The governor’s use of football metaphors when speaking about the COVID-19 pandemic got old a long time ago, but he really fumbled recently by equating his administration’s pandemic response with winning the Super Bowl. Good grief.
Has Governor Inslee forgotten about Suzi LeVine? Countless Washington families suffered because he drafted her for the wrong reason and failed to bench her when her agency lost a billion dollars to fraudsters. That fiasco alone debunks his “won the Super Bowl” remark.
Wait, there’s more. Try 175,000 fewer people employed today in our state than before the pandemic, according to the agency LeVine formerly headed. More businesses closed in Washington (many permanently) than 45 other states. Our state being worse than 46 others for in-person instruction during the past school year. Tremendous harm to students’ mental health, with 1 in 5 contemplating suicide in the past 12 months. A substantial jump in drug-overdose deaths, far exceeding COVID deaths for the under-60 age group during the same period.
Won the Super Bowl? Not hardly. With stats like that, Inslee should also ease up on the “we’ve saved thousands of lives” comments he tosses out regularly.
As the pandemic grew, and Inslee issued emergency orders that ruined livelihoods and restricted freedoms, legislators’ offices were deluged with concerns from people who couldn’t believe the executive branch of government had so much control. Republicans did everything possible to involve the legislative branch, but the majority Democrats refused to join us, and no one legislator’s “bully pulpit” is as large as the governor’s. To this day we hear from folks who don’t realize Republican legislators had no part in acquiescing to Inslee, and don’t know how heavily the emergency-powers laws are stacked against our branch of government.
Another governor might have promised, as a sign of goodwill, to end the state of emergency as soon as possible. Another governor might have acknowledged the law gives his office more emergency power than it needs, and pledged to support reforms.
Not Inslee. He’s ended not one but two news conferences after a reporter dared ask when the state of emergency would end. He basically scoffed at the idea of reforming the emergency-powers law in making that ineloquent “won the Super Bowl” comment.
Translation: I’m just fine with having all this power indefinitely, thank you very much. Now move along.
I’m reminded of a verbal shot Inslee took at former President Trump, early in the pandemic, after being told the federal government would be the “backup” for states as they responded.
“We don’t need a backup. We need a Tom Brady,” Inslee told Trump.
With those self-congratulatory comments about saving lives and winning the big game, is Inslee styling himself as the Tom Brady of our state?
The pandemic never was a game. It isn’t over. But it is time for the governor to tell the people when the emergency will be over. Inslee is no Tom Brady, but he should be able to do that much.
— Senator Ann Rivers, Republican Caucus Chair