Donald Trump

While Trump Rants, It's Governors Who Have Gone Full Captain Queeg

Don't let states and cities get away with onerous rules that in no way help to contain COVID-19.

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One of the most pervasive and exhausting features of the Donald Trump era is the way in which the president makes everything all about him. With that in mind, it's not surprising, then, that yesterday he asserted that he alone guards the on/off switch of the American economy.

Trump's pathetic (but telling) flex is without constitutional grounding, of course. For the same reasons that he doesn't have the power to issue a national shelter-in-place decree because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, he doesn't have the power to open up the economy, either. Since the 1820s, it's established law that states and local governments, not the federal government, have the right to impose quarantine laws and other public health measures. "In theory," wrote constitutional lawyer and The Dispatch contributor David French a couple weeks ago, "Congress may use its power under the Constitution's Commerce Clause to grant the president additional authority over commerce during a public health crisis, but it has not done that. Thus, the true executive authority of state commerce rests with governors."

So for all the attention that yesterday's presidential temper tantrum is getting, it's simply Trump being Trump. Perhaps more importantly, it directs attention away from the ways in which governors are themselves acting as petty tyrants, shutting down all sorts of basic economic activity for no good reasons at all. They are the ones who are most acting like Captain Queeg, the battle-fatigued commander in The Caine Mutiny whose erratic behavior and monomaniacal fixation on missing strawberries has become a shorthand for insane leadership that should be removed from power.

Hence, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the subject of a recent glowing profile in Politico, has banned the in-store sale of paint at large retailers in the name of battling the coronavirus.* Officials in the state have also banned the sale of vegetable seeds, as have leaders in Vermont. "At least 316 million people in at least 42 statesthree countiesnine citiesthe District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are being urged to stay home," reported The New York Times a week ago, meaning that the vast majority of Americans are under various levels of government-mandated lockdowns. In Mississippi, this has even taken the form of fining churchgoers who attended services in their own cars. Pennsylvania's Gov. Tom Wolf decreed liquor was a "non-essential" product and shut down liquor stores (which are owned and operated by the state) before overseeing a failed attempt at online-only sales.

As economist David R. Henderson underscores in a powerful, provocative piece for the American Institute of Economic Research, it was mostly mayors and governors who shut down the economy. He emphasizes that in many cases (including those of New York City and state), leaders pulled the plug after insisting that the coronavirus actually wasn't that big a deal and that residents should keep calm and carry on. Now those same people are talking about reopening things up, which, all things considered, is heartening.

Still, writes Henderson:

Those who think discussion is needed before we take such a bold step should answer this: how much public discussion was there before March 16, when San Francisco Mayor London Breed, in what she called a "defining moment," shut down most of San Francisco's economy? Days later, did the county governments of California discuss with their citizens whether to impose "sheltering in place?" California's governor? New York's governor? Most of the other governors? No. Nor was there debate or much consultation on the White House's sudden and shocking bans on international travel that have trapped possibly more than 100,000 American students abroad, forcibly separated from their families?

No, these leaders just did it.

As president, Trump wields massive power and should always be held accountable when his rhetoric and lack of knowledge create problems. First and foremost, we would do well to focus on the impact—good, bad, and ugly—of the $2 trillion spending bill he pushed through Congress a few weeks back. Trump doesn't bear sole responsibility for The CARES Act, which effectively passed the House and the Senate unanimously, but if you're looking for something over which he had a lot of control, well, there you are. And if you're looking for the nutjobs repsonsible for fining the faithful in Greenville, Mississippi for going to drive-in church services or shutting down booze stores in Pennsylvania, you need to look closer to home.

This latest flap has already generated millions of responses both on social media and in the legacy media. And yet it's only Tuesday and Trump's assertion that like Captain Queeg, he's in charge here may not even be this week's biggest media flare-up. Yes to reopening the economy as soon as safely possible, but let's also remember all the places where power and petty tyrants live.

*CORRECTION: The original version of this piece did not make clear that Michigan ban on selling paint applies only to in-store purchases at large retailers.

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  1. I, too, miss the days of President Obama, who carefully ensured he he never used the words “I” or “me” in his speeches.

