Where were your cards and letters when I needed them?
Earlier this week I published an Around the Block called, “Dumbestest!” (https://around-the-block.com/2020/04/21/dumbestest/). I closed with this request:
“…And remember, keep those cards and letters coming in – I want to know if you have any other elected officials I can add to this “dumb” hierarchy. And worry not, I’ve already developed a few additional superlatives…”
So, where are you? Do I have to do everything myself? Since my plea to you, my dear readers, two more dummies made the news. In two days. And, I had to find them!
Okay, okay, it’s my job and I love doing it. I’ll do the researching and the writing; you guys just keep on reading.
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman (I)
As reported in The Washington Post, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman suggested on Tuesday that Vegas casinos should reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Standing in front of an empty storefront along Main Street, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman (I) was beaming with hopeful optimism, believing that businesses would make it through the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re all together in this and we are going to come out with a bang,” she said earlier this month.
Let them, and visitors, gather and gamble, smoke in confined spaces, touch slot machines all day — and let the chips, and apparently the infections, fall where they may.
“Assume everybody is a carrier,” the mayor said to MSNBC on Tuesday. “And then you start from an even slate. And tell the people what to do. And let the businesses open and competition will destroy that business if, in fact, they become evident that they have disease, they’re closed down. It’s that simple.”
The perspective left MSNBC host Katy Tur visibly dumbfounded. While Goodman said she took direction from Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases, the mayor’s plan, described by Tur as “a modern-day survival of the fittest,” was in fact the exact opposite of what he advises.
Goodman, who has criticized Nevada’s lockdown as “total insanity,” cited lesser outbreaks of infectious diseases to prove that Las Vegas, which faces a deficit of nearly $150 million in the next 18 months, had shown the kind of resiliency necessary for it to reopen.
“We’ve survived the West Nile and SARS, bird flu, E. coli, swine flu, the Zika virus,” the governor told MSNBC.
She was cut off by Tur, who reminded the mayor that those viruses did not come close to the level of the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 800,000 confirmed cases and 45,000 deaths in the United States as of early Wednesday.
“Those were not as contagious,” Tur said of the diseases the mayor rattled off. “They were not as contagious and they did not spread as far as this disease has already done.”
“Well, we’ll find out the facts afterward,” Goodman replied. “Unfortunately, we all do better in hindsight.”
“But those are the facts,” Tur replied, looking baffled. “We have a death toll that proves it. We have cases around the country that prove that,” Tur said. “Those are the facts.”
U.S. Attorney General William Barr
Otherwise known to Around the Block readers as William “Lower the Bar” Barr, the attorney general, who is not an attorney general, as reported by Jonathan Chait in New York Magazine, threatened in an interview with right-wing talk-show host Hugh Hewitt:
…to throw the DOJ’s weight behind businesses to sue states and cities that fail to open up quickly enough. Barr’s premise is that Trump, as always, has taken a wise and measured course: “I think the president’s plan for getting the country back to work is really a very commonsensical approach that is based on really assessing the status of the virus in each state and each locality, and then gradually pulling back on restrictions.” (Trump’s “commonsensical” plan has included all-cap demands to LIBERATE various states that his own administration’s guidelines have deemed not yet ready to reopen.)
Barr proceeded to explain that any governors who fail to define “common sense” the same way as Trump may feel the wrath of Barr’s Department of Justice:
“I think the President’s guidance has been, as I say, superb and very commonsensical, and I think a lot of the governors are following that. And you know, to the extent that governors don’t and impinge on either civil rights or on the national commerce, our common market that we have here, then we’ll have to address that.“
Chait concluded his reporting with this:
Now, normally, Republicans tend to favor state and local authority over the heavy hand of the federal government. But the difference in this case is that Republicans control the federal government some legal principle Barr hasn’t explained yet.
Barr’s threat might sound a little heavy-handed and partisan, but don’t worry. Barr is a stickler for the Constitution and the rule of law, and would never work for a president who didn’t share his passion for these timeless principles, as evidenced by this exchange:
Hewitt: Has the President done anything, anything at all to give rise in you to a concern that he does not respect the Constitution or intend to abide by its separation of powers?
Barr: Never. Never at all.
So, what do you think? “Dumb,” “Dumber,” “Dumbest,” “Dumbestest,” “Dumbestester,””Dumbestesterest,”…
Let me know. But remember, whatever we decide, I think we can all agree, Donald J. Trump will always and forever carry the most superlative superlative adjective of “dumb” I can devise.