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The Public, the Personal, and the Utter Hypocrisy of the GOP

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From Robert Reich Blog

GOP Hypocrisy
GOP Hypocrisy
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Trump and many Republicans insist that the decisions whether to wear a mask, go to a bar or gym, or work or attend school during a pandemic should be personal. Government should play no role.

Yet they also insist that what a woman does with her own body or whether same-sex couples can marry should be decided by government.

It's a tortured, topsy-turvy view of what's public and what's private. Yet it's remarkably prevalent as the pandemic resurges and as the Senate considers Trump's pick for the Supreme Court.

By contrast, Joe Biden has wisely declared he would do "whatever it takes" to stop the pandemic, including mandating masks and locking down the entire economy if scientists recommend it. "I would shut it down; I would listen to the scientists," he said.

And Biden wants to protect both abortion and same-sex marriage from government intrusion. In 2012 he memorably declared his support of the latter before even Barack Obama did so.

Trump's opposite approaches, discouraging masks and other COVID restrictions while seeking government intrusion into the most intimate decisions anyone makes, have become the de facto centerpieces of his campaign.

At his "town hall" on Thursday night, Trump falsely claimed that most people who wear masks contract the virus.

He also criticized governors for ordering lockdowns, adding that Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer "wants to be a dictator." (He was speaking just one week after state and federal authorities announced they had thwarted an alleged plot to kidnap and possibly kill Whitmer.)

Attorney General William Barr -- once again contesting Trump for the most wacky analogy -- has called state lockdown orders the "greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history" since slavery.

Yet at the very same time Trump and his fellow-travelers defend peoples' freedom to infect others or become infected with COVID-19, they're inviting government to intrude into the most intimate aspects of personal life.

Trump has promised that the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, establishing a federal right to abortion, will be reversed "because I am putting pro-life justices on the court."

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Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.

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