Each week, I envision Mr. John Balentine sitting at his desk and contemplating the subject matter for his next “Here’s Something” column: Where do I begin? Do I consult my Ouija Board or the Republican Party Playbook? Easy – the Republican Party Playbook! His column of Aug. 21 (“Pandemic pet peeves, part 1”) directs blame for the pandemic to entities he believes are the responsible parties. Who are the responsible parties? The answer (from the Republican Party Playbook), “… media outlets and Democrats, it’s all political and campaign 2020 related.” He then states one of his numerous pet peeves: “… what to call it.” The answer (from the Republican Party Playbook), “I also like calling it the Wuhan flu …” He moves on to another pet peeve, i.e., attempting to educate his audience by quoting facts with respect to the H1N1 outbreak of 2009: “… that pandemic killed 575,000 people worldwide and more than 12,000 in America.” Why quote these specific facts? The answer (from the Republican Party Playbook) is to deflect from the truth: The COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 170,000 Americans – a figure more than 10 times the number in 2009. Why the need to deflect? The Republican Party and its leader, Mr. Trump, are responsible for the lackluster response to this health crisis. Why? Mr. Trump never understood the requirement for a national response plan (e.g., a specific plan, gathering/providing much-needed supplies, undertaking testing procedures, allowing the CDC to conduct and counsel states on appropriate guidelines to mitigate against the spread of the virus, etc.). The Republican Party Playbook instructs Mr. Balentine to deflect again by stating he believes President Obama was responsible for a “slack response” to the H1N1 outbreak because “… the media didn’t want to attack (Obama) … for fear of being labeled racist.” Maybe the day will arrive when Mr. Balentine consults his Ouija Board for the topic (and answers) for his next weekly column – one can only hope!

John M. Mishler