    He may have on occasion accidentally let a couple hundred slip into an oration, but never more than one to three thousand.

    1. Dont besmirk Black Jesus, you racist clinger. Your betters should have educated you about the ways in which to respect those better than yourself.
      -My impersonation of the Rev.

      1. I’m glad that people are coming around to my way of thinking. Soon we woke betters will have enough people to stomp on the necks of the clingers

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    2. Beautiful response. Fully deserving of fist post. (Typo intentional.)

    3. Not a big fan of Obama, but the levels of narcissism and insecurity displayed by Obama were orders of magnitude less than what we are seeing with Trump.

      1. Or Obama was just much better at hiding it.

      2. I actually like T more than Obama (which isn’t to say that T is perfect, or even good), but agree.

        Obama was certainly a narcissist just like all presidents, and there were always lots of “me”s and “I”s coming out of his mouth, particularly if he wanted to let us know how disappointed he was in the people.

        But he comes nowhere near T’s level when it comes to making as much as possible about himself.

      3. “Not a big fan of Obama, but the levels of narcissism and insecurity displayed by Obama were orders of magnitude less than what we are seeing with Trump.”

        No surprise that this is your take, eunuch, but I find your desire to brag on your shallowness strange.
        Narcissism was Obama’s defining feature, and it was driven by insecurity (though that insecurity faded into the background over time).
        Anyway, typical progressive cries are, as usual, misdirected complaints of their own psyche

      4. You’re wrong about the narcissism, but right about the insecurity. When you have the entire nation’s press core jockeying to be your fluffer like Obama did, you don’t have to worry about gaffes.

      5. Not a big fan of Obama, but the levels of narcissism and insecurity displayed by Obama were orders of magnitude greaterthan what we are seeing with Trump.

        Fixed that for you.

        Because there’s no way anyone sane could think that the man who viewed His nomination as the moment when the oceans began to recede and the planet began to heal was going to let ANYONE, especially a churl like Trump, to beat Him at being a narcissistic asshole.

        Blame autocorrect.

      6. You see that is one of the problems. “displayed”. I would be concerned about style over substance. I’m concerned with outcomes and results, not appearances. No question who has been more effective up to this point when you remove subjective opinion and rely on objective facts. Yeah, I hate it when Trump says “it’s like…. you’ve ever seen before”. But I have a really smart father that sometimes frames things a bit oddly also. Once again, talk is cheap, actions speak louder than words.

    4. Didn’t he say that if he had a son like Trayvon Martin “he would look like me”?….Or something like that….But, then again, they do all look the same!

    5. Just read this article. It was linked over at instapundit.com. I looked at the comments over there and to sum them up. “Never Trumpers just need to shut the fuck up”. Everything they say is colored with their jealousy of becoming irrelevant as leaders because everyone knows they are just talking heads and Trump does all the things they talked about doing but never had the will or the real courage to do them. Trump just ended the funding for WHO something done not just talked about like the jackass Never Trumpers.

  2. The prerequisites the governors come up with that must be met before allowing the sheeple out of their pens will be unobtainable, but it will give them cover for keeping the shut downs in place. Feature not bug.

    1. Fuck. Trump needs to shut the fuck up.

      1. Strongly agree on this. Even fairly good public speakers like Obama ran out the clock too many times. Trump is no-shit illiterate; certainly he talks like a guy who reads at the 5th grade level. Also:

        As president, Coolidge’s reputation as a quiet man continued. “The words of a President have an enormous weight,” he would later write, “and ought not to be used indiscriminately.”

      2. WRONG. National Emergency is a War Power which Article 2 gives Trump — he can Federalize the National Guard and arrest Governors.

        He has that authority — as Eisenhower and Kennedy demonstrated in Arkansas and Alabama.

        1. Just because he can doesn’t mean he should. That has no bearing on whether or not he needs to shut up more often.
          And this isn’t a fucking war, so if that’s the source of the power, it is being abused.

          1. War, like the civil rights movement? A curious take, to be sure.

            1. Perhaps I misunderstood.

        2. He can federalize the National Guard. Whether he does or not, they can’t arrest a governor. Guardsmen have no arrest powers.

