Heather Cox Richardson | Letters from an American | March 13
Republican pundits and lawmakers are, once again, warning of an immigration crisis at our southern border.
Texas governor Greg Abbott says that if coronavirus spreads further in his state, it will not be because of his order to get rid of masks and business restrictions, but because President Biden is admitting undocumented immigrants who carry the virus. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is also talking up the immigration issue, suggesting (falsely) that the American Rescue Plan would send $1400 of taxpayer money “to every illegal alien in America.”
Right-wing media is also running with stories of a wave of immigrants at the border, but what is really happening needs some untangling.
Heather Cox Richardson | Letters from an American | March 10
Today was a big day for the United States of America.
The House of Representatives passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, accepting the changes to the measure that the Senate had added. This bill marks a sea change in our government. Rather than focusing on dismantling the federal government and turning individuals loose to act as they wish, Congress has returned to the principles of the nation before 1981, using the federal government to support ordinary Americans. With its expansion of the child tax credit, the bill is projected to reach about 27 million children and to cut child poverty in half.
The bill, which President Biden is expected to sign Friday, is a landmark piece of legislation, reversing the trend of American government since Ronald Reagan’s 1981 tax cut. Rather than funneling money upward in the belief that those at the top will invest in the economy and thus create jobs for poorer Americans, the Democrats are returning to the idea that using the government to put money into the hands of ordinary Americans will rebuild the economy from the bottom up. This was the argument for the very first expansion of the American government—during Abraham Lincoln’s administration—and it was the belief on which President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created the New Deal.
Heather Cox Richardson | Letters from an American | March 8
Lots of stuff simmering, but nothing you can’t miss if you want to take a break from the news today.
There are two stories I’m following.
The first is the fight between former president Trump and the Republican National Committee (RNC). Last Friday, Trump’s lawyers sent a cease-and-desist letter to the RNC, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and the National Republican Congressional Committee—the three biggest Republican fundraising bodies—demanding they stop using his name and his photo to raise money. The former president is allegedly angry at the Republicans who failed to support him after the January 6 insurrection—especially Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)– and would like to cut them out of the money he can raise.
Friday night, Trump released a series of endorsements for candidates he supports in 2022. He has warned the RNC that he will back primary candidates that support him rather than those whom he considers insufficiently loyal.
The level of Trump toxicity in my system makes it impossible for me to consume the RNC’s festival of fear and cynicism.
By Joan Walsh
I missed night one of the Republican National Convention. Deliberately. We’re all practicing some forms of self-care during the pandemic—that was mine. When I woke up, early, I saw “cocaine,” “Adderall” and “Cecily Strong” trending on Twitter, at least here in New York. In a way, that was all I needed to know.
I have no evidence that either glassy-eyed Donald Trump Jr. or his lovely companion, screaming fascist Kimberly Guilfoyle, were doing either drug. As my colleague Jeet Heer said after night one, it doesn’t matter—he blamed Trump’s strange countenance on “existential dread”; it was scary and disgraceful enough, without drugs being involved. The “Cecily Strong” suggestion—that the Saturday Night Live star play Guilfoyle—was completely on point.
It’s hard to believe the convention got worse after that, but it did. I tried to watch Tuesday night, but its cynical manipulation was even worse than Tuesday’s apocalyptic screeching. We had to watch the president of anti-Obama birtherism, the defender of Confederate statues, pardon a black man convicted of armed robbery who turned his life around. (To be fair, the man pardoned seemed genuinely moved, and grateful, but it was a political stunt nonetheless.) We had to watch a president who has made immigration tougher at every turn, who’s railed against “shithole countries,” naturalize five new citizens. I had to turn off the television and go to bed early, again.