get much more extreme than this.

"Instead, what you're hearing time and again, not only on the record from the president but off the record from top White House officials, is that this is up to the 50 governors. This is up to the free market, the free enterprise. And what we're going to do, there's a quote that I keep hearing on and off the record that this is a crisis that's going to be locally managed, state run and federally supported.

"And this federal government, led by Donald Trump, believes that it can only be federally supported by being there and possibly assisting governors. But also by cutting regulations. That seems right now to be the extent of it."

There it is. As those of you following at home have already figured out, the small-government right wing is running the country, not Trump. Donald Trump has never had any philosophy other than self-interest, and he's obviously not interested in learning how to govern. Everything that comes out of his office is written by assorted special interests, with a heavy helping of Koch sauce.

His animal instincts are sharp enough to know how unpopular this will be in a time of crisis, but the big-money right wing make up the only real political support he has left. And if he doesn't get reelected, he goes to prison. He knows that.

So the deliberate refusal of the federal government to do something as basic as supplying surgical masks is Grover Norquist's ultimate dream, and millions of Americans hit by this virus will pay the price for libertarian bullshit.

We're all Puerto Rico now.

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