The Lincoln Project recently released a new ad as part of its anti-Trump campaign. This one defends Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is wrongly being undermined by the Trump Administration. As with anything this group posts, the intent of the message needs to be made clear, and on the surface this ad might seem innocuous. But, in typical conservative fashion, they decided to gloss over some essential details to score cheap political points.
— Hal Boedeker (@tvguyhal) July 15, 2020
For anyone who has been living under a rock the past few months, The Lincoln Project is a Political Action Committee (PAC) formed by Republican operatives with the sole goal of taking down Donald Trump and returning to the old ways, so to speak. The thing is, these are the same people who spent years building and cultivating the anger that now makes the Republican party. The only real difference between The Lincoln Project and Republicans at large is this specific group happens to have found themselves opposed to Trump.
The PAC tends to release weekly videos highlighting the corruption and ineptitude of Trump’s presidency. This week is no different in that they adhered to the timeless Republican strategy of ignoring the truth to score a punch against their opposition.
In truth, the defense of Dr. Fauci is needed, especially as cases of COVID-19 spike across the country. The Lincoln Project even pointed out his work as a hero during the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s.
There’s a big problem — The Lincoln Project invoked the names of Reagan and Bush in defense of Fauci to tacitly take credit for the doctor’s achievements while glossing over deadly policies the Republicans have implemented.
While George H. W. Bush did sign the Americans with Disabilities Act, which stopped people who were HIV positive from being discriminated against, he also responded with indifference. “Here’s a disease where you can control its spread by your own personal behavior,” Bush said. “You can’t do that in cancer.”
Bush was pretty bad on the AIDS epidemic, though his predecessor Ronald Reagan, who he served under as vice president, was much worse. The infamous Reagan viewed the communities affected by the epidemic with apathy at best and antipathy on the regular. One press briefing that truly demonstrated Reagan and his administration’s outlook comes to mind, where Reagan Press Secretary Larry Speakes joked about the crisis devastating vulnerable communities, including African-Americans and LBGTQ individuals. When the press pool wasn’t laughing, there was only apathy.
Lester Kinsolving: Is the president concerned about this subject, Larry?
Larry Speakes: I haven’t heard him express concern.
The Reagan response was so terrible that Hillary Clinton actually had to say she misspoke when she praised both Ronald Reagan and his wife for their low-key advocacy as the infection rate rose in the United States and across the world due to chronic indifference. Walter Odets, AIDS activist and clinical psychologist, said in his book In the Shadow of the Epidemic:
“This is a national health crisis… of a magnitude that requires presidential leadership to bring together all elements of society to deal with the problem… By the end of his presidency in 1989, Reagan had done nothing of substance, and the United States had suffered 89,343 deaths. The death rate was still rapidly rising, and more than 300,000 would be dead before the epidemic came under better control seven years later.”
The fact that The Lincoln Project would dare invoke both Bush and Reagan in such a sanitized fashion shows that, while they may be fighting against Trump, they are still playing the same game Republicans have always played. They bend the truth to form a narrative they deem fit for the situation with no regard for consistency or integrity.
Democrats praising this group should take heed and not become the same beasts they swore to fight.