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Opinion | Covid Isn’t Finished Messing With Politics

But in my neighborhood, where most of the people I see on the streets are long since vaccinated, a lot of folks wear masks even when they’re just walking around. It’s more convenient if you’re popping in and out of stores or mass transit, but I like to think they also want to remind the world that we’re still fighting back a pandemic, which is easier if everybody works together.

Bret: There are people, particularly the immunocompromised, who have a solid medical or emotional need to take great precautions, including masks, and I totally respect them. The busybodies and virtue-signalers, not so much.

Gail: On another presidential matter, I noticed your last column was somewhat, um … negative on the Biden presidency. You really think it’s been that bad?

Bret: In hindsight, the headline, “Another Failed Presidency at Hand,” probably took the argument a step farther than the column itself. It’s too early to say that the Biden presidency has failed. But people who wish the president success — and that includes me — need to grasp the extent to which he’s in deep political trouble. It isn’t just the Afghan debacle, or worrisome inflation, or his predictions about the end of the pandemic when the virus had other ideas. I think he has misread his political mandate, which was to be a moderate, unifying leader in the mold of George Bush Sr., not a transformational one in the mold of Lyndon Johnson. And he’s trying to do this on the strength of Kamala Harris’s tiebreaking vote in the Senate. I think it’s a recipe for more social division and political failure.

Gail: As reviews go, that’s certainly a downer.

Bret: None of this is to commend the not-so-loyal opposition party. But they’re the ones who stand to gain most from a weak Biden presidency.

Gail: Looking at it from my end, we have a president who’s got to make the country feel it’s not trapped in an unhealthy, unhappy, overall-depressed state forever. I’m buying into big change, which requires more than a gentle hand at the wheel. But back to your Biden critique. You said you voted for him last time but now he has revealed himself to be “headstrong,” “shaky” and “inept.” What if Donald Trump runs against him?

Bret: One of the reasons I’m so dismayed by Biden’s performance is that it’s going to tempt Trump to run again. In which case, I’ll vote for whoever is most likely to beat Trump. Hell, I’d probably even vote for Bernie. I’d rather have a president who’s a danger to the economy and national security than one who’s a danger to democracy and national sanity.

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