Democrats: The Test Is Yet to Come

Democrats: The Test Is Yet to Come

May 19, 2020

When the dust settles from the coronavirus -- months, maybe even years from now -- there will be a lot of storylines from the crisis that were never told. One of the biggest, history will show, is about this president. Like most leaders in his position, he'd never faced a tragedy of this magnitude. But unlike so many others, Donald Trump turned to America -- not government -- for answers.

It worked, not that most of the country will hear about it. He solved the supply problem, the equipment problem, the ventilator problem. But it didn't matter. The haters in the media and Democratic Party would simply turn and harp on something else. "There is a new cardinal rule in journalism," NRO editor Rich Lowry warns, "never write anything favorable about the Trump administration's coronavirus response, even about its successes." Obviously, he points out, no one's response has been perfect. "But to read the press, there is basically nothing good that the Trump administration has done over the last three months."

And yet, the numbers tell a different story. Rich's exhaustive column traces the "Massive Trump Coronavirus Supply Effort that the Media Loves to Hate," explaining the unprecedented ways Trump's partnership the private sector has paid off. Mask, face shield, gown, and glove production now number in the hundreds of millions. Then, of course, there's the incredible ventilator success story. According to FEMA, America was manufacturing about 30 million N95 respirators a month before the virus. Now? We're up to 180 million a month.

"None of this happened by accident," Lowry insists. "At a time of unprecedented stress on the supply chain and a yawning gap between supply and demand in the market, it required considerable clever improvisation and determined hustle. This was not your average bureaucratic response. It was a partnership between the public and private sector to get supplies to the United States on an urgent basis and ship them to the places that needed them most, and then begin to ramp up manufacturing here at home."

But, despite these extraordinary breakthroughs, Democrats are still arguing that the federal government knows better. Now that the president's overcome almost every obstacle in his way, the Left has latched on to something else: testing. Of course, they can't stand the idea that the administration's solution doesn't run right down Independence Avenue. Instead of relying on a slow, wasteful, and unwieldy Fed, the president is turning testing over to the competitive environment where he's had so much success: the free market. States have $11 billion dollars to get the ball rolling, and in "the laboratory of diverse states," as Senator Mike Braun (R-Ind.) called it, that ought to be more than enough to chart a path forward.

Already, Adm. Brett Giroir testified in the Senate, America's progress is nothing to sneeze at. As of last week, the U.S. had conducted nine million coronavirus tests -- with expectations to ramp up to a whopping 40-50 million a month by September. Even at that astounding pace, liberals aren't satisfied. They want a national testing plan that raises costs and creates even more dependence on government. A government, Republicans fired back, that isn't innovative enough or nimble enough to handle its own challenges -- let alone this one.

Frankly, it's a lesson we all should have learned from Hurricane Katrina, when America first started feeling this paradigm shift in the way government approaches problem solving. When the media fiercely criticized the White House's response, George Bush followed their lead and started throwing federal money at the problem. It didn't work. It never does. For years, I drove by rows of hastily purchased trailers in Louisiana that Washington had bought for temporary housing -- but had to be abandoned because high levels of formaldehyde reportedly made them toxic.

Now, Democrats want to federalize our response and create billions of tests that would be just as pointless. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), for one, wants every American to be tested, which -- Dr. Andy Harris (R-Md.) points out -- is "ridiculous." "There are plenty of tests out there [for] everyone who is symptomatic," which is what the CDC recommends. "And then test people who work in high-risk places like nursing homes. So there are plenty of tests out there... Maybe at some point, we do what's called an antibody test..." But testing everyone "makes no sense whatsoever... [It] doesn't solve the issue. And we've seen that in South Korea, which, of course, the Democrats have held up for a long time. But they're having problems now, even though they do a lot of tests."

The bottom line is the president's approach is working. It "would seem an interesting story," Lowry pointed out, "if the press weren't too vehemently opposed to Trump [to tell it]."

Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Mission Compromise: Israel's Power-Sharing Government

May 19, 2020

It took three elections, two political parties, and one pandemic, but Israel has finally sworn in its new unity government. The year and a half standoff is over -- and a new chapter in cooperative leadership, with all of its twists and turns, has begun.

For Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it will be his fifth term -- but by far the most intriguing. At the swearing in ceremony, the hallmarks of the global virus weren't the only thing that stood out. Apart from the social distancing and other precautions, the other difference was that two men -- once rivals -- now shared the same stage. "Because of the pandemic," Netanyahu insisted, "we have decided to set our differences aside and fight together shoulder to shoulder against this massive challenge."

The two men have worked together before -- a fact that should give the Israelis some comfort. But now, they will do so as the head of a massively expanded government. Chris Mitchell, CBN's Middle East bureau chief, pointed out on "Washington Watch" that this is a "record government in terms of size." "There are 36 ministers," he explained -- partly to satisfy both sides. "It's unwieldy," Chris agreed, "and they seem to be making [up] jobs for many of these ministers." But he, like most people in the region, will wait to see how the power sharing pans out.

And while there's almost no daylight between the two parties on defense, there are plenty of hot-button issues to watch out for in the coming days. "Perhaps the biggest inherent tension would be the whole idea of annexation. Benjamin Netanyahu wants to annex or declare sovereignty over 30 percent of what people know as the West Bank... And that's something that Benny Gantz and his Blue and White coalition would rather not see. One of the things that I thought about comes out of the book of Amos: How can two walk together unless they be agreed? And we'll just see how far they can walk together."

Then, of course, there are other sticking points, like the judiciary's power, which are only adding to the fragility of the relationship. Much like American conservatives, Netanyahu is very wary of the kind of activism that we see in the courts today. So when the new justice minister, a member of the center-Left Blue and White, says he's going to protect the judiciary, people will be very curious to know what, exactly, he means.

As for common ground, "I think across the board, [with the exception of the fringe Left], they agree on issues of Iran... They agree on issues of counterterrorism against Hamas, Palestinian Authority incitement, all of those." And by and large, Chris believes, every Israeli is just relieved not to have to go through another election. "They've gone over maybe 500 days since the beginning of this political crisis, and now they finally have a government. And I think the other thing that really unified and finally put Netanyahu and Gantz together was the coronavirus pandemic. People wanted them to address the national emergency over here. Right now, they have had over 16,000 cases, just more than 250 deaths. But they had 25 percent unemployment. So I think Israelis wanted the government to be able to handle this crisis, at least for the next six months or so."

As Netanyahu said, "The public wants a unity government, and this is what the public is getting." How well it works is a question only time can answer.

Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

'Because I Live, You Also Will Live'

May 19, 2020

He was just 17 years old, a young, broken teenager living in Delhi when he tried to end his own life. But Ravi Zacharias didn't die. Not then. He woke up in a hospital, where someone handed him a book that would change his life -- and so many others': the Bible. "Thank God I was spared," he said later. But over a lifetime of evangelism that spanned every corner of the world, it is us who are thankful.

For the next 57 years, he dedicated his life to the Savior he found in that hospital room -- building a global ministry that he described as, "helping the thinker believe and the believer think." From 1984 on, after two decades of theological study and writing, he founded Ravi Zacharias International Ministries -- brimming with Christian scholars and authors who set out to help people deal with the difficult questions of faith. Over time, the soft-spoken man with a great sense of humor and purpose would become, in many places, a household name.

To many people who knew Ravi's passion for answering people's questions about God, his last article on the RZIM website seemed fitting: "Just Thinking: At All Times." It was there that he could answer personally a question he had answered publicly -- about suffering, faith, and God's goodness.

After his sudden diagnosis in March, and an even grimmer prognosis in April, Ravi wanted people to know that even in the midst of cancer, "The Bible assures us that at all times God is with us. He is our comforter; He is our healer. He is our physician; He is our provider. He knows better than we do... God has an appointed time for all of us. His protection and security is ours 'til that moment comes when it's 'closing time.'"

Closing time for Ravi came early Tuesday morning, surrounded by his wife of almost 50 years and family. His daughter, Sarah, says that his tombstone will bear the verse that turned a hurting teenager into a man determined to help people find God -- John 14:19: "Because I live, you also will live."

Ravi came to the Lord, he wrote in his final days, "uncertain about his future." But he remains, as he hopes everyone is, "certain about my destiny." It is a destiny that, because of his life's work, many will share. #ThankYouRavi

Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

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