Jim Jordan vs. Fauci: Should we limit protesting in order to contain the virus?

I misunderstood Jordan when I first watched the clip. Maybe Fauci did too, or maybe he’s just playing dumb. “I’m not sure what you mean,” he says when Jordan asks him about “limiting” protesting. I thought that, by “limit,” Jordan meant using state power to somehow prevent the marches.

How could we feasibly do that? We could have cops at the demonstration handing out tickets to every participant they see for congregating in a group larger than 10 people (or whatever the local regulation is) but that’s not going to deter many, and deterrence in the name of containing the spread of the virus is what we’re after. The revenue from the fines is nice, but all we really care about is getting people not to congregate in the first place.

But by “limiting” protests, I think what he means is simply: Should protesters voluntarily limit their own protest activity so as to limit the spread of the virus? I.e. would Fauci like to take the opportunity here and now to formally discourage protesting?

Which he sort of ends up doing, but not nearly as clearly as he should. Fauci’s verrrrry reluctant to say an unkind word about protests specifically.

He does admit that mass gatherings spread the virus no matter how “woke” their purpose. “You should stay away from crowds no matter where the crowds are,” he says at one point. And he’s said that before. On June 5, the day before the demonstrations that Jordan references, Fauci told a radio host that mass protests are a “perfect set-up” for viral spread. Jordan’s right to feel disgust at the many woke experts who carved out an exception to social-distancing rules for demonstrators on the dubious theory that protesting racism is a more urgent matter of public health than containing a once-in-a-century killer virus. But Fauci isn’t one of them.

He should have used this as a chance to get Fauci to acknowledge that it was irresponsible for members of Fauci’s profession to give them a pass on doing so when every other American was sternly warned to play by the rules. We can’t feasibly “limit” street protests but our expert and political classes sure as sh*t could have discouraged them a lot more emphatically than they did. The double standard they set was so legally dubious as policy that politicians who implemented it have lost lawsuits over it. But Jordan never actually pits Fauci against the woke MDs. He’s too caught up in playing to the populist passion of the moment, which is to treat Fauci as an enemy. He ends up browbeating him on how policy should be set and enforced when all Fauci’s really qualified to tell him is, “Yeah, crowds are a bad idea. They spread the virus.”

Can’t fault Jordan too much for that, though. This is why we have congressional hearings in 2020, to give members a chance to theatrically fawn over or attack each witness depending on whether the witness is a hero or villain to that member’s party in whatever political debate is currently raging. The debate raging right now is “Who’s to blame for the state of the pandemic, Trump or the experts?” Jordan played his part.