The central dichotomy of 2022


The central dichotomy of 2022

The covers of the Washington Examiner magazine this year revealed Americans’ frustration with arrogant, incompetent government (on the economy, immigration, education, and COVID) plus rising concern about terrible leaders.

These two factors combined to put the nation where it is now, with former President Donald Trump losing his grip but President Joe Biden declaring he’ll change “nothing” because he’s doing beautifully and is apparently bent on seeking a second White House term at age 82.

Here’s how it played out.

In January, we depicted Dr. Anthony Fauci as “Dr. No Clue,” an evil government non-genius using supposed expertise to foist falsehoods and pointless mandates on us all. The theme expanded in February to “Teachers Holding Children Hostage” and then to mothers’ screaming frustration over “COVID’s Parenting Chaos.” By March, it was simply “Parents vs. Teachers,” which led naturally in August to an entire magazine on the need for school choice. Raging disagreement over whether parents or government should decide what children learn, where, when, and by whom emerged as a huge political issue.

Parental rebellion encouraged Republicans to expect a big midterm election win, as did the even more powerful immediate issue of Democrats’ massive inflationary spending — several trillion extra dollars — that incinerated buying power and still threatens recession. We featured Biden laughing maniacally in February, hosing a “Money Blizzard” over Uncle Sam, and by April, he was tangled in the gasoline pipe of his “Energy Screw-Up,” which made inflation much worse.

This turned out not to be transitory and led us to see the “GOP on a Roll” as November began, about to crush Democrats. But the Left’s ideologues and incompetents weren’t the most concerning form of crazy. Voters weighed it against Trump and decided Trumpiness, with its fabrications about a stolen election in 2020, needed to be squashed first even at the cost of missing a midterm rebuke to a deeply unpopular president.

We’d raised this dichotomy in March with a magazine cover depicting Minority Leaders Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) “Trying to Steer Past Trump,” but they didn’t manage it by Election Day. So voters booted Trump-endorsed candidates, and our Nov. 15 cover showed the McLeaders dismally wondering “What Happened to the Wave?”

Biden, ever ready to think himself wonderful, took the result as showing he had nothing to learn. Republicans and conservatives recalibrated, and more of them decided the Trump effect is wholly negative. Our Nov. 22 cover had a hook yanking the Donald out of the spotlight under the headline “Time for Trump to Go.” The following week, we advised Republicans to “Do the Right Thing” and present themselves in the next two years as plausible, not crazy-angry.

That’s where things stand now, and we’ll discover in the next few months whether Republicans will make the effort to lead the country back to sane government or allow themselves to be led by their fringe.

This is the last issue of 2022. We’ll be back with our first issue of next year on Jan. 3. Until then, I want to wish all our readers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and thank our record number of magazine subscribers for their loyalty and support.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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