The Screaming Moderate occasionally hands out awards for Yos! and Oys!, celebrating those individuals who do good deeds (Yo!) and bad ones (Oy!). The Committee on Yos! and Oys! meets when it feels like it.

First published in May 2021.

A gigantic Yo! to all those students (grammar, high school, and college) for adjusting and succeeding at distance learning the past year and to those graduates who endured/enjoyed their senior years without the traditional markers (proms, graduations) most of us had. It couldn’t have been easy and it had to take dedication and focus to ignore all the more fun things that surely distracted many from putting in the hours on their computers/tablets. Congratulations!

An equally gigantic Yo! to those first responders, health care workers and scientists who performed above and beyond to save as many people as possible from the pandemic at risk of their own lives. The scientists developed incredibly effective vaccines in an incredibly short amount of time that already is saving lives. Thanks, too, to former President Trump who okayed Operation Warp Speed which dedicated billions of dollars to rush the vaccine development. While he deserves credit for that, he also deserves a huge Oy! for his denial of the seriousness and neglect of pushing for mask-wearing and more to protect Americans. The battle is not over yet as more Americans need to be vaccinated, though. So, get vaccinated!

Oy! and Yo! (Depending on your politics) to a group battling for the low ground to fill an eventual void of Donald Trump. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is doing his best Trump imitation not only by closing what should be public events to the press (except to his favored right-wing outlets like Fox or OAN) to trying to pull more and more power into the Governor’s hands and away from local officials.

Then there’s Georgia Cong. Marjorie Taylor Greene, whose every utterance is aimed at raising money. She is a money-raising machine as well as a bigot, racist, anti-Semite and more. For her outrageous and hurtful comments, several weeks ago the House (all Democrats and 11 Republicans) censured Greene and removed her from all her committee assignments. She is left to focus 100 percent on making outrageous comments and tweets, and to raise huge amounts of money, which seems to be the reason she ran in the first place.

This week’s mind-bending entry by Greene was comparing wearing masks to protect against COVID to the Holocaust. Yes, she did. Americans, she said, were tattooed with masks not unlike the tattoos forced on Jews in Nazi Germany to identify their backgrounds, and who went to their deaths in to the ovens.

Not much can be said about that. Speaks for itself. Greene, like her role model Trump, never apologizes, though she does take down tweets (Lord, when did that become the bar?). Greene uses white identity and grievance politics just as Trump does. That’s because there’s a significant number of voters in the Party, or who at least vote for Trump, who agree with that.

Used to be someone ran for office out of ambition or arrogance or an honest devotion to service to his or her country. Now it seems people run so they can a get a big “commentator” cable news contract, to build a brand, raise money and say outrageous things. Another reason our D.C. politics is frozen. To apologize or admit mistake is to hurt your own brand. It’s done by politicians across the spectrum, but the standouts seem to on the right.

There are the runners-up in the “I want to be the next Trump” sweepstakes like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz who has buddied up to Trump despite Trump not only insulting Cruz’ wife during the 2016 Republican primary but accusing Cruz’ father of being among a conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy.

Then there is Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton who hasn’t smiled since… well, I’m not sure he’s ever smiled and Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley who says he never raised his fist in solidarity with the January 6 insurrectionists despite photographic evidence that he indeed did.

Oy! to former President Donald Trump who has fought to keep his tax returns and other financial documents from the public eye (no, that’s not why this Oy!) but a few weeks ago the former President, who has yet to (and never will) concede he lost the 2020 election, had his lawyers argue to a judge, to keep those records private, in an official filing, “While the TRUST Act (key to this case) is not the clearest statute, the best reading is that it does not apply to former presidents,” the argument stated. Voila, clearly the former President will argue against himself when it comes to letting the public know anything official about his finances. But the Big Lie continues.

A big Oy! to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (a front-runner to succeed Trump as the 2024 presidential nominee) who is doing his best to centralize state power in the state capital and shoving Florida from purple to red by fiat (Trump attempted to do this in Washington too). To get there, DeSantis has to stomp on the wishes of local governments (and citizens), which also goes against the grain of the traditional Republican Party which believes (believed?) that power must go to the local and state governments as much as possible.

It’s an all-out assault on home rule, from seizing control in health care emergencies to messing around in police budgets to voters’ abilities to launch ballot initiatives. 

Going Further:

B. Jay Cooper, former deputy White House press secretary to Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.