Talk about a timely book.
With the pandemic still at hand, former Utah Republican congressman and current Fox News contributor Jason Chaffetz has a decidedly relevant new book out. The title: They Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste: The Truth About Disaster Liberalism.
Much is written these days about various states and their efforts at election reform. But without doubt much if not all of that effort was launched by Republican reaction — make that appalled reaction — to Democrats use of the COVID-19 pandemic to upend the nation’s normal voting procedures in the 2020 election. And it wasn’t just election law for which Democrats used the pandemic.
In Virginia, Chaffetz writes,
Democratic “Governor Ralph Northam timed his signing restrictive gun legislation on April 10, when Americans were locked down and protests would be less likely.”
Democratic Governor “Tony Evers announced he was making it a criminal offense to attend church or go to work.”
Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer got into the business of extending a “ban on elective medical procedures and surgeries.”
Democratic Governor Tom Wolf used the pandemic to shut down mass gatherings of over 25…. making an exception for hundreds of people protesting racial injustice. In that case he joined the protest, in direct violation of his own COVID-19 reopening orders.
In short, Chaffetz writes, all of these Democratic governors and others “did what they [Democrats] always do — used euphemized language to mask cynical power grabs, used kids and the vulnerable as political leverage, and attacked the Constitution.”
All of these examples and so much more perfectly illustrate that famous quote from former Illinois Democratic Congressman and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel — which Chaffetz cites — that “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”
Chaffetz notes exactly what this has come to mean in practice:
Disaster liberalism is a means by which Democrats use the threat of an impending crisis to justify enacting unpopular or unconstitutional policies on an accelerated timeline that bypasses traditional checks and balances. Whether the crisis is legitimate, fabricated, or exaggerated, the solution is always the same: more government, less individual freedom, higher spending, higher taxes. Every crisis becomes a vehicle to enact an agenda that could not otherwise gain support in a democratic republic.
In the long ago and far away I was a young legislative aide to a Pennsylvania Republican congressman who served on the House Budget Committee. It fell to me to read and analyze the behemoth budget documents that appear regularly in Washington, replete with various “functions” that specified what amount of money was to be budgeted for a specific policy area.
One of the very first things I learned is that if there were some serious budgetary need that had to be addressed, one could always count on the fact that along with taking care of the serious problem, various members would use the moment to slide in all kinds of irrelevant projects that had nothing whatsoever to do with the real problem. This, in fact, is why the U.S. is trillions in debt.
Chaffetz relates exactly how this works by recounting that when he was a new member the disaster that was Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast. He writes, “The emergency became a vehicle by which pet policies could be funded without the regular order of a budget process.”
One example that Chaffetz points out is the scientific community expressing alarm at the protests against lockdowns. Scientists suggested that these gatherings of hundreds and thousands were “super spreader” events. Yet when there were similar protests in the name of Black Lives Matter, George Floyd, and racial justice — hey, no problem. In other words, the virus science was quickly politicized in support of left-wing causes.
Chaffetz writes that “Democrats in particular have gone to great lengths to brand their party as the Party of Science.”
Indeed. And though this particular incident has only happened in the last few days, well after the publication of the Chaffetz book, there is no less than Dr. Anthony Fauci himself saying this to MSNBC’s Chuck Todd:
Attacks on me, quite frankly, are attacks on science. If you are trying to, you know, get at me as a public health official and a scientist, you’re really attacking not only Dr. Anthony Fauci, you’re attacking science, and anybody that looks at what is going on clearly sees that. You have to be asleep not to see that.
That Fauci could say that, and say it with such self-assured ease, illustrates Chaffetz’s point exactly.
There is more here in this seriously important book. It takes no imagination to understand that as the pandemic subsides there will be other crises of whatever kind coming down the pike.
But what Chaffetz says in this book, with many illustrative examples, is critical for conservatives to understand:
The pages of this book are intended to give perspective on how liberals use a crisis to further the long-term public policy agenda that they could never achieve through our democratic processes. Many of their goals are truly radical, foreign to our core values, and over the top. They have to use a crisis, or create a crisis, to use either a figurative bludgeon or sometimes outright violence, to get their way….
When we recognize what they do, how they do it, and why they get away with it, we will all be empowered to fight back for the good of the nation.
Jason Chaffetz was a seriously good member of Congress. But in thinking through the way the American Left operates and why, and detailing this in book form in They Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste, he has performed an outstanding service to conservatives and, most importantly, to America itself.