Two Monsters In Governor’s Clothing

The state of Florida currently has more hospitalizations due to COVID than any other state in the nation.  Cases in Texas are also surging, sending hospitals scrambling to find ICU beds for all the patients.  Both of these states have Republican governors who are doing everything in their power to reduce the population in their states.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (left) and Texas Governor Greg Abbott

Both Governor DeSantis of Florida and Governor Abbott of Texas have banned mask mandates in their state, meaning that localities cannot legally put a mask mandate into effect in order to protect the people.  Bad enough under any circumstances, but now, with parents preparing to send their children back to school in a week or two, it is critical.

Columnist Greg Sargent has the latest on the battle between the governors, localities, and school boards …


The rebellion against pro-Trump, anti-mask GOP governors is gaining steam

Opinion by

Greg Sargent

Columnist

Yesterday at 11:04 a.m. EDT

Let’s state this up front: GOP governors are not required by some higher Trumpian law to use official powers to actively thwart efforts to fight the spread of the coronavirus. Some are choosing not to do that: In South Dakota, the governor left decisions about mask mandates to local officials, and in Arkansas the governor admitted that an earlier ban on them was an “error.”

But the Republican governors of Texas and Florida — Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis — are in a class by themselves. Their states are seeing some of the worst surges of covid in the nation, yet they are continuing to hamstring local officials from acting to protect their constituents.

Which is why these governors are facing a rebellion of sorts. In both states, ABC News reports, officials are defying limits on mask mandates, setting up direct conflicts with those governors.

This will flush out into the open the truly twisted nature of what DeSantis and Abbott are doing. They piously claim to be defending their constituents’ freedom from government mandates. But they are using their power to prevent local officials from implementing basic public health measures in a highly selective way that is plainly molded around the obsessions of former president Donald Trump and his movement, not anchored in any genuine public interest rationale.

Local officials are rebelling

The derangement of this position is particularly clear in Texas. On Monday, Abbott announced that he is seeking the help of outside medical professionals to deal with the state’s covid surge. He is also asking hospitals to postpone all elective medical procedures as hospitals fill up.

Amid all this, the Dallas schools superintendent has reasonably announced that students, visitors and staff will have to wear masks in schools. He noted that the decision is an “urgent” matter of “protecting” children, teachers and workers.

Yet this directive required him to defy Abbott’s executive order barring mask mandates by government entities. To be clear, Abbott’s own actions amount to a stark admission that the state is in serious trouble — yet he continues to ban localities from taking measures to protect public health.

The absurd result, as the New York Times reports, is that local officials are scouring legal codes to find ways to get around Abbott’s blockade on implementing public health measures. This isn’t how officials should have to spend time and resources during a public health emergency.

In Austin, where cases are surging, local officials have recommended masking, but cannot require it, which has led the mayor of Austin to declare the situation “dire.” The Austin school district just announced a mask requirement, defying Abbott.

Meanwhile, in Florida, the superintendent of Alachua County Public Schools is moving ahead with mandatory masking. This is in defiance of DeSantis’s recent executive order empowering the state to withhold funds to punish school boards who implement mask mandates.

Incredibly, it appears DeSantis may make good on this threat. The superintendent, Carlee Simon, told “Morning Joe” on Tuesday that she’s received a letter from the state demanding justification for her move and essentially indicating that funding is at risk if she continues.

A handful of Florida parents are now suing DeSantis. One mom told CNN that she “never envisioned” that the governor “would actively be trying to harm my child,” and lamented correctly that limits on mask mandates are interfering with her son’s ability to get educated safely.

Anyone who has taken a young child to a camp or gathering this summer has witnessed how children playing together continue to drift inevitably into very close contact. It’s particularly ludicrous and venal to bar local officials from acting to defend these children from spread.

Abbott and DeSantis love to proclaim that they are defending the liberty of their states’ residents to proceed free of public health mandates, and that they should merely exercise “personal responsibility” in dealing with covid. But it’s hard to discern any genuine ideological vision here, since they have no apparent objection to all manner of other public health mandates.

“We have plenty of mandates,” Steve Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin, told me. “We require elementary school students to get various vaccinations. We require drivers to wear seat belts. We require adults to wear clothes.”