          The President could, however, send the FBI to arrest a governor – as long as there is evidence that the governor actually committed a federal crime.

          1. Under Title 18 Section 242 – Deprivation of Rights Under Color Of Law, I’m pretty sure that the FBI has evidence that a lot of them have actually committed a federal crime.

        3. I love how everyone thinks this is just about magically saying “Open, economy!” You think people are suddenly going to start eating out at restaurants, taking trips, and going to concerts? I am not, and neither is anyone I know. This will end when people decide they feel safe about gathering in groups or being around strangers. We are not even close to being there.

          1. You are right. Restaurants and other public gathering places would have taken a hit no matter what the states did. People making their own judgements about their own health and safety is fine. But I’m very concerned about the long term social effects of people getting used to following orders like this, as well as about the economic effects.
            I don’t usually eat out a lot or go to a lot of concerts or sporting events, but I’d get back to pretty much normal as soon as normal was available. I’m as normal as I can be at this point. Except that I don’t see other people as often as I usually like to. And I don’t go to stores much because it has become very annoying.

          2. Of course things are not going to be back to normal. That said, for about 1 week before CA when full house arrest, restaurants had a pretty good system in place. They were certainly making less than normal, but they were making more than the full lockdown has allowed.

            So the government should GTFO of everyones’ way and let them decide the level of economic activity they are willing to risk.

            1. Everyone here is ignoring “THE PLOT BEHIND THE PLOT”…This whole hoax/scam is a trial run to see just how far the Global Medical-Big Pharma-Govt. Complex can go as far as running & controlling our lives & taking our Natural & Constitutional Rights away….I’m guessing next time it will be far worse!

              Make no mistake, Dr. Fucki & Dr. Bricks for Brains, the Surgeon General, the head of the CDC, etc.. are all in bed with devils like Gates & Soros & the WHO, etc…The dreaded One-World Govt. will come disguised as Medical Saviors!

          3. Look at our very own Pauline Kael. Good to know that you can authoritatively speak for 330MM people.

            You do certainly seem to crave apocalypses though.

          4. COVID-19 does not harm healthy people <60 years old. Too bad. That very plain fact changes everything.

        4. Look at this fucking libertarian advocating for Trump to use the military to force governors into compliance. What a states’ righter!

          1. He didn’t say that.
            You’re so utterly dishonest.

            1. If Lying Jeffy is talking, he’s lying.

          2. Look at this fucking libertarian having nothing to say about the actions of those governors. And here I thought anything was acceptable in the name of freedom.

            Poor Pigeon.

            1. They’re all a bunch of posers!

        5. This is what I thought too. I don’t think Trump is just making this up totally on his own – as is he is being accused of doing. It’s my understanding that he might have a case for saying he could do this.

      3. Yes, how dare tyrant Trump trick those governors into being more draconian, and highlighting government as petty tyranny, just to oppose him!

        1. That’s not what I said. I in no way blame Trump for the governors’ actions. I am glad he wasn’t more activist early on. However, I do think he’s giving them cover now for leaving them in place.

            1. By claiming that he’s in charge, not them. I could be wrong. We have yet to see what Trump is going to say about when to end the quarantines. It was just a quick take. Not everything I say or write expresses a firm conviction.

              1. I do wish Trump would shut the fuck up a lot more, though I have no expectation that that will happen anytime before he dies.

                1. While I agree he would be well served to stfu sometimes, I think he is clearly stating he’s talking about stopping the governors from using the police state too keep people on lockdown, which is still debatable (probably depending on the state’s constitutions) but much different than saying he’s going to force citizens to do something.

                  1. I’ve argued this again and again. The lockdown is not a quarantine and the governors have gone rogue and are even now making compacts to reopen “together” with other states. No they cannot do this. They cannot lock us down indefinitely, we are NOT THEIR SLAVES or their PROPERTY.

                    1. You are correct, april

              2. Saying that he’s in charge doesn’t give them a damn bit of cover, though it might provoke them to dig their heels in.
                Perhaps you used the wrong word?

