Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Why Now?


The right is going after Transportation Secretary Peter Buttigieg and they think that we don’t remember the past.

Pete Buttigieg has become the GOP's favorite lightning rod for controversy. Why him?
USA Today vis Yahoo News
By Rachel Looker and Ella Lee
February 26, 2023

Pete Buttigieg's tenure as secretary of the Department of Transportation has hit many bumps in the road. And hitches in the supply chain. A and turbulence in the air.

Now, it's gone off the rails, Republicans say.

The Transportation Department secretary and 2020 presidential candidate has become a lightning rod for controversy among the political right after landing squarely at the center of a series of crises on land and in the air.

The latest – a train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio – prompted Republicans on the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability to announce Friday they were launching an investigation into Buttigieg's response to the accident.

Surprise! Surprise!

Did anyone think anything different, let us count the ways that the Republicans dislike Secretary Buttigieg:

1. He is gay.
2. He is a Democrat.
3. He is the leading contender for the 2024 presidential election.

Is there any wonder why the Republicans are picking on Secretary Buttigieg?

Buttigieg visited East Palestine on Thursday – 20 days after the crash. The delay had brought on criticism from Republicans – and some Democrats – who said the country's transportation head should have inspected the site earlier; Buttigieg told CBS News that he "could have spoken sooner" on the derailment.


The GOP's criticism of Buttigieg checks off two strategic boxes for the party: Targeting both Biden and a Democratic presidential hopeful, said Kyle Saunders, a political science professor at Colorado State University.

"It's both a point scoring endeavor on the part of the Republicans to take Buttigieg down a notch or two but I think it's also a broader attempt to basically make the Biden administration look bad," he said.

And the Republicans are worried about him.

"He clearly is someone Republicans should worry about in the future because he has a strong national profile and is well positioned for national leadership," West said, calling the transportation secretary a "next-generation leader for Democrats."


The Republicans want also to take focus off their budget cuts to the Department of Transportation!

Trump administration proposes billions in transportation cuts — and new spending
The Washington Post
By Michael Laris
February 10, 2020

The Trump administration on Monday proposed cutting billions in discretionary spending in next year’s Department of Transportation budget, while also calling for broad increases in spending over the next decade, a disconnect that left some in Congress and outside groups struggling to interpret the administration’s intentions.

The proposed budget cuts discretionary spending by 13 percent, including deep reductions in spending on Amtrak and airport grants. It also cuts more than $2 billion in highway infrastructure funds and more than $500 million in transit grants.

Then there was Trump Executive Order.

Transportation Department cements Trump administration’s deregulatory policies with a ‘rule on rules’
The Washington Post
By Ian Duncan
December 5, 2019

The Transportation Department said Thursday that it has enshrined the Trump administration’s approach to cutting regulations and red tape in the government’s formal rule book.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced she has signed a “rule on rules” that will ensure the department’s regulations aren’t too complicated, out of date or contradictory.

When it comes to investigating suspected wrongdoing and enforcing its regulations, the new rules also require the department “where feasible, foster greater private-sector cooperation in enforcement.”


The result: The department says since President Trump’s inauguration it has saved businesses and consumers $3.7 billion in costs that would have been imposed by federal regulations.

To bad it did make it safer. The Guardian wrote,

The result: The department says since President Trump’s inauguration it has saved businesses and consumers $3.7 billion in costs that would have been imposed by federal regulations.


“His trip serves as a reminder that Trump and his administration made gutting transportation and environmental safety regulations a key priority of their Maga agenda,” the Democratic National Committee said in an email to reporters.

Linking to a number of media reports of his transportation policies, it said, “Trump and his administration rolled back … transportation safety and environmental rules, including toxic chemical regulations,” and “Trump’s budget proposals slashed funding for investigating accidents, enforcing environmental rules, and prosecuting environmental crimes”.

But the Republicans conveniently forgets about Trump and wants to direct the blame on the Democrats.

Calling in the propagandists! The spin doctors!

‘You’re not forgotten‘: how the right racialized the Ohio train disaster
Fox News, Trump and JD Vance claim Biden overlooked East Palestine’s plight, citing residents’ whiteness as the reason
The Guardian
By Ed Pilkingtonin New York and Nina Lakhani in East Palestine
26 Feb 2023

Until 2 February it was business as usual in the small rural community of East Palestine, Ohio. The local paper carried obituaries and sporting results, interspersed with stories of a homecoming queen, an abusive puppy mill and the driver in the Toughest Monster Truck Tour who was arrested for human trafficking.


Three weeks into the disaster, a new set of headlines has started to billow up from right-wing outlets and commentators. Now the tragedy of East Palestine has morphed into a racialized lament for the “forgotten” people abandoned by the uncaring “woke” Biden administration.

For “forgotten”, read white.

Leading the charge, as is so often the case with such white-America nativist fearmongering, is the Fox News star Tucker Carlson. “East Palestine is overwhelmingly white, and it’s politically conservative,” he said recently. “That shouldn’t be relevant, but it very much is.”


The idea that the rail disaster should be viewed through a racial lens has spread like a toxin from Fox News, through right-wing news sites and social media, into the political realm. JD Vance, the first-term Republican US senator from Ohio, picked up the clarion call of the “forgotten” Americans, calling the residents of East Palestine, pointedly, “our voters”.

The Wizard of Oz.
The Republicans are pulling out all the stops to pin the blame on President Biden and manufacturing fake news.

“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain”

Where the right-wing pundits come unstuck is the idea that white communities in rural America are getting a far rougher deal at the hands of government and media elites than the Black urban poor. The argument is misleading, and some environmental justice advocates suggest, actively dangerous.

“The idea that Black people are advantaged when it comes to environmental justice is a very insidious, divisive narrative,” said Evlondo Cooper, a senior researcher on climate and energy with the watchdog group Media Matters for America.

Yep, the Republicans are very good at driving wedges and ignoring history.


1 comment:

  1. I really think 2028. By that time the anti-gay nonsense that is furiously spreading will make everyone disgusted. Even MTG is going to realize that she has really great gay and trans friends. We have a male spouse of a vice president. We will then get a first gentlemen spouse of a president. It's time.