“There are any number of ways in which the laws of every state, including Florida and Texas, impose mandates that are designed to protect individuals,” Vladeck continued.

‘Covid exceptionalism’

All of which suggests that the real working ideology here is something you might call “covid exceptionalism.”

Obviously it would theoretically be possible for DeSantis and Abbott to believe, in good faith, that mandates against covid represent unacceptable incursions on liberty while other mandates do not.

But everyone knows the real reason DeSantis and Abbott are suddenly concerned with protecting people from public health mandates on covid in particular is that government officials eager to battle covid this way have become associated with assorted enemies of Trump and his following.

Because Trump and his movement have required this adherence to covid exceptionalism, local officials are being hamstrung from carrying out their own official responsibilities to act in defense of public health. It’s hard to find the right language to describe the seething contempt for public service and the public good that’s truly on display here.

29 thoughts on “Two Monsters In Governor’s Clothing

  1. Number one. As a former Florida resident, I loathe DeSantis. His mishandling of the pandemic from the beginning and the former governor, Rick Scott’s mishandling of the public assistance program spelled disaster for so many of the good people who worked hard every day only to end up being laid off with never a cent of public funding due to red tape issues and once back at work being in a war zone over masking. You can only imagine how an older adult’s life was there during the era of Trumpmania. And now this farce of a defense for ‘civil rights’. GIVE ME A BREAK. I wasn’t happy when my third son had to have a TB titer IN TEXAS at the age of twelve or he wouldn’t be allowed to attend school. I was strong armed into believing my child needed a non mandatory hepatitis vaccine in Louisiana but we didn’t do it. So what makes skanky Margie Greene and her herd of imbeciles think they are too special to adhere to guidelines that so obviously bring protection against a known health disaster? And I am a native of Louisiana. Can you blame me for seeking a place in paradise?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a number of blogging friends who live in Florida and the overall consensus among them is that DeSantis is a total jackass! And yet, he is considering a run for president in 2024!!! Sigh. Yes, I fully understand why you are seeking a place in Paradise! You couldn’t pay me to live in Florida … or anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon line, for that matter!

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    • The thought just came to me as I was responding to Keith’s comment, that the reason children are seemingly ‘expendable’ to our politicians is that they cannot vote, so the politicians have no vested interest in protecting the children. 57,000??? That’s a huge number, given your population! Unconscionable!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. one at least of thee two harbours hopes of becoming President so must be hoping at some point to be the GOP selection, maybe both are. But as a sort of common sense take hold, the question “Why would he want to hurt my child” will be asked more and more, and the answer by parents who finally understand the need for a mask mandate and maybe even a vaccine mandate at some stage, will be to make sure other Republicans or maybe even Democrats will get their votes .I hope neither would win a job as a rat catcher after this.
    Cwtch

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    • Yes, DeSantis hopes to be head honcho in 2024, but … well, I’d like to say I don’t see it happening, but then … I remember my perfidy in 2016 when I laughed and said Trump would never see the inside of the Oval Office. The people of this nation might not vote for either Trump or DeSantis, but with voter suppression laws rolling off the assembly line, gerrymandering, and a corrupt GOP … he might be just like Trump, losing the election but winning the Electoral College if enough people in the right places support him. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

      It really does seem as though DeSantis and Abbott are attempting to deplete the populations of their states. What they seem to forget is that it is largely their own party members who have shunned the vaccine and are shunning masks, and thus are likely to be the majority of the casualties of this war.

