‘Worse than Trump’ phase is here and other commentary

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Conservative: ‘Worse Than Trump’ Phase Is Here

At National Review, Charles C.W. Cooke reflects that MSNBC’s Dean Obeidallah has declared “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is ‘more dangerous than Trump.’  ” For all the claims that Donald Trump was uniquely evil, such assertions were “inevitable from the moment Trump lost the 2020 presidential election.” Indeed, voters have heard “the same scary things about almost every Republican candidate since Eisenhower.” And no matter that Trump and DeSantis “could scarcely be less alike if they tried.” The nonsense charge is just “a signal that the focus of American politics has shifted,” and it’s time “for a swapping out of the villains.”

Pandemic journal: The Zero-COVID Delusion

“The notion that we could literally stop the spread of COVID by locking down and vaccinating it out of existence was always a fantasy,” observes Kat Rosenfield at Spectator World: Smallpox is the only human disease ever eradicated. “Every other virus, from Ebola to influenza to the ­bubonic plague, still exists among us; we’ve just learned to live with them and to control them as best we can.” But “all those months of being told to mask up, stay home and keep our distance have instilled in a fearful population the seductive illusion of control. . . . Suddenly, the only moral position is to do everything within your power to avoid illness, no matter how extreme.” Worse: “The flip-side” of the zero-COVID delusion is “the specter of the noncompliant villain who’s keeping us from getting there. Those who dissent . . . are ‘literally killing’ people.” This is “injecting a toxic, corrosive element into the heart of the social contract.”

Libertarian: Yes, COVID Is 99 Percent Survivable

“A viral post” claiming COVID is 99 percent survivable for most age groups is “likely true,” notes Robby Soave at Reason, yet social media flagged it as “misinformation,” and PolitiFact rated it “false.” In fact, “expert consensus” places “the death rate at below 1 percent” for most people. The post erred in comparing the vaccine’s efficacy rate, 94 percent, to the COVID survivability rate; vaccines don’t compete with natural immunity but “render COVID-19 even more mild and even more survivable.” Yet PolitiFact rated as false the very idea that COVID has a low ­infection fatality rate for most people. People can and should “improve their odds” by getting vaccinated — but “we don’t need to live in fear.”

From the right: Defund Police Means Feudalism

“When the law breaks down, and anarchy and violence reign, only the wealthy, powerful and corrupt thrive,” declares Jarrett Stepman at The National Interest. Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) inadvertently underscored this reality in a recent interview explaining why she needed $70,000 in private security — even as she championed #DefundPolice. “Bush has every right to defend herself if she feels threatened, but don’t regular people have that right, too? What about those who aren’t members of Congress and can’t go around with an armed detail of private security?” Defunding police “won’t further social justice”; it’ll produce “a kind of neo-feudalism, where the rich and powerful can evade its consequences while everyone else suffers.”

Foreign desk: Iran Nukes Hopes of a Deal

This week, The Wall Street Journal’s Walter Russell Mead finds, “the optimistic case for restoring the 2015 Iran nuclear deal died. Like so many other innocents, it died at the hands of Ebrahim Raisi, the hanging judge handpicked by Iran’s supreme leader” to face off against President Biden as Iran’s new president. Optimists believed the deal would create a “nonnuclear Iran” that “would become a stable, democratic force in the Middle East.” But “Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has no intention of ending up like Mikhail Gorbachev. By ruthlessly engineering the election of a hard-liner’s hard-liner,” the ayatollah “slammed the door on normalization and nailed it shut.” Khamenei knows a new deal “has zero chance of attracting the two-thirds majority of senators necessary for treaty ratification”; the most Tehran can hope for “is a Biden pinky-swear.” Why “pay any kind of price” for that?

⁠ — Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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