It’s the time of year to assess where I was right and wrong. When you have a blog where everything you’ve written since 2014 is available, you have no place to hide.
To a large extent, Trump’s election loss appeared to me to have been self-inflicted. A bizarre debate performance coupled with tirades against early voting showed a lack of balance. He was the one ranting while Biden remained cool. Discouraging his supporters from early voting meant they had to show up on election day. That’s not always possible. Uncast votes could turn the results. In the crucial states, 2020 was close.
What I didn’t foresee was the degree of his derangement. Even in the face of recounts conducted by his party showing he lost, Trump refused to accept the outcome. Bill Barr, his attorney General, found nothing to change the results. His inability to accept defeat led directly to the loss of the two Georgia Senate seats and the 1/6 Capital Riot.
As an octogenarian, I’ve seen how age affects one’s perception. Where Trump previously avoided significant errors, reality and those recognizing it became his enemy. Maybe, I should’ve been more aware of possible age-related changes. Biden has lost several steps; why not Trump? As we can see. not realizing our limitations can be dangerous.
I predicted Covid would reach its apogee in early January. The 10th of the month marked the pandemic high point. Even with variations, including Delta, we haven’t yet come close. With so many people already having Covid, infusions, and new vaccines coming online, the data looked favorable for a topping out. To date, that is the case:
Early on in the Biden administration, I observed its comprehension of Operation Warp Speed, and indeed the pandemic was lacking. This absence raised the issue of overall competence—the multitude of the undocumented crossing our border without an answer confirmed my suspicion.
Confusion over Covid policy is traceable to ignoring the data. For instance, unlike most rest of the world, we failed to consider natural immunity. In contrast, other nations treated people with enhanced immunity the same whether by vaccination or previous infection. I warned this would result in bad policy and punishing people for no good reason. When we have an acute worker shortage, do we want to fire the immune?
In March and April of 2020, I wrote there was no reason to close down K-12 schooling. No in-person teaching would result in significant consequences. Most of Europe has followed Sweden’s no shutdown policy without negative results. Many schools in the U.S. were closed for a year or more. We already see the adverse outcomes.
Dr. Anthony Fauci is the face of our bureaucratic government medical establishment. Among his many failures and flip-flops is his lack of active support of open schools. The fact he worked to undermine the Trump Administration’s top open school advocate, Dr. Scott Atlas alone, should’ve sent him into retirement.
His involvement with the Wuhan Lab and his narrow focus highlights he wasn’t the person to lead in this epidemic. Yet, he’s still here. I didn’t realize, government medical bureaucrats may be unsuited for overall policy in a pandemic, but they’re very good at politics.
Trump proposing to pull our troops out of the Middle East and Afghanistan seemed a terrible idea, and I said so. Trump moved in that direction, but we were still there when he left.
Biden took a bad idea and executed it in the worst possible way. No one seeing our pullout from Afghanistan would confuse our action with competence.
With a rapidly recovering economy, the two trillion American Rescue Plan, Biden’first legislative victory, appeared inflationary. A log on a raging fire. Others like Larry Summers agreed at the time. Biden ignored our advice. The highest inflation in decades is the result.
In fairness, Federal Reserve set the stage by printing money to keep interest rates abnormally low. I have long said the Fed’s easy money combined with colossal government spending would result in inflation. The only question was when. We now know the answer.
At the time of the riots in Ferguson, Mo I predicted what became known as the “Ferguson Effect” would lead to ever greater lawlessness. Bad cops will always be with us, just as there are bad actors in any field. We, of course, need to confront them but to destroy the many for the actions of a very few is terrible policy. Police retiring at record rates, recruiting languishing, and the remaining unsupported police less than aggressive has led to some places experiencing crime at levels we haven’t seen in decades.
I still remember Sunday, 8/18/2019, my wife calling attention to what she was reading in the New York Times Magazine (Yes, we read the Sunday NYT out of a long habit). The whole magazine was devoted to something called the 1619 Project. I found it bordering on fantasy.
Since then, historians and economists have weighed in on its factual mistakes. The glaring historical and economic errors were readily apparent. I thought it was dangerous propaganda, but its manifest inaccuracies would restrict its appeal.
How wrong I was, is shown by the 1619 Project winning a Pulitzer Prize and finding its way into many K-12 schools. A more extended version is on the bestseller lists. Joined with the Critical Race Theory narrative, it has underlined controversies that sway elections. That a piece of intellectually vacant propaganda can have such a far-reaching effect tells us much about our times. The New York Times, with other institutions part in this, is telling.
Well, it’s been quite a year. Next post, I’ll tackle the coming year.