In an April 13 “Opinion/Review & Outlook” column, the Editorial Board of The Wall Street Journal ran this headline: “IT’S STILL AMERICA, CORONAVIRUS OR NOT. Draconian orders and enforcement will undermine public support or social distancing.”
The column starts out with these words:
“Americans by and large have willingly obeyed the government’s shelter-in-place and social-distancing orders, but that doesn’t seem to be enough for some public officials. They’re indulging their inner bully in ways that over time will erode public support for behavior that can reduce the spread of the Coronavirus. One problem is excessive enforcement. Some state and local officials tasked with implementing shelter-at-home orders appear to misunderstand the edicts they are meant to carry out …”
Exhibit A of such behavior by certain state officials is Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, according to the column. That verdict would seem to disagree with former Vice President Joe Biden. At the very least, Michiganders are still waiting for evidence that their governor can succeed at something — anything! — before they render final judgment on her prowess in public office.
As it is, Whitmer’s first 16 months as governor have by and large been marked by failure: To wit:
* She has not fixed the “damn roads.” In fact, she vetoed hundreds of millions of dollars the Legislature sent her that would have taken some small initial steps toward renovating Michigan’s crumbling infrastructure.
* She damaged her frail relationship with the Republican-controlled Legislature by making a shambles of the state budget for the current fiscal year with a record number of ill-advised line item vetoes and inter-departmental fiscal transfers.
* Early this year, she put Michigan government on a path to decades of indebtedness by unilaterally bonding billions of dollars for transportation repairs to state highways and bridges, with little prospect that it will do anything to “fix the damn roads” (particularly local roads) in the short term, and perhaps damage the ability of the state to address the problem in the long term.
* Nearly a year ago, after months of resisting, she reluctantly signed auto insurance rate reform legislation initiated and rammed through by the Republican-controlled Legislature despite opposition by nearly half of her own Democratic Party’s lawmakers.
* In the face of the Coronavirus pandemic, she was slow to request a “major disaster” declaration by the federal government for Michigan (when she did, it was granted by the feds immediately). When she issued her “Stay Home/Stay Safe” executive order on March 23, it was draconian, taking a “one size fits all” approach blanketing the entire state despite evidence showing that some 78% of the documented cases and 85% of the deaths were in densely-populated three-county Metro Detroit while the remaining 80 counties have recorded less than 20% of the state’s Covid-19 cases and deaths. Many outstate counties, especially in the Upper Peninsula, have reported NO cases at all, or only one or two, and no deaths. Meanwhile, the state’s economy already has been severely damaged, and it will get a lot worse. All this while there is nowhere near as much evidence that the “curve” is being “flattened” in attempts to mitigate the virus in Michigan as the Whitmer administration and a supine news media would have us believe — MIRS newsletter has reported that the most recent 24-hour period for which statistics are available has recorded 1,366 new cases, the highest one-day total in about a week, and 166 deaths, the second-highest total since March 19, when the first Michigan life was claimed. Macomb Co. just claimed 53 deaths in a single day, by far its highest ever.
* In sum, Whitmer’s performance in reacting to the pandemic has been too much, too late, and frivolous. Days after the Prime Minister of New Zealand got worldwide props for exempting the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy from shelter-in-place, Whitmer copied her and put it online. Michigan has four times as many cases of Coronavirus as neighboring Ohio, which has 17% more people living there.
Gov. Whitmer, Michigan is still waiting for you to prove that Joe is right.