      Cwtch

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jill, why is it so hard to focus on helping people first, than winning a political battle? When talking about public health, we must err on the side of caution. At some point, people have to see what is happening. I look at Senator Rand Paul. He seems to have forgotten his Hippocratic oath of “do no harm.” Why is it so hard to say – this is serious stuff folks; get vaccinated and make sure your family is vaccinated. The GOP is so adrift and untethered to the truth and lawfulness. But, it goes beyond that – this party has picked a wedge issue of not getting vaccinated or taking masking precautions that are causing people to die because they believe the BS the sycophants are feeding them. And, it all is traceable back to a former president who whiffed at the tee, when the ball was placed to help Americans against COVID-19. Keith

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    • PS – Ecologist and biologist Sandra Steingraber noted that most environmentel studies do not focus on children, which is a shortcoming. This failure applies here to COVID-19 exposure for kids as well. Per Steingraber, children mouth breathe more, place their hands in mouth more after touching things, and their brains and lungs are not fully developed as are adults, so exposure is higher to toxins. So, not erring on the side of caution is beyond poor stewardship. Keith

      Liked by 1 person

      • These are all good points, and ones that I hadn’t thought about, such as children putting their hands in their mouths more. Yes, not erring on the side of caution, or using an ‘abundance of caution’ is malfeasance. One thing that I think explains the politicos neglect of children when making decisions is the fact that children cannot vote, therefore are less important to them. Poor stewardship … is putting it mildly. Criminal negligence in my book.

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    • I don’t know, my friend. In part because the politicians have forgotten that they serve at the will of the people … they are more caught up in their own greed and don’t see us as anything more than a means to an end. Our lives? Worth little to them, except every other November. I am incensed that the pandemic, our lives, have become a political football to be tossed back and forth. Sigh.

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  4. Pingback: Two Monsters In Governor’s Clothing – Filosofa’s Word | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

  5. Maybe these guys are thinking Covid will rid their states of non-Republican voters, by emigration or by death, I doubt they really care. But even stupid laws will not make people leave their homes, or ensure that Republican voters won’t die of the pandemic. So the question needs to be asked, “What are they thinking?”
    I think the answer to that question is that they are not thinking of anyone but themselves. They want to impress their feckless leader, Mr. DJT himself, with how stupid they can be, and maybe he will reward them come 2024. They are tying their coattails to a train that is going nowhere, no matter what they believe. They are not shooting themselves in the foot, they are shooting themselves in the brain, committing political suicide. If either one gets re-elected, Republican Americans are more idiotic than I already know most of them to be. Dare I ask, Is that even possible?

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    • I think they are taking a very short-sighted approach. They have taken the pulse of the people, heard that the people don’t want masks anymore, and thus that is their position. What they don’t realize is that when those stubborn people lose a child, they are going to turn on DeSantis, Abbott and the rest and claim they killed their children. Which will be partly true, but the parents will be equally responsible. How and why anybody still allows Trump to have any degree of relevancy is well beyond me. They apparently figure there is a good chance he will end up back in the White House after the 2024 elections and they don’t want to alienate “da boss” before then. I don’t see how he can possibly win an election in 2024, but then I swore there was no possibility of him winning in 2016, so what do I know?

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      • In 2016 he was a possibility. All kinds of people wanted to “give him a chance.” Well, he had his chance, and he blew it, completely, totally, and definitively! If America elects him to any position ever again, then the world will crash down upon them. The great USofA will never have any credibility in the world ever again. There are limits to what the world will tolerate, and Donald J. TRUMP is on the other side of the line.
        If DJT is elected again, forget about leaving the country–I will be leaving the planet!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ah, but see … in the minds of some 60% – 80% of the people in his camp, he didn’t blow it … he did precisely what they wanted him to do. I don’t know how we educate them, other than let it play out and they go to their grave kicking themselves for bringing about the destruction of not only the U.S., but the world. Like you, my friend, if he is elected again, I have no intention of sticking around to watch the massacre.

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  6. It’s bad enough here where the government doesn’t seem to see a need to mandate masks again, in spite of COVID numbers going up again and schools starting soon, and educational institutions are hiding behind the government policies, or lack thereof, and also not mandating masks or vaccines. You cannot rely on people doing the right thing! Sure makes me not look forward to going back to my office in a week and a half.

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    • You are so right when you say we cannot rely on people to do the right thing! I’ve read quotes by people saying they’ve “put up with” the pandemic and restrictions for a year, they’re tired, and they just want to get back to a normal life. Okay, I get that, but … it’s not possible right now! What part of “people are dying” do they fail to understand? I’m sorry to hear you will be returning to the office … I had hoped you could work from home until the Delta variant had been contained. Keep safe, my friend.

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