There's something familiar about Biden's proudly announced coronavirus plan

In old movies, before movies became overtly political, Hollywood writers were adept at creating utterly meaningless speeches for their political characters.  These speeches sounded good but meant nothing.  Think of a whole speech filled with various iterations of the line from Toy Story – "To infinity and beyond" – which seems aspirational but is actually nonsense.  Much the same can be said about Joe Biden's grand announcement that he has a plan to combat the coronavirus.

Hidden behind his banal platitudes was something more disturbing: when Biden moved on from criticizing Trump's actions for minimizing the coronavirus's impact, he offered a plan that's essentially a carbon copy of everything Trump has already said or done.  Either Biden has become more of a dullard than anyone realized, which is worrisome, or he thinks the American people are incredibly stupid, which is insulting.

A subdued Biden, his head swinging rhythmically from one TelePrompter to another, portentously announced that the coronavirus requires a national response.  He said people have to change their behaviors, wash hands, self-quarantine, and stop hugging and hand-shaking.  He promised to put Americans' health and safety first.

Stop me if you've heard this before...

Oh, you have?  You're correct.  It's precisely (a) what Trump has been saying and (b) what everybody else has been saying.

But wait!  There's more.

Biden announced that he has a committee of experts advising him and that he will "lead by science."  It's unclear what he thinks the alternative is.  Magic?  The Black Arts?

Biden then moved in for the kill, like an old dog gumming a worn out chew toy:

Downplaying it, being overly dismissive, or spreading misinformation is only going to hurt us and further advantage the spread of the disease. But neither should we panic or fall back on xenophobia. Labeling COVID-19 a foreign virus does not displace the accountability for the misjudgments that have been taken thus far by the Trump administration.

Biden was obviously attacking Trump and he was wrong on every point.

  • Trump didn't downplay the coronavirus.
  • Trump addressed the coronavirus immediately with travel restrictions and quarantines.
  • Trump was not overly dismissive but worked quickly with the CDC and other scientists.
  • Trump was the victim of misinformation that the media spread, whether lying that he called coronavirus a "hoax" or lying that he told people to go to work.
  • Trump has not panicked.
  • Trump was not being xenophobic when he stopped travel from areas in which the virus was and is spreading.

Having finished gumming Trump, Biden went back to saying the same things Trump has already said and promising to do things Trump has done.  That's right: Biden, with his history of plagiarizing, is at it again.  He's plagiarizing Trump's coronavirus policy:

  • He promised to make testing free and eliminate cost barriers for treatment, something Trump is already working on with private companies and with government programs.
  • He said his plan would help develop a vaccine, something the private sector here and in Israel is working on with support from Trump.
  • He said he'd deploy supplies and personnel, which Trump is already doing.
  • He said he'd deliver economic help to families and small businesses, something Trump made a centerpiece of his remarks on Wednesday.
  • He said he'd provide emergency paid leave for those affected by the virus, something Trump also said he's pushing.

Tim Murtaugh, the Trump 2020 communications director, slapped back hard:

In the past, Joe Biden has shown terrible judgment and incompetence in the face of public health issues[.] ... The Obama White House had to publicly apologize for and clean up after Biden when his irresponsible remarks caused panic during the swine flu outbreak in 2009. Just weeks ago, he was openly critical of President Trump's early move to restrict travel from China to the United States in response to the coronavirus — a decision which medical experts agree helped impede the spread of the virus to this country. Yesterday his campaign actually raised the vile conspiracy theory that the President purposely allowed the coronavirus to spread.  In times like this, America needs leadership and Biden has shown none. President Trump acted early and decisively and has put the United States on stronger footing than other nations. His every move has been aimed at keeping Americans safe, while Joe Biden has sought to capitalize politically and stoke citizens' fears.

