Few living Americans have ever seen the troubles we’re going through now. We’re not at war, nor are we enduring the moral equivalent of war. But we’re in a struggle. And for many, it’s been made worse by governors who have gone too far.
Gretchen Whitmer, the Democrat who thinks she runs, rather than serves, Michigan, might be the worse of the lot.
“She has,” say Andrew Fillat and Henry Miller, both regular I&I contributors, “exhibited a stunning dumbness that, even among politicians, is extraordinary.”
Her “decrees in the name of mitigating the spread of COVID-19 have been both bizarre and counterproductive, lacking common sense or any sort of scientific basis and eliciting widespread mistrust of her judgment,” they wrote last week in American Greatness.
Whitmer has treated the people of Michigan as if they are subjects rather than a free people. This is the politician who required stores to rope off non-grocery sections of their sales spaces, in effect banning “the sale of baby car seats, seeds, gardening tools and other supplies”; ordered “arguably the country’s most draconian and nonsensical provisions”; forbade Michiganders who have more than one home from traveling between their residences; has said she alone “has the right to decide when the state is in a state of emergency and when it is not”; ignored duly passed legislation that denied her request to extend her declared state of emergency; and has regarded protesters as misbehaving children rather than people who feel suffocated by her power grab.
Much of the resentment toward Whitmer, considered a possible pick as Joe Biden’s running mate, is based on her “one-size-fits-all approach – which,” says Hillsdale College professor Paul A. Rahe writing in Ricochet, “makes little sense given the fact that the epidemic has had no effect or next to no effect in many parts of the state.”
Whitmer’s counterpart in California has tapped into the authoritarian that simmers just beneath the surface of nearly every Democrat in the nation. When Gov. Gavin Newsom issued his stay-at-home order in March, the Los Angeles Times called it “an unprecedented action in modern California history.” At times, it’s seemed he can hardly contain the raw pleasure he’s taking in ordering the lives of the masses.
Since shutting down the state, Newsom floated reopening plans that included benchmarks so vague that they are almost meaningless. The ambiguity allows him to extend the process as long as he sees fit. It’s open-ended. That’s why Californians can read satirical headlines such as this one – “Governor Unveils Innovative 37-Step Plan To Reopen State Over The Next 10 Years” – and have a momentary panic attack because it seems like it could be real news.
Last week, Newsom brawled with Orange County, where residents had been enjoying their beaches in the Southern California spring weather. He disapproved and ordered all beaches in the county to be closed, even though police report “beachgoers (are) mostly keeping social distance.” A day later, he said “if we can hold the line and continue to do good work and just avoid the temptation to get back and congregate with people in ways where we can see an increase in the spread, we’ll get there much sooner than many people perhaps think.”
The statement was pure condescension. It was like a parent saying “if you kids behave and don’t go to the beach for just a few more days, you’ll be rewarded with a treat.”
To counter Newsom’s beach closure, the Huntington Beach City Council voted 5-2 to “to direct the City Attorney to pursue any and all legal actions” to challenge the directive, while the Dana Point City Council voted 4-1 “to seek a temporary restraining order blocking the order,” The Hill reported.
Also last week, Newsom issued a list of activities that will no longer be outlawed. It quickly drew derision. The Daily Wire reported that some of the newly permitted activities “raised more than a few eyebrows on social media for either being so specific or painstakingly obvious, such as the suggestion for people to avoid gardening in groups or giving permission for people to wash the car.”
“Good news, California! We’re allowed to watch sunsets!” tweeted Buzz Patterson, a Republican candidate in the state’s 7th congressional district, after the list was released.
A few others who qualify for dishonorable mention include:
- Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, who wouldn’t let 10 people flock together for church while at the same time allowing the entire General Assembly to gather to go over budget issues. The Justice Department intervened on the side of a church suing the state, saying “there is no pandemic exception to the Constitution and its Bill of Rights.”
- Democratic Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon — a state virtually untouched by the outbreak — who late last week extended her stay-at-home order until July 6, beating Gov. Northam, who up until then had the distinction of imposing the longest lockdown in the country.
- Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, whose administration set up a “snitch portal” to field complaints about businesses during the lockdown.
- Andrew Cuomo, New York’s Democratic governor, who, says PJMedia, “had the worst response to the crisis of any governor in America.” He’s been “panicky, sometimes hysterical.”
The New York Post reported that former New York Gov. George Pataki, a Republican, said Cuomo’s nursing home policies have been “a disaster” during the pandemic.
“Thousands of people’s lives might not have been lost except for these tragic policies,” Pataki said.
State laws allow for all of these governors to be recalled or impeached, and all deserve what the laws permit. They’ve abused their power, and violated the public trust. They should be drawing unemployment checks rather than executive salaries.
— Written by J. Frank Bullitt