Day: January 3, 2021

Background Briefing: January 3, 2020


12 Republican Senators and 140 House Members Debase Themselves in an Un-American Putsch

We begin with Vice President Pence, who on Wednesday will preside over the Senate’s certification of the recent election, welcoming the efforts of 11 Republican senators led by Senator Cruz to audit the election Biden won. Going further than Cruz’s efforts to pander to the base of a party of cult-followers in the thrall of defeated leader who is shredding American democracy with his scorched-earth tactics while threatening to primary any Republican with the decency to stand up for the Constitution, is Missouri’s junior Senator Josh Hawley who plans to reject the votes of 81 million Americans who voted for Biden. Joining us is a former colleague of Hawley’s from his days teaching constitutional lawFrank Bowman, a Professor of Law at the University of of Missouri School of Law, and a former federal and state prosecutor whose latest book is High Crimes and Misdemeanors: A History of Impeachment in the Age of Trump. He recently tweeted out a message to the ambitious young Senator Hawley, “I had no idea how low you would be prepared to go in pursuit of power. You call yourself a ‘constitutional lawyer’. But you disgrace the profession & dishonor the constitution daily.” We will discuss this fascistic effort to derail Biden’s inauguration which Senate leader McConnell has tried to avoid, that has now been joined by 140 Republicans in the House in a putsch which is both futile and cynical since it has no chance of succeeding. But it does illustrate how the Republicans have debased themselves in blind support of a wannabe dictator, undermining American democracy itself in what Senator Romney describes as “ambition eclipsing principle.” 


Limited Supply and Urgent Need in the Botched Distribution of Vaccines

Then we examine the botched distribution of desperately needed vaccines with only 2.8 million Americans inoculated out of the 20 million the Trump administration promised would be vaccinated in December. Meanwhile the manufacturer of one of the vaccines, Pfizer, announced that millions of doses are languishing in warehouses waiting for shipment orders from Trump who is calling on the states to “Get moving!” Jon Cohen, a correspondent with Science Magazine covering infectious diseases, outbreaks, immunology and vaccines, joins us to discuss how this bottleneck between limited supply and urgent demand reflects the patchwork of the nation’s broken healthcare and medical systems. 


Will the Fortunate Circumstances That Led To America’s Rise Last Much Longer?

Then finally we speak with Stephen Walt, Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University whose latest book is The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy. He joins us to discuss his article at Foreign Policy “America’s History of Luck in Running Out: The country’s rise was fueled by fortunate circumstances that seem unlikely to last much longer.”