After Wrecking The Economy, Northam Finally Lifts (Most) COVID Restrictions

Problem is, Northam's abysmal COVID legacy will harm Virginians for decades.

One thing proved certain.

When the nation’s only doctor cum governor was thrust into greatness, Northam had a chance to be a physician.

Instead, Northam was every bit the live-birth abortionist he advertised being long before his blackface scandal. One can almost hear echoes of his WTOP interview now:

Our COVID promises were delivered. The economy was kept comfortable. The economy would be resuscitated if that’s what the working families and small business owners desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the governor and the Democrats.

One really hates to blame Northam for what is a literal act of God. COVID-19 was not Northam’s fault.

Yet the panic and the fecklessness both in the initial stages where a sharp shutdown crippled small businesses? The slap fight with Virginia hospitals over who would disseminate the COVID vaccines (that VDH ultimately won at a cost of 3-4 weeks wasted) that turned into Northam outright blaming localities for the hiccup? Let’s not leave out the mixed messages and panic-inducing updates from the governor?

All forced errors.

Hindsight is 20/20 in most cases. Yet you don’t have to have perfect vision to understand that the long endurance run that shut down small businesses but kept abortion clinics open was and remains utterly dichotic. Or that if airliners can put 200 people in a plane, then surely we can put 200 people in a church. Or that what was prudent action heading into the unknown in March 2020 is absolute insanity going into March 2021.

Or April 2021.
Or May 2021.

Or February or January or December…

Part of the problem here is that we had a medical doctor as governor who was practically all over the map. President Trump initially wanted to shut down all travel to and from China (Democrats said that was racist). Then COVID stopped being racist.

Then the biggest lie of them all was told — that N95s don’t work and Americans should not wear masks — so that medical professionals could get emergency supplies and families wouldn’t hoard them like toilet paper and gasoline. Those lies told by our own government in March 2020 to our own citizens still echo today.

Northam did nothing.

It gets worse. Remember when The Atlantic called Northam out on faking our COVID data? That happened. Remember when Northam almost cancelled Thanksgiving and Christmas by reducing public gatherings from 250 to 25? That also happened.

When Northam did act, it was always in half measures. For three weeks, Northam dithered while other governors acted.

When Northam did finally shut down the economy, it was only a partial shutdown that benefitted big businesses over small businesses and with predictable results. For the next 12 months, despite “two weeks to stop the spread” and other nonchalance and performative gestures, Northam’s government floundered. Were we opening back up? Were things getting worse? Were people going to be arrested for not wearing a mask outdoors? What about travel restrictions?

Every new press conference was an exercise in confusion and panic. If one wanted an exposition of an administration catching grenades rather than establishing calm? Northam delivered in spades as BLM/Antifa flouted every rule during five long months of violence.

School seasons were ended while open season was declared on the police. BLM/Antifa mobs showered our law enforcement with bricks, rocks, asphalt, Drano, rockets, and all sorts of projectiles while Northam rocked back and did nothing. Unemployment outpaced actual work, and thousands of otherwise occupied young adults chose other avocations.

But let’s get into the real impact of the long winter of our COVIDiscontent, shall we?

  • Some small businesses may never reopen. If not for the Herculean efforts of guys like Pete Snyder reaching out and helping small businesses? How much worse would it be? Seriously give this a thought.

  • Student outcomes may be seriously impaired. Not just in learning outcomes but in future income potential. Meanwhile, private and parochial schools have all remained open 5-days a week.

  • Global debt grew by $19.5T in 2020 alone. More if you include the second round of debt spending plus Biden’s new everything-is-infrastructure plan.

  • Over half of non-retired Americans believe retirement is out of reach. This reality will be brought to bear in a big way once inflation takes effect.

  • Average gasoline price in Virginia right now? $2.92. One year ago it was $1.69.

  • Virginia unemployment rates are at a mind-numbingly high 12.6% with 217,000 Virginians out of work. Nationwide our U-6 unemployment — the true unemployment rate — is 9.9%. During the Trump administration U-6 unemployment had hovered at a healthy 6-7%.

Let’s face it, folks.

Virginia under the Northam-McAuliffe era is neither healthy nor resilient. Mistakes were made not in policy but in lives and livelihoods. Small businesses were shuttered, schools were closed, masks were mandated. One could not worship God in Northam’s Virginia, but one could get an abortion. One could not attend a concert, but one could participate in a violent mob.

Are our priorities even close to straight?

Naturally, the lifting of Virginia’s restrictions on masks is a function of increased vaccination and common sense solutions. These are not isolated per se, but overwhelmingly it is common sense solutions and an increased sensibility of personal risk meeting the need for us to function as a society.

In short? Part of life is living.

As candidates were so fond of reminding us during the Republican nomination contests, Northam may not have caused the pandemic, but Northam did wreck the economy. Nor did the Democratic-controlled General Assembly have to wait 12 months to help get Virginians back to work.

Virginians will have to pick up those pieces over the course of years.

Of course, the restrictions are not entirely gone. Northam’s new revisions will still mandate masks in schools. Concerns about new variants remain. But the options are now up to citizens and not cubicle dwellers who Know Better (TM) in Richmond.

Which I suppose brings us full circle to my single greatest gripe about how Northam and Richmond handled this pandemic from start to finish. This contempt towards adult Virginians who needed to be told what to do, how to live, where to shop and what risks were acceptable or otherwise was precisely the sort of infantilization that makes me loathe the bureaucratic class. This government from start to finish never trusted grown adults with the basic operations of living.

Managing a pandemic is one thing; managing the actual operations of day-to-day life is something that just deeply offends most Virginians. For that alone, Northam and the Virginia Democrats ought to be judged harshly. One thing to stop a pandemic; something else to stop the oikonomia cold.

Shaun Kenney is the editor of The Republican Standard, former chairman of the Board of Supervisors for Fluvanna County, and a former executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia.