Welcome to DiscRep, Berny Belvedere’s daily guide to the public discourse for Arc members. Got something you think I should include in a future entry? Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. To discuss any of today’s items, post a comment below.
Reihan Salam, a conservative I’ve long considered one of the sharpest in the field, despite being willing as president of the Manhattan Institute to platform a lot of stuff that just isn’t enriching or enlightening, is searching for “a conservatism of normalcy.” From his latest in The Atlantic:
DeSantis explicitly contrasted woke ideology with “normalcy” in his second inaugural address. DeSantis’s formulation—“We seek normalcy, not philosophical lunacy”—offers a way forward for those on the right who consider class-war conservatism a distraction from the threat of militant progressivism.
Rooted in growing Sun Belt suburbs, this ideological tendency would be less nostalgic and more aspirational. If class-war conservatives define business elites and entitlement-cutters as the fundamental challenge to America’s social order, a conservatism of normalcy would stand in opposition to the divisive racialism, unlimited welfarism, and cartel federalism of the progressive left. It would celebrate America’s multiethnic mainstream, defend law and order, and demand responsive, efficient, and limited government. And above all else, it would aim to competently advance its policy priorities.
It might be too much to expect this still-inchoate brand of conservatism to emerge victorious in the coming months. For one, a not-inconsiderable number of Republican primary voters are in no mood for normalcy. But as the right looks to the future, and to an electorate exhausted and demoralized by the politicization of every aspect of public life, the prospects for a conservatism of normalcy will grow only stronger.
Cathy Young’s latest in The Bulwark is over the “blue check trainwreck” initiated by Elon Musk’s utterly baffling model of running Twitter that has involved turning the blue check symbol as toxic as possible, inflicting it like a punishment on power users, and then wondering why no one wants to subscribe.
In The New York Times, Jonathan Weisman’s analysis on Joe Biden’s chances in 2024, in light of the president’s official announcement he’s running for reelection. From “Biden Faces Headwinds, but Democrats See Reasons for Optimism” (warning, this is not the part that is supposed to be optimistic):
Without doubt, Mr. Biden’s personal liabilities are tugging at the Democrats’ well-worn worry strings. Despite low unemployment, a remarkably resilient economy and an enviable record of legislative accomplishments in his first two years, the octogenarian president has never quite won over the nation, or even voters in his party. A new NBC News poll has Mr. Biden losing to a generic Republican presidential candidate, 47 percent to 41 percent.
Very troubling report in Politico about my home state’s highest-ranking public health expert. Apparently, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo “altered key findings in study on Covid-19 vaccine safety” due to political factors.
Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo personally altered a state-driven study about Covid-19 vaccines last year to suggest that some doses pose a significantly higher health risk for young men than had been established by the broader medical community, according to a newly obtained document.
Ladapo’s changes, released as part of a public records request, presented the risks of cardiac death to be more severe than previous versions of the study. He later used the final document in October to bolster disputed claims that Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were dangerous to young men.
How Solar Energy Got So Cheap (Vox)
The Vox video probably drew a lot of its analysis from this great book by Gregory Nemet:
Brian Potter at Construction Physics just posted two Substack articles about this (drawing from Nemet's book among other sources):