Dan Crenshaw rips Pelosi for cynically blocking COVID stimulus to hurt Trump

I’ve lost track. Is this guy a righteous Republican for laying into Pelosi this way? Or is he forever tarred with the RINO label for having called out populist hero Lin Wood last week after Wood told Republicans in Georgia not to vote in the Senate runoffs?

He goes a little off the rails in parts of this speech but he’s dead on with the crux of it, that Pelosi’s resistance to a pre-election stimulus deal for partisan reasons was immoral and repulsive. If you missed the clip of her last week admitting that she’s fine with a smaller COVID package now that Biden’s president when even progressives were begging her to compromise with Trump before Election Day, go watch it. And think of it every time you see a news segment about cars lined up for miles at food pantries.

Right now millions of Americans are staring down the double barrel of a soaring COVID epidemic and financial calamity. What has the federal government, in which Nancy Pelosi is arguably the second-most powerful figure, done lately to help them cope with either?

Nearly 12 million renters will owe an average of $5,850 in back rent and utilities by January, Moody’s Analytics warns. Last month, 9 million renters said they were behind on rent, according to a Census Bureau survey…

The stakes are high for some 20 million Americans receiving some kind of unemployment aid, who have seen weekly checks dwindle since August, making it harder to pay bills. About 12 million unemployed are slated to have their benefits cut off entirely at the end of the year unless lawmakers act before then…

“The tidal wave is coming. It’s going to be really horrible for people,” said Charlie Harak, a senior attorney at the National Consumer Law Center. “The number of people who are now 90 days behind and the dollars they are behind are growing quite significantly.”

Is there any evidence that her obstructionism before the election paid off politically for Democrats? She ended up with a diminished House majority and a Senate that’s likely to remain controlled by Republicans. The fact that the GOP did so well downballot suggests that the stimulus stalemate didn’t much hurt Trump, assuming it hurt him at all. The only people hurt were the working class whom Pelosi sometimes halfheartedly pretends to care about.

Watch Crenshaw, then read on.

As I say, he’s hit or miss. It’s a direct hit on Pelosi, and he’s right that some of California’s lockdown restrictions are indefensible. One can sympathize with the desperation California officials feel to slow the accelerating spread of the virus with daily cases and deaths at an all-time high while not granting them carte blanche to ruin even those businesses that can operate safely outside. Between the uproar over inexplicable bans on outdoor dining and the hypocrisy of California pols like Gavin Newsom, London Breed, and even Pelosi herself in shirking social-distancing rules, there’s a sense lately that CA’s pandemic management effort has come completely off the rails. No one understands the rules, no one knows if anyone’s actually following the rules — including the people who’ve made them — and the daily numbers just get worse and worse. Having the California-based Speaker of the House admit that she’s more open to a small COVID relief deal now that her electoral goals have been accomplished is the coup de grace.

With respect to the rest of Crenshaw’s pitch, yes, there’s some evidence that lockdowns don’t work but there’s also evidence that they do. Ask the Swedes, who’ve belatedly come around to banning certain gatherings. Or ask the EU, where cases have dropped sharply over the past month as targeted lockdowns took effect. Crenshaw also insists repeatedly that lockdowns are unconstitutional and even cites SCOTUS at one point. But SCOTUS has never declared that; they ruled that social-distancing rules can’t discriminate on the basis of religion by imposing a greater burden on churches than on businesses. A federal lockdown would be unconstitutional. A state lockdown is just “police powers” at work. (See also the Tenth Amendment.) Crenshaw insisting that lockdowns violate the Constitution made me think of this oldie but goodie from the Onion.

A lot of stuff in the news makes me think of that nowadays, actually.

By the way, the latest news on stimulus negotiations is — surprise — that they’re stalled again. Last night WaPo reported that the latest proposal from Steve Mnuchin is to scale beefed-up federal unemployment benefits waaaaay back and instead give each household a check for $600 per person and $600 per child. That’s a slender one-time payment compared to previous rounds of COVID relief and it does nothing to help people make it through the long winter until enough vaccinations have happened by spring to reopen the economy safely. As noted above, 12 million are about to have their benefits run out at the end of the month. What’s the plan then?