    2. What I envision happening is some states will start opening up & others will follow when they see them losing business to them!…For the life of me I do not understand this simple action that all states should proclaim when they open up: “WE ARE OPENING UP EVERYTHING & LOCKING DOWN THE ELDERLY & IMMUNO-COMPROMISED & UNHEALTHY FOR THEY ARE 99% OF THOSE WHO ARE DYING & THE STATE GOVT. & PRIVATE SECTOR WILL TAKE CARE OF THOSE AT RISK & WE WILL LET EVERYONE ELSE LIVE THEIR NORMAL LIVES!!!”

      Heck, this is the paradigm & template that every nation should’ve followed from Day One!!!

      Heck, this is the

  3. So the feds clearly have power over interstate commerce.
    (Article one, section 8; in part “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;”

    All commerce has been determined to be interstate commerce under various court rulings, including strictly interstate actions because they interfere with other interstate commerce.

    So tell me again how Trump cannot declare that all federal restrictions on interstate commerce are lifted, and then have the DOJ go after any state which interferes with interstate commerce.

    1. The federal government may have such power, but Trump is not the entire federal government, as much as TDS makes people on both sides think so. As The Jacket says …

      Since the 1820s, it’s established law that states and local governments, not the federal government, have the right to impose quarantine laws and other public health measures. “In theory,” wrote constitutional lawyer and The Dispatch contributor David French a couple weeks ago, “Congress may use its power under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause to grant the president additional authority over commerce during a public health crisis, but it has not done that. Thus, the true executive authority of state commerce rests with governors.”

      1. Yup. Congress could probably preempt all those state-level restrictions but the President alone cannot.

        The President, through the Justice Department, might be able to file lawsuits challenging those state-level restrictions as infringements on interstate commerce. That would be an uphill battle against precedent, though. And also not fast.

  4. A. Those frozen strawberries were fantastic. We’d occasionally ask the cook if the officers had had any frozen strawberries in a while, and if the inventory needed reconciling, and he’d think a bit, hand us the reefer keys, and we’d go check the situation. 3 gallons of frozen strawberries would disappear in about 15 minutes. Damned good!

    B. Sometimes long after my first viewing of the movie, I was trying to remember how many ball bearings he played with in his hand to make that awful racket? 3? 4? The answer is of course 2, that’s all you need. It made me wonder how the human mind remembers things like that, and how many other ordinary things it exaggerates.

    1. #2BallsAreAllYouNeed

      1. But his weren’t brass!

    2. If you never have, read the novel. It’s excellent.

  5. Hence, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the subject of a recent glowing profile in Politico, has banned the sale of paint in the name of battling the coronavirus. Officials in the state have also banned the sale of vegetable seeds, as have leaders in Vermont. ” … Pennsylvania’s Gov. Tom Wolf decreed liquor was a “non-essential” product and shut down liquor stores (which are owned and operated by the state) before overseeing a failed attempt at online-only sales.
    I’d prefer the government just shut down everything than this retarded game of whack-a-mole. Not a single one of these bans does anything to make people safer. All it does is aggravate the person looking for the thing, forcing them to take more outlandish methods of acquiring thing. Also… paint and seeds and beer, really? Those all sounds like things that can keep you busy at home.

    These mini-tyrants, a pox on all of them. Hopefully a Chinese pox.

    1. Also… paint and seeds and beer, really? Those all sounds like things that can keep you busy at home.

      They don’t want people to actually keep busy at home, they want people on their couches mindlessly staring at a screen. Preferably one tuned to CNN or MSNBC. Numbed minds are easier to control.

    2. What she and the other Nazis don’t realize is that their own citizens will view Trump as a savior.

      1. Certainly they are trying to make it as easy as possible for Trump get re-elected. Generous of them!

    3. Shutting down the selling of seeds is ridiculous as well as draconian. How many trips to the store can a single purchase of a bunch of vegetable seeds save? I’d bet it’s more than most actions a governor might take.

