I like to think of myself as a reasonably good ‘conservative moment anticipator’, in that I usually have a pretty good understanding of what they’ll do next and why. But I’ll admit I didn’t even imagine the Republican attack strategy of ‘water pipes aren’t infrastructure.’ I really didn’t see that one coming (thankfully, Transportation Secretary Buttigieg did*).
What’s worse is the national political press corps is taking this line of attack, as ludicrous as it is, seriously. George Stephanopoulos, dutiful stenographer that he is, regurgitated this talking point at Buttigieg, who handled it well. But why take this seriously?
There’s a cynical element to this: much of the political press corps needs controversy, so Republican talking points are taken seriously in order to create conflict. There’s also a deeper structural problem at work.
The Republican Party has descended into Ayn Randian batshitloonitarianism, which is often neglected given the prominence of the Republican Party’s white Christian nationalism. There are criticisms, valid ones, of the infrastructure bill, but those are to be found on the left because the batshitloonitarians simply don’t believe in most government programs (except Freedom Bombs). So we’re left with the neo-liberal plaints about TEH DEFICITZ!!, which even ideologue Sen. Joe Manchin isn’t too worried about, or left-ish policy critiques. Not only are most political reporters too ignorant of policy, but they also can’t stand much of the left at a personal level: I’m not sure that enjoying David Gergen’s company more than some lefty Democrat’s is exactly a human credential, but I don’t want to kinkshame. They just don’t like the left, construed broadly. Not Very Serious People.
Anyway, just don’t watch that crap.
*Buttigieg and Sanders, each in his own way, are the only two Democratic politicians who are capable of appearing on Fox News and eating the lunch of their in-house propagandists. It’s a remarkable skill.