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Good morning, it’s Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021. Rush Limbaugh, the pioneering 70-year-old conservative radio host who drove liberals moonbat crazy for more than three decades, has gone to his reward. I’m not exaggerating: Many lefties took to Twitter yesterday to chortle with delight at Limbaugh’s passing. Distasteful, yes, but such behavior is a yet another unpleasant feature of hyper-polarized American politics in the era of social media.

Much is being written about Limbaugh and his loyal audience of “Dittoheads,” but I’m thinking today of the 2,000 other Americans who died yesterday -- their names unknown except to their families -- of COVID-19. According to Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus is nearing 491,000. That suggests that sometime early next week, the number of Americans who will have succumbed to this awful disease will surpass 500,000. Half a million fatalities in one year’s time.

We have an effective vaccine -- effective, that is to say, against the strain of virus that began cutting us down last February. But the virus is mutating rapidly, the government is vaccinating its citizens too slowly, and millions of Americans are eschewing both masks and immunizations. As I have written previously, we are in a race against time.

With that warning, I’ll steer you to RCP’s front page, which presents our poll averages, videos, breaking news stories, and aggregated opinion columns spanning the political spectrum. Today’s edition features pieces by John Harris on Rush Limbaugh (Politico), Jill Filipovic on Joe Biden’s welcome “sanity” (CNN), Jill Lawrence on post-Trump Republicanism (USA Today), and Joseph Simonson on the pandemic successes of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (Washington Examiner.) We also offer original material from our own reporters, columnists, and contributors, including the following:

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Dems Close Ranks Around Newsom as GOP Recall Unity Frays. Susan Crabtree explores the situation unfolding in California. 

TV Shows Push Gun Control Myths -- in Sync With Biden. John R. Lott Jr. spotlights plot lines in network crime dramas that fly in the face of gun crime statistics, but which align with messaging from the new administration. 

Net-Zero Goal: A Dark Day for Labor? At RealClearInvestigations, Vince Bielski reports on seemingly irreconcilable differences between two core Biden constituencies: unions representing fossil fuel workers and greens eager to wipe out their jobs.  

New Mexico Is Most Impacted by Drilling Ban. At RealClearEnergy, Kevin Mooney points out that half of the state’s oil and gas production occurs on federal lands.  

Biden’s Green Policies Could Trigger Inflation’s Return. Also at RCE, Rupert Darwall has this warning.  

What Are the Facts on Stimulus and Inflation? At RealClearPolicy, Bruce Randle assesses both the data and competing economic theories.  

The Future of Technology Isn’t Dependent on Big Tech. RealClearMarkets editor John Tamny argues that Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Google will not shape what lies ahead so much as innovators that 99.9% of us are unaware of today.  

The National Apprenticeship Act: A Win-Win for America. At RealClearEducation, Thomas Hemphill hails legislation now before the Senate that would build upon one of the nation’s most successful job training programs.  

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Carl M. Cannon 
Washington Bureau chief, RealClearPolitics
@CarlCannon (Twitter)

Carl M. Cannon is the Washington bureau chief for RealClearPolitics. Reach him on Twitter @CarlCannon.

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