House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) unveiled an ambitious economic aid package yesterday, which Senate Republicans quickly condemned. The partisan reaction wasn't exactly a surprise.
What was unexpected was the way in which some GOP lawmakers expressed their concerns. Take Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), for example, who appeared on Fox News and made this case:
"Her bill would turn over all of our public safety decisions, or most of them, to [the Occupational Safety and Health Administration] -- which will probably, promptly, require all of us to abide by OSHA rules. I don't want to have to wear a face mask in the shower. That's the sort of stuff that OSHA promulgates every day."
Does the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which exists to help protect Americans in the workplace, regulate what people wear in their own showers in the own homes? Of course not -- and it's not the sort of "stuff that OSHA promulgates every day."
Kennedy almost certainly knows better, but (a) he's likely hoping viewers are easily fooled; and (b) he and his Republican brethren may not have much in the way of actual arguments against the House Democratic economic aid package.
Nevertheless, if recent history is any guide, this is how nonsense takes root. If you get a furious email from a weird uncle who watches Fox all day, claiming that "Pelosi wants to force everyone to wear masks in the shower," you'll know why.