War on Christmas: The Pandemic Edition

It's late October, so you know what that means: War on Christmas! In keeping with the times, this year's festive rightwing panic is focused on demanding that Joe Biden fix all the weirdness of the world's pandemic economy right now, especially disruptions to the global supply chain. If he doesn't, maybe Christmas just won't come at all! For a particularly eye-rolling example, here's Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) insisting that people are calling 2021 "Biden's Blue Christmas." You've heard that, haven't you? Of course you have; Joni Ernst just said it.

Ernst added that she sure hopes the supply chain problems, caused by Joe Biden personally, don't extend all the way to the North Pole, or a lot of good little boys and girls will be very sad.

We're calling it now: The big wingnut trend this Christmas, whatever the economic reality by December, will involve rightwing parents telling their little children, "Sorry honey, Santa couldn't find the toy you wanted, and it's Joe Biden's fault. Here's a block of scrap two-by-four, maybe you can pretend it's a doll or a truck or a video game. This is what happens under socialism. Santa was cancelled."


Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy is doing his part to spread Christmas fear. During Thursday's daily press briefing, he invoked the specter of empty store shelves and sad little children crying because mean Joe Biden wouldn't lift a finger to make sure this year's hot toy, whatever it is, is under the tree (which also is missing, having been burned up because Joe Biden didn't rake the forests). And maybe nobody can afford Christmas anyway, because isn't runaway inflation making it impossible for anyone to afford this year's roast beast?

Here's video of Doocy dropping his usual Doocy, this time with Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. We've cued the video up to his brilliant economic question: If prices are up, isn't that exactly like raising taxes? (Spoiler: no, it actually is not.)

www.youtube.com

DOOCY: You guys say that President Biden does not want to raise taxes on anyone making less than $400,000 a year, but there's a new Fox poll that finds 83 percent of registered voters are noticing bills for groceries and everyday items increasing. So how is that any different than a new tax? [...]

The supply chain is all backed up; there are bottlenecks — empty shelves, prices going up. People are paying more. And so, how is that any different than a new tax?

Empty shelves! Just like the B-roll of empty Brexit shelves that rightwingers keep tweeting as "Biden's America," please disregard the prices in pounds. It's like Soviet Russia here, and Joe Biden just doesn't care, apart from how he's been meeting with leaders from the retail sector, the shipping industry, and port officials to get things moving again.

Jean-Pierre acknowledged that yes, the pandemic has led to all sorts of disruptions, and that sucks. Maybe Doocy heard of the pandemic, and how it's been playing hell with things for a year and a half? She pointed out that of course Biden understands that's causing prices to go up, and that the administration has been "using every tool in our tool belt to make sure that we deal with that in a real way."

And no, kinks in the supply chain don't point to disaster; they mean that as the US economy recovers, there's more demand than can be met, which is inconvenient for people wanting a new couch, but temporary. She noted that the economy has, on average, been adding 600,000 jobs per month, and that unemployment is going down, with nearly five million new jobs added in the last eight months. So heading into the holiday season, the US is in considerably better shape than it was in 2020.

Doocy had a whattabout, referring to a letter from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy calling on Biden to halt any work on the Build Back Better reconciliation bill until all the problems with the global supply chain are fixed, which Jean-Pierre wasn't especially impressed with: "Okay. Yeah, wonderful letter." She noted that under Trump and McCarthy last year, job growth was struggling, and that under Biden, we're in far better shape, with all those new jobs and such:

Americans have money in their pockets, and they're spending it, resulting in record volume of good — goods through our ports, and our roads and rails.

A lot of that improvement, she said, was due to the American Rescue Plan, which she noted didn't get a single Republican vote.

Doocy was ready with a really stupid follow-up: Wait, things are actually terrible and Biden's killing Christmas!

Are you saying that you — as you compare holiday season this year to holiday season last year, are you saying that if Christmas gifts don't get delivered this year — because the supply chain is backed up, because of bottlenecks — that people are going to blame Donald Trump, or are they going to blame Joe Biden?

Jean-Pierre wasn't having any of that, no way:

That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that we're in a different place than we were a year ago. And the reason why is because the president took action. The reason why is Democrats came together and they passed the American Rescue Plan, put checks into pockets, made sure that we were dealing with issues that pushed women out of the workforce, which is the Child Tax Credit, childcare — all those things that really benefited everyday people who were being left behind. [...]

She also noted that Biden has indeed been working on the supply chain issue, by meeting with private sector leaders and labor, and by persuading the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to start operating 24/7. And again, she noted, this is a short-term problem. It's not Soviet North Cuba, for fuckssake.

But Karine, what about the empty shelves and the Christmas presents that won't be under the tree? What about all the jing-jinglers, and the floo-floobers, and the tar-tinkers still sitting on container ships off the coast of California? How can we have Christmas without our Who-whoobas and gar-ginkas?

Somehow, we suspect, Christmas will come, and we'll all just fah-hoo rah-hoo as much as we want, and since vaccines for kids aged five to 11 are on the way in the next few weeks, we can gather together and enjoy our Who Hash without it being a superspreader event.

[White House transcript / Reuters]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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