Unfortunately we must consider Ted Cruz's ass
Plus: 'Annus horribilis' (not Ted Cruz's, another one)!
Fine. FINE. A baker’s dozen of you freaks have sent me the link, so let’s talk about the Ted Cruz video.
A couple weeks ago, I wrote that bad-faith conservative operators would try to turn offhanded comments from a public-health official into an outrage cycle similar to the one they’ve successfully ginned up about gas stoves. The gist here—not that it actually matters to the right-wing agitators or the Republican base—is that George Koob, the director for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), made the mistake of taking a phone call from the Daily Mail, and proceeded to muse aloud that when the United States Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services release updated dietary guidelines in 2025, the recommended amount of alcoholic drinks per week was probably “not going to go up.” Koob also spitballed that if American drinking guidelines “go in any direction, it would be toward Canada,” a reference to our northerly neighbors’ recently revised suggestion of two drinks per week for men, and one for women.
These are not, broadly speaking, insane things to say. No credible public-health body is encouraging people to drink more alcohol in 2023.1 But it is insane to just kinda volunteer these guestimates to a shit-peddler like the Daily Mail, which immediately turned it into a story about Joe Brandon’s nanny-state overreach that even 10 days ago had already begun getting traction in the broader conservative media ecosystem. I predicted that would continue, in part because Canadian officials faced a faux-populist shitfit from that country’s right-wing earlier this year after releasing their revisions, and in part because the GOP has nothing substantive to offer this country’s voters besides moral panics and fabricated cultural grievances.2 And so: