Arizona Governor Doug Ducey drops a double dose of disaster
Maybe it’s the name. It seems that whether in politics (Doug Ducey) or fake political reporting on Fox “News” (Steve and Peter Doocy), anybody whose name immediately calls to mind “douchey” somehow endeavors to live up to that label.
Of course, occasionally, a Ducey/Doocy may do something decent. Steve Doocy has come around to urging everyone to get vaccinated (finally). Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, although under significant pressure from Trump and other Republican wackos, did in fact, rebuff Trump’s Big Lie and instead proclaimed that Arizona’s voting process was free and fair, without any of the irregularities or misconduct alleged by Trump, Giuliani, Jenna Ellis, the Arizona Senate or others seeking to subvert the election.
However, recently Ducey has adhered to the Republican orthodoxy with respect to mask mandates. Perhaps, he was jealous of the massive press that two of his fellow Republican Governors (Abbott & Costello, er, DeSantis) have received as a result of their obstinate efforts to obstruct local school districts and governments from protecting their citizens, including schoolchildren, from the Delta Variant of COVID-19.
DeSantis has banned school district mask mandates, as well as vaccination requirements by private businesses. He’s threatened to withhold state funds from non-compliant school districts. Abbott has banned local mask mandates and threatened to pull the liquor licenses of restaurants that require proof of vaccination to gain entry. Without any apparent sense of irony, these two proclaim themselves to be conservatives who are opposed to big government.
Whatever his motivation, Ducey jumped into the fray this week by dropping a deuce, a double dose of degeneracy, by simultaneously (1) big-footing local governments through a ban on public health inspired mask mandates by localities and school districts and (2) threatening to enforce his ban by withholding federal funds from school districts that do not comply.
This is directly contrary to the mask policy of the federal government, which supplied the funds he is trying to withhold. In fact, Ducey is merely the caretaker of the federal funds, expected to distribute them in accordance with federal policy, not use them as a club to thwart federal policy.
To underscore how perverse Ducey’s threat is, the particular federal funds he seeks to withhold from school districts that implement mask mandates to protect students, teachers and staff from COVID-19 are . . . COVID relief funds!
To his credit, President Biden has told the Department of Education to take action against governors who are trying to “block and intimidate” local school districts that are seeking to keep students safe. Biden directed the use of DOE “oversight authorities and legal action, if appropriate” to stop governors from thwarting local schools’ health initiatives.
On his side, the President has decency, public health concerns, and, interestingly enough, the fundamental conservative principle of pushing power down to the most local level possible. On their side, the Three Enemigos have ignorance, malevolence, and stubbornness. May decency prevail.