  6. When in doubt, err on the side of executive dictatorship.

    1. King Log is a do-nothing. We need King Stork!

      1. He’ll make sure only the right frogs get eaten!

  7. Trump wasnt the one that made everything about himself. That was the media and all the people who hated him. All the ridiculous shit thats been put against Trump because those people couldnt stand him. Impeachment, making up scandals, constantly blasting Trump about how hes racist or this or that. Yes Trumps a blowhard and very self centered. But it was The Democrats and and mainstream media that created this supposed monster all these people are so scared of and hate so much. If Clinton had won they would have done the same but in a good way for her. The Republicans seem to be fine with Trump because hes not afraid of a fight whereas they would bend over everytime the Democrats wanted someth il ng. Just my thoughts.

    1. Sure. Whatever.

    2. You need to embrace the liberating power of “Both”.

      Trump makes everything about him. He is a narcissistic blowhard. The Media also lays everything at Trump’s feet, unless it is a good thing, in which case they do everything to make it NOT about him. ENB is a perfect case study here at Reason. Every bit of news has to be viewed through the Trump lens, explaining why it is bad because of him, or is good despite him.

      Nick has, surprisingly, been the balanced one through this whole thing, which is crazy since for years his “Pox on both houses” spiel has been tedious. But right now, it is perfect- like that kid leaving water glasses all over the house in signs, Nick’s obsession with blaming both sides seems to have finally found its place.

      1. Yeah, Nick has been doing a great job lately of being relatively sane and sensible.

      2. Just as you need to embrace the healing power of “proportion.”

        Claiming that bloviating, which along with hypocrisy is a core competency of Reason (cf. Boehm MUH TARIFFS!), is equivalent to actual actions takes quite a leap of logic.

    3. What Overt said, I’m willing to split the blame 50-50. You’re right that he’s willing to fight where traditional republicans would have bent over and taken it, and that’s why a lot of folks like him though.

      1. I think the biggest problem is this need to ascribe blame in the first case.

        The funny thing about natural disasters is that they don’t give a fuck who you are. They are nature’s Honey Badgers. (ed– aren’t Honey Badgers nature’s honey badgers? Hush you!)

        Sometimes bad shit happens, and this need to vilify someone for not having omniscience and the ability to perfectly plan their way through the crisis is EXACTLY why we are now ordered under house arrest. The leaders are making this shit up just like we are. But they have models telling them the sky is falling, and none of them saying “It will be fine”. They are rationally making the decision that it is better to pay attention to the models, because no one is going to blame them for disbelieving the experts.

        1. er, no one is going to expect them to disbelieve the experts. Just like no one ever got fired for hiring IBM.

        2. I like to point out to people that despite our best efforts, in a complex situation, no one is capable of achieving a perfect response. In fact, the concept of a perfect response is ridiculous, because for any complex situation, multiple players will have multiple “perfect outcomes” and there’s never a response that gives everyone their perfect outcome.

      2. I think the biggest problem is this need to ascribe blame in the first case.

        Seems to be baked into the human condition, and an epidemic is archetypal that way. It’s exactly the plot of Oedipus Rex: there’s a plague, and if there’s one thing we know about plagues, they’re someone’s fault. You just need to figure out whose.

        1. One might have hoped that the germ theory of disease put an end to that kind of thinking about epidemics and plagues.
          Or at least we could follow the Jewish model and assume that it’s God punishing us for something we did rather than looking for someone else to blame.

    4. No I agree with you. And I have to say that given the choice of Trump or my governor Inslee (yep, he’s a snake), I’d take Trump any day. Let me the F out of my false imprisonment.

  8. Yes to reopening the economy as soon as safely possible
    You were doing so well Nick. Safety is an illusion; it’s this pursuit of safety that has us in this mess.

    1. Yes. Let people make their own decisions about what is tolerably safe.
      The more young, healthy people are exposed to the virus, the better off we will be in the long run.

  9. If the president sees that one state opening up its economy may actually hurt other states by business or people leaving another or a rush of people who are not healthy going to the now open economy state could be considered a national emergency or a problem under the commerce clause and he could then step in. I don’t think he will since the orange Hitler has allowed states to do as they feel necessary so far. So yes he does have authority over certain situations to say he has none is Wrong. Now lets see an article about Newsom working with other coastal states about opening up. I’m sure people would consider that presidential except when Trump works with sates for opening up, TDS is real

    1. Newsom, Brown and Inslee have no authority to make compacts to reopen. Same is happening on the other coast.

  10. We here in the psych ward are deeply disturbed that ‘Reason.com’ would besmirch, tar and feather, I may add, one of the most beloved actors in all time and then some. Namely Harry Bogar, the star of the movie, The Queeg Files. Enough. Just because there is this bug thingy going round doesn’t mean that we have to be mean. As Ghandi said once in a quip: fear not or be afeared.

  11. I’ve been trying pretty hard to avoid both things that Trump says and things that people say about what Trump says. For pretty much this reason (and because I’m just so fuckign sick of the whole thing). It is governors who have driven the excessively restrictive response and it is they who will have to ultimately remove the restrictions )or allow them to expire).

  12. The whole point of the executive is to be a check on states that act badly and violate civil rights. Trump should be cracking down on the worst offenders right now.

    1. No, the executive is a check on the legislative and judicial branches. The federal government as a whole is a check on states. But that requires actions across all the federal branches. The executive alone has no basis to act here.

      1. Can the executive counteract the violation of civil rights?
        I’m guessing: yes

        1. I mean, Obama sent the DOJ to investigate Ferguson just because a cop killed someone in legitimate self defense (yes, the Michael Brown killing was entirely justified, no matter your opinion of cops MO).
          What was the justification?
          Violation of civil rights

    2. I have literally argued this point over and over on every website I am on. This is civics 101 and everyone arguing against me acts as thought we were discussing the options for legalizing pot. It’s ludicrous. We are citizens of the United States not just our states.

  13. In addition to bitching here, we all need to write our legislators, governor, and President. I doubt they read Hit & Run. They need to know people are fed up with authoritarianism.

    1. Riots in the streets worked fairly well in the sixties

      1. People are trained to obey, but business owners are very cranky and not going to take much more.
        Herd Mentality vs. Individualism

        1. Don’t count on it. Most people will not do anything no matter how cranky and broke they are.

      2. And that’s where Trump really would have reason to call out the National Guard.

      3. Riots in the streets worked fairly well in the sixties.

        tell me again what exactly they accomplished that resulted in a diminishment of authoritarianism?

        1. The riots in the 60s were pro-authoritarian

        2. Yes, but there was no internet back then making everyone lazy and living life through a computer screen. I am old enough to see the difference between life before the internet and life after. Living life through a computer screen has changed people a lot and changed society. People are more afraid of real life now and more risk-averse.

    2. I’ve written the WH twice. I’m a nurse and had a few things to say about this fake crisis that looks to be no worse than a bad flu year leaving us at the whim of local governments. Inslee won’t listen to a thing I have to say and you bet your life my local reps won’t. Been down that road many times. I’m waiting to leave godforsaken Seattle. Can’t stand it.

      1. Well, those same hippies…became even worse authoritarians :\
        Yeah

      2. Come to the southeast.
        Georgia, Florida, South Carolina – good places
        Maybe Alabama and Tennessee too, though I don’t have the personal experience so much with those

      3. I’ve listened to hours of interviews with virus specialists of all kinds, trying to give the politicians and their insanity the benefit of the doubt, but that’s what I’ve concluded too. This is a fake crisis. We’ve been given a false choice – stay locked at home and destroy the entire economy or go about our business and we all die. It’s creepy how insane this has gotten.

  14. I will say that Nick is the most reasonable of all the Reason writers.

    We’d all be better served by spending our press conference time by visiting some online university. Better to educate ourselves about something than to lower our IQ by watching Trump vs Media.

      1. What do you

        1. the dog in the station doesn’t need a vacation.

    1. Everyone should LIFT so when we get out there again we’re all sexy.

  15. life’s work lost everywhere I don’t know how any of these knucklehead governors expect future votes

  16. It’s sad how far reason has fallen, preferring the cold calculus of hair-splitting instead of the obvious text of our constitution:
    14th Amendment
    Section 1.
    All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    1. We have to be nice to socialists, you know.

    2. I have argued this over and over and over and all I get is a bunch of know nothings! Civics 101!

  17. too many government administrators of the bureaucrat variety have absolutely no clue about managing a small business vs a large global corporation of the political donation kind.
    Closing a state was severe and unnecessary. It’s Draconian to push that many human beings into poverty and do so deliberately and knowingly.
    Evidently they think we can’t do math. Why can’t stores and offices open with only a few people at a time. If we can buy garden supplies why can’t I get a haircut if I’m the only customer?

    I hope Baker who is now buddies with all the other big state Liberals is thrown out for shutting the state down this long.

    1. Where I live, the arbitrary rules have gotten even crazier. Now you can walk or jog down some of the city trails and paths, but you can no longer ride a bicycle. I mean for crying out loud, you just can’t make this stuff up.

  18. Why wouldn’t the National Production Act give the POTUS the authority to dictate the re-opening of any industry (and all it’s associated supply chains) that he deems critical to national defense?? Ya know, the same Act that everyone was complaining he should use to force PPE/ventilator production just a few weeks ago.
    One could imagine that the financial, food production, energy production, shipping/ports, heavy equipment, machinery, mining/logging and chemical industries are all deemed vital to national security. The DHS website already states that quite clearly. Under the Act, the POTUS could order them back to full production and staffing without agreement/support from any State government. Perhaps not a full re-opening, but when a significant percentage of the workforce is back up and running, how do the remaining service-based industries stay closed?

  19. Don’t let states and cities get away with onerous rules that in no way help to contain COVID-19.

    So, what are we going to do to stop them, huh? The ACLU could care less (don’t return my phone calls or emails, seem more concerned about access to abortions during this time than violations of 14th Amendment), my legislators do nothing but respond to my emails with canned responses (“We’re all in this together!”) and ignore my phone calls entirely, and my Governor is another tyrant-in-the-making, slapping us all silly for being bad and “moving around too much” and threatening tighter controls if we don’t all behave. You’d think there would be civil liberties lawyer out there champing at the bit to get themselves some juicy state coffers compensation, but crickets chirp.

    1. Reason doesn’t really care either. It’s mostly about treading water until the next WaPo or Vox slot opens. And Vox already burned through their $300MM in capital, so that’s not looking too promising.

  20. To Mr. Nick…..

    Good g_d man….
    Can’t you make a point without bringing that pearl-clutching “muh principulls”
    fake Tennessean David French into the conversation.
    I had to stop reading and register for this very good website just so I could say out loud….”c’mon man”.

    Still dig your writing

  21. Me? I want to drag Grover Norquist into a NYC ER and make him stand there for five or six hours with no PPE. You claim there’s no sense in stopping commercial activity in a pandemic? Did someone take your shopping away from you?

    Poor puppy….

    1. OK you piece of shit, let’s see how much you like the aftermath. Because you are going to get fucked in the ass very hard. Nobody cares about the dead. They care about the living, and especially how much the young can work. Not oldsters who die of diabetes but it gets counted as part of the “pandemic”.

      Fuck you.

  22. Off-topic perhaps, but this is a headline I just came across on the People for the American Way website: “Trump Appeals Judge Creates Religious Exemption from State Anti-Discrimination Law”

    I thought there was no such thing as “Trump Judges,” “Obama Judges,” “Bush Judges.” I thought terms like that unfairly defame the impartiality of the judiciary and that only the Evil Orange Monster would stoop to such improper, illicit language such as that.

    More and more I am convinced that Trump is a product, not the cause, of the coarsening of political discourse.

    1. He’s probably a bit of both, but certainly not the main cause.

  23. Trump did not rant. He calmly walked out and played a video of the MSM being the hypocrites they are. Nick G by using the word rant shows people what a lying POS he is. Never Trumpers are the ones that rant. It is funny the name of the publication that he writes for is called Reason because Never Trumpers by their moniker declares that they will not be reasonable.

