John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Masks, masking, and Montmartre

Posted on May 19, 2020
Montmartre, my favorite French Restaurant on Capitol Hill, announced it was closing last week.

It’s a casualty of the war on the pandemic.

It’s hard to say if we are winning or losing this war on COVID-19. But I do know that little restaurants across the country are closing, as are small businesses everywhere.

Jerome Powell, the chairman of the Fed, says that he expects that the economy will come back, slowly at first, more robustly later in 2021, presumably after we find a vaccine.

If we find a vaccine. By the way, we still don’t have a vaccine to fight Covid’s older relative, the common cold.

The body politic seems to be focused less on what happened to my favorite French restaurant and focused more on the twin battles of masks and masking.

The CDC, after recommending that people not wear masks, issued an update a month or so ago, now saying that they should.

Perhaps because the president said that he wasn’t into mask-wearing, it has become an article of faith among the intelligentsia that one must wear a mask.

In Washington, D.C., you must wear a mask if you want to go into any store and buy any product. In Los Angeles, if you leave your house, you must don a mask. Even some conservatives are more than willing to concede mask-wearing, as long as they get some of their freedom back.

Sean Hannity has said on his radio program that he willing to wear a mask if he can go to a Yankees game again. He will even drink his beer through a straw.

But Sean better be careful. Most of his viewers are in no mood to don masks if Donald won’t. They aren’t going to or kowtow to the liberal elite. They are in a fighting mood, and in no mood to compromise.

Conservatives want to open gyms, barbershops, hair salons, bars, and any other small business dubbed non-essential by the politicians and their set of tut-tutting experts.

Most of those experts haven’t spent more than two minutes thinking about Michael Flynn, unlike Sean Hannity, who has spent months talking on that very topic.

I haven’t really followed the unmasking of General Flynn. I have been far more interested in the plight of my favorite restaurants and the increasingly desperate situation facing my son’s travel baseball team schedule.

But to the Trump base voter, masks and unmasking present the same set of villains: The liberal elite and the partisan media teaming up once again to drive the president that they supported from office, either by hook or by crook.

President Trump has dubbed these unmasking revelations “Obamagate.” We know that President Obama knew about the entrapment of Michael Flynn but how much did he know about it?

Obamagate fits a pattern in the mind of President Trump’s base. First Flynn, then the Russian hoax then the Ukrainian impeachment. Where there is their smoke, there is fire.

Mr. Obama has taken an increasingly public role in leading the opposition to President Trump, and let’s face it, he is a far more compelling figure than his former vice president.

Obama unintentionally let the cat out of the bag in a virtual commencement address to graduates of historically black colleges and universities when he said, “More than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they’re doing.”

Well, that’s the point of the Trump Presidency, isn’t it? Rebelling against a ruling class that thinks it knows what it is doing, but really at every turn, is making things worse?

None of this will bring back Montmartre. In 1987, after being acquitted of corruption in a labor-racketeering case, Ray Donavon asked the question: “Which office do I go to get my reputation back?” My question: Which office to I go to get my favorite restaurant back?

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