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Even by Washington standards, this has been a particularly shameless week.
With millions of Texans freezing in their homes, Senator Ted Cruz fled to a Mexican beach, offering his constituents little more than the political cliché of wanting to be a “good dad.” (Apparently, flying your daughters to Cancún is just like car-pooling — if your minivan were the Ritz-Carlton resort.)
Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas blamed the complete meltdown of state infrastructure not on a lack of preparation from leaders in the state but on the Green New Deal — a liberal policy proposal that is not even close to becoming law.
His predecessor, former Gov. Rick Perry, suggested that Texans would willingly endure days of blackouts to keep the “federal government out of their business.” It seems hard to believe that any Texan — or really any human — would choose to have to melt snow for water.
The outrageous behavior extended beyond the Lone Star State. In New York, a state lawmaker said that Gov. Andrew Cuomo had vowed to “destroy” him for criticizing Mr. Cuomo’s handling of the deaths of nursing home residents in the past year — an issue that is under investigation by the Justice Department.
And Ron Johnson, the Wisconsin senator, said the armed attack on the Capitol didn’t seem all that well-armed. Apparently, he missed the many, many videos of attackers carrying guns, bats and other weapons.
And yet, beneath all this noise was the sound of something even more unusual: silence.
For much of the past six years, former President Donald J. Trump has dominated the political conversation, prompting days of outrage, finger-pointing and general news cycle havoc with nearly every tweet. The audacious behavior of other politicians was often lost amid Mr. Trump’s obsessive desire to dominate the coverage.
Well, the former president has now gone nearly silent, leaving a Trump-size void in our national conversation that President Biden has little desire to fill. That’s been a rude awakening for some other politicians, who find themselves suddenly enmeshed in controversy that isn’t quickly subsumed in a deluge of Trump news.
It’s unclear whether any will pay a significant political price for their actions. The last administration delivered a constant stream of chaos that may have fundamentally reshaped the kind of fact-based rhetoric and norm-abiding behavior we expect from our political leaders. Already, some politicians have adopted Mr. Trump’s playbook for surviving controversy: Blame liberals, double down and never admit any mistake.
Mr. Biden, at least, seems determined to set a different tone. T.J. Ducklo, a deputy press secretary who reportedly used abusive and sexist language with a female reporter, resigned last Saturday — reflecting Mr. Biden’s Inauguration Day promise that he would fire anyone he heard being disrespectful.
And in his first presidential town hall on Tuesday, Mr….