The quote is from "Dr. Strangelove,"Stanley Kubrick's 1964 dark comedy about nuclear war. In the movie, a crazy general has given the "go" codes to a squadron of nuclear-armed B-52s to attack the Soviet Union. In the clip below, the president and his advisers are trying to prevent the planes from reaching their targets -- if one plane gets through, it will most likely trigger a nuclear war. General Buck Turgidson, however, argues that instead of trying to stop the planes, we should attack Russia with our full nuclear arsenal.*
(I have no doubt that if General Turgidson were alive today, he would be working in the Trump administration.)
Last night, I thought of this scene when I read that the president was considering allowing people to go back to work even if it meant significantly increasing the number of deaths from the coronavirus. Some of his supporters on Fox News, for example, rushed to back the proposal. Here, for example, is the Lieutenant Governor of Texas making the case last night on Fox:
Tx Lt Gov Dan Patrick says grandparents would be willing to die to save the economy for their grandchildren pic.twitter.com/wC3Ngvtsbj
Our people want to return to work. They will practice Social Distancing and all else, and Seniors will be watched over protectively & lovingly. We can do two things together. THE CURE CANNOT BE WORSE (by far) THAN THE PROBLEM! Congress MUST ACT NOW. We will come back strong!
(Beyond Fox News, Trump does have his supporters. Here is a list from TPM.)
Where is Senator Capito on this?
Senator Shelley Moore Capito was on the front page of this morning's Wheeling Intelligencer talking about the coronavirus:
“I am worried about the community spread,” she said. “That’s what we’re seeing in other states. (In West Virginia) it’s not somebody bringing it in from a large airport and spreading it within the community.
“We have so many vulnerable people in our state. This is my cause for concern. If this becomes a big community spread issue — like in nursing homes, assisted living and large communities, large families — that is very, very concerning. That’s where you see the isolation (part) of the challenge is going to become more critical than where it is today.”
But what happens to community spread if Trump puts people back to work starting next week? West Virginia is the second oldest state in the country and its population will become increasingly vulnerable if we put people back to work. West Virginia does have some reporters (they aren't all stenographers) -- hopefully one of them will soon get a chance to ask Capito about whether she supports Trump's idea or the citizens of West Virginia.
President Muffley was the voice of reason in Kubrick's film. Unfortunately, there are no Muffleys in the Trump administration.