    1. I’d rather be unreasonable than submit to a slavish cult of a personality.

      1. The lightbringers cult wasn’t really slavish. The media participated of their own free will.

      2. Yea, you’ll just devote yourself to a slavish cult of anti-personality.
        Run along now

      3. As usual, what you want to accomplish and what you actually accomplish are miles apart.

  24. Trump’s pathetic (but telling) flex is without constitutional grounding, of course. For the same reasons that he doesn’t have the power to issue a national shelter-in-place decree

    Technically, that’s correct. But if Trump really wanted to push this, he could badly hurt states that don’t comply, the same way Obama and Clinton did to get their way. There’s a lot of power attached to federal grants and military bases.

  25. I remember when Gillespie used to be more interesting. He still has the jacket, but that just makes him a slightly better dressed old fart yelling at kids to stay off of his lawn. I liked his writing better when he was the doe-eyed ingenue who was waiting for her dreamboat, Mr. L. Moment. State and local governments are bumbling along, as they are wont to do–but they aren’t burning trillions. They are making mistakes, but it’s a range of mistakes. Much easier to move across a state line than to emigrate.

  26. These leaders have done what the Trump Administration has consistently failed to do. They took action to protect the life and safety of their citizens–unlike Trump, who puts himself and his political fortunes ahead of the health, safety and future of this country. Don’t fault leaders for doing something. It is much better than nothing.

    1. Actually, something can be pretty terrible (and often is) while nothing can work out OK. I’ll agree that the federal response has been a completely unsurprising shit show and that the President is pre-school finger-painting level at the art of political BS and that’s likely one of his least odious qualities. State and local leaders, however, haven’t covered themselves in glory, taking time to carve out exceptions for business connections and other nonsense. But let’s not forget the Tiger King-binging American public. I’m just inclined to prefer locally-sourced artisanal shit show to Walmart-esque federal shit show.

  27. I do enjoy the perspective. It’s unfortunate you fail to mention that part of “Trump” is the fact that if he says up they say down. If he says left they say right. And don’t bother with the “it’s been like this forever comments” because what we are dealing with is unprecedented in the history of this country. So if you are a little bothered by his style that’s just too bad. Adults look to substance not style. Remove the media bias and you have someone who has accomplished a lot for the Country. Do I wish he would stop tweeting. Don’t care. I’m an adult and twitter means nothing to me. What I care about are the metrics of the nation and they are doing well under Trump. The bottom line is no matter how Trump handled the pandemic it was going to be wrong because the media would pick up every single word he says find whatever fault they can and exploit it. They didn’t do this with Obama. Sorry, but that’s a fact. That they are doing this while we are engaged in a pandemic should amount to crimes against humanity. This is a prime example. Does it really matter? Does this trivial petty, personality based nonsense really matter right now?

    I’m not going to bother anymore because the answer is apparent and obvious. Why don’t you run an article on how Trumps early move to get those medications out in the face of democratic howling looks like it might have been a good idea. Or the fact that there was proof dating back to 2009 that these medications could be effective, specifically in a corona virus pandemic. Yes a professional journal of microbiology. Or the fact that Fauci keeps downplaying the use of the drug because he’s a hardcore worshiper of Bill Gates and his globalist agenda to mark and track every human on the planet through immunizations.

    That’s why he is focused on the immunization. If you develop effective treatments the immunization leaves the spotlight. His handler Bill Gates wouldn’t like that. Or the uncomfortable relationship with Bill Gates and the WHO. Or how Bill Gates intervened after donating a lot of money and had Tedros placed in that position by his direct request. These are not conspiracy theories. They can be googled and proven in seconds.

    Yeah all this is going on almost right out in the open while the WHO in Europe is not asking to stop all alcohol sales because people shouldn’t be allowed to consume alcohol in their homes. The ongoing attempts to work any means of encroaching on our rights has been the only muscles being flexed in the government and people should be very frightened.

    But yes, let’s get back to Trumps tweets.

  28. Nobody in all this is acting like Queeg. Get a grip already.

    But if you’re going to use that fabulous movie as an analogy don’t forget the speech by the defense attorney at the celebration party after the two mutineers had been exonerated.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SRxYONb12I

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