Wiretap: The national news and analysis you should be reading

Mike Littwin's curated national news stories and analysis you should be reading
Branding by Mark Castillo

This week in the news: Vaccines, Sen. Susan Collins and John Hickenlooper

In the 2019 legislature, vaccine supporters fought a bloody battle in the measles wars in Colorado — and lost, thanks in large part to Gov. Jared Polis, who thinks mandating that parents vaccinate their children amounts to government intrusion and is counterproductive. Meanwhile, there’s another measles scare at Disneyland. Measles are actually the symptom here, and the real disease is the mistrust too many people, from right and left, have in knowledge and science. The New Yorker’s Nick Paumgarten lists the problems yet to be overcome: “Suspicion of authority, rejection of expertise, a fracturing of factual consensus, the old question of individual liberty versus the common good, the checkered history of medical experimentation (see: Tuskegee, Henrietta Lacks, Mengele), the cynicism of the pharmaceutical industry, the periodic laxity of its regulators, the overriding power of parental love, the worry and suggestibility it engenders, and the media, both old and new, that feed on it …” On the other hand, The Atlantic reports, you could make some of the same arguments — although with fewer kids and no red spots and far, far less concern — about the Goop craze.

While most Democrats are desperate to take Sen. Susan Collins’s seat, it’s not exactly unanimous, particularly among Dems in the Senate. Collins, who is running for her fifth term, is the most moderate Republican in the Senate, but she voted for Trump’s tax cut, voted for Brett Kavanaugh, voted not only to confirm Jeff Sessions but also introduced him. She’s one of at least three GOP seats that must be flipped if Democrats are to retake the Senate. Collins and Cory Gardner are the only two Republicans up for re-election who represent states carried by Hillary Clinton. Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat from West Virginia, has endorsed her. California Democrat Dianne Feinstein says she’s a friend and “I believe she’s a good senator.” Independent Angus King, Maine’s other senator who caucuses with the Democrats, endorsed Collins in 2014 and is conflicted now.

Matt Taibbi writes in Rolling Stone that John Hickenlooper is to environmentalists what Joe Lieberman was to anti-war Democrats and slams the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC) for endorsing Hickenlooper, whom he calls the closest thing to an “anti-climate” Democrat. That may be a stretch, although Hick’s support for fracking will probably be a major issue in the primary race. At the same time, six of the seven women running in Colorado’s Senate primary wrote a letter to the DSCC demanding it withdraw its “premature” endorsement of Hickenlooper, charging that the former governor was “tone deaf” to the contributions of the state’s progressive activists. The DSCC refused to reconsider its endorsement.

He has covered Dr. J, four presidential inaugurations, six national conventions and countless brain-numbing speeches in the New Hampshire and Iowa snow.