Trump had a few things to say, too:

 

 

 

 

To the extent that Biden's plagiarism is wrapped around unfounded and demoralizing attacks against Trump (demoralizing not to Trump, but to the general public), Joel Pollak made an excellent point about both Biden and Bernie:

In old movies, before movies became overtly political, Hollywood writers were adept at creating utterly meaningless speeches for their political characters.  These speeches sounded good but meant nothing.  Think of a whole speech filled with various iterations of the line from Toy Story – "To infinity and beyond" – which seems aspirational but is actually nonsense.  Much the same can be said about Joe Biden's grand announcement that he has a plan to combat the coronavirus.

Hidden behind his banal platitudes was something more disturbing: when Biden moved on from criticizing Trump's actions for minimizing the coronavirus's impact, he offered a plan that's essentially a carbon copy of everything Trump has already said or done.  Either Biden has become more of a dullard than anyone realized, which is worrisome, or he thinks the American people are incredibly stupid, which is insulting.

A subdued Biden, his head swinging rhythmically from one TelePrompter to another, portentously announced that the coronavirus requires a national response.  He said people have to change their behaviors, wash hands, self-quarantine, and stop hugging and hand-shaking.  He promised to put Americans' health and safety first.

Stop me if you've heard this before...

Oh, you have?  You're correct.  It's precisely (a) what Trump has been saying and (b) what everybody else has been saying.

But wait!  There's more.

Biden announced that he has a committee of experts advising him and that he will "lead by science."  It's unclear what he thinks the alternative is.  Magic?  The Black Arts?

Biden then moved in for the kill, like an old dog gumming a worn out chew toy:

Downplaying it, being overly dismissive, or spreading misinformation is only going to hurt us and further advantage the spread of the disease. But neither should we panic or fall back on xenophobia. Labeling COVID-19 a foreign virus does not displace the accountability for the misjudgments that have been taken thus far by the Trump administration.

Biden was obviously attacking Trump and he was wrong on every point.

  • Trump didn't downplay the coronavirus.
  • Trump addressed the coronavirus immediately with travel restrictions and quarantines.
  • Trump was not overly dismissive but worked quickly with the CDC and other scientists.
  • Trump was the victim of misinformation that the media spread, whether lying that he called coronavirus a "hoax" or lying that he told people to go to work.
  • Trump has not panicked.
  • Trump was not being xenophobic when he stopped travel from areas in which the virus was and is spreading.

Having finished gumming Trump, Biden went back to saying the same things Trump has already said and promising to do things Trump has done.  That's right: Biden, with his history of plagiarizing, is at it again.  He's plagiarizing Trump's coronavirus policy:

  • He promised to make testing free and eliminate cost barriers for treatment, something Trump is already working on with private companies and with government programs.
  • He said his plan would help develop a vaccine, something the private sector here and in Israel is working on with support from Trump.
  • He said he'd deploy supplies and personnel, which Trump is already doing.
  • He said he'd deliver economic help to families and small businesses, something Trump made a centerpiece of his remarks on Wednesday.
  • He said he'd provide emergency paid leave for those affected by the virus, something Trump also said he's pushing.

Tim Murtaugh, the Trump 2020 communications director, slapped back hard:

In the past, Joe Biden has shown terrible judgment and incompetence in the face of public health issues[.] ... The Obama White House had to publicly apologize for and clean up after Biden when his irresponsible remarks caused panic during the swine flu outbreak in 2009. Just weeks ago, he was openly critical of President Trump's early move to restrict travel from China to the United States in response to the coronavirus — a decision which medical experts agree helped impede the spread of the virus to this country. Yesterday his campaign actually raised the vile conspiracy theory that the President purposely allowed the coronavirus to spread.  In times like this, America needs leadership and Biden has shown none. President Trump acted early and decisively and has put the United States on stronger footing than other nations. His every move has been aimed at keeping Americans safe, while Joe Biden has sought to capitalize politically and stoke citizens' fears.

Trump had a few things to say, too:

 

 

 

 

To the extent that Biden's plagiarism is wrapped around unfounded and demoralizing attacks against Trump (demoralizing not to Trump, but to the general public), Joel Pollak made an excellent point about both Biden and Bernie: