In the world of Republican politics, there are those who are desperate to get back to business as usual, and then there are those who understand where the party is going. Further, there are those who understand doing what’s right, even if it requires a fight. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is in the latter category.
She recently responded to Joe Biden’s proposed national mask mandate and his movement toward possible future lock downs if he gains the presidency. In doing so, she showed exactly why she’s a 2024 favorite.
This is America's governor right here!
"If Joe Biden enacts mask mandates, lockdowns, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem won't enforce them" https://t.co/kxD6rDhDYN
— Eddie Zipperer (@EddieZipperer) November 14, 2020
“It’s a good day for freedom. Joe Biden realizes that the president doesn’t have the authority to institute a mask mandate,” said Ian Fury, communications specialist for Noem. “For that matter, neither does Governor Noem, which is why she has provided her citizens with the full scope of the science and trusted them to make the best decisions for themselves and their loved-ones.”
This is correct. There is no constitutional provision that allows Joe Biden, nor really even any state governor, to force citizens to wear a piece of cloth on their face. Biden himself has admitted that several times, though he’s then backtracked in an attempt to reclaim authority he wouldn’t actually have as president, if he becomes president.
The data behind mask usage is clear. They do next to nothing to stop the spread of the virus. Europe is seeing spikes despite widespread mandates. The United States is also seeing its highest case loads ever even after mask mandates went into effect in nearly every state long ago. California is locking down again, for example, despite having a mask mandate since before the summer. There is no correlation between masks and the spread of the coronavirus. Bureaucrats and Democrats keep pushing them as an effective mitigation tool simply because they want to be able to say they did something in order to cover their backsides. Admitting they can’t fix everything would go against their “government is all-powerful” orthodoxy.
In regards to lock downs, Noem laid down her position directly on Thursday, saying what a lot of more feeble Republicans won’t say. Namely, that they are a waste of time.
Noem reiterated her position on lockdowns Thursday on social media when she said they don’t effectively stop the spread of COVID-19 but have negative effects on businesses and the overall economy.
“We already know that lockdowns don’t stop the spread of the virus. However, they destroy small businesses and jobs, and they make it difficult for families to put food on the table,” she wrote.
This is also correct. Lock downs, to the extent they work at all, only operate to delay the virus. In the end, you force people into their homes, the chief vector for spread of the disease. When the lock down ends, which is inevitable, you then send out a bunch of cross-infected people and things only turn out worse than they would have. That’s why states that didn’t do wide-spread lock downs, but instead sought to smartly mitigate based on what actually works, have ultimately fared better than places like New York and Michigan.
Noem’s willingness to put a stake in the ground and fight are one of the reasons she’s a frontrunner for 2024. Republicans don’t want a return to fealty and boilerplate talking points about the glories of big business. They want someone who will stand up even when it’s easier to just bend the knee to Dr. Fauci or tell people to slap on an ineffective mask. Unfortunately, far too many Republicans, especially in Washington and in the conservative commentariat, haven’t quite learned that lesson yet. They will soon enough though.
(Please follow me on Twitter! @bonchieredstate)