When all this is said and done, we are going to look back at the coronavirus epidemic and determine which politicians and leaders did the right thing. We will look at a guy like NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and see failure in action. No question about that. Depending on the way the winds blow, though, Florida’s Ron DeSantis may have some uncomfortable questions to answer at the end of all this as well.
It’s not necessarily down the line, Republicans/Democrats. Some officials are stepping up. Some are blowing it. Some…well, it’s just too soon to tell.
But it’s already clear that Ohio’s Governor Mike DeWine (R) is one for the win column. He has been crushing the coronavirus response since March 3, when he surprised many observers by banning spectators from bodybuilding’s Arnold Classic. It was not surprising when critics called the move a blatant overreaction, but DeWine felt confident that his decision was the right one. It wasn’t much longer before every major sporting league in the United States suspended their seasons, canceled their events, and made the Ohio governor look like a prophet.
DeWine has been out front of this thing at every turn, at potential political cost to himself. He didn’t wait around to take a public poll about whether or not he should shut down Ohio’s public schools, he just did it. He was ahead of New York, New Jersey, and Maryland when it came to shuttering restaurants and bars. DeWine has essentially been the canary in the coal mine, doing things earlier and better than many officials in much larger states. He deserves to be recognized for that courageous attitude, which may very well have saved lives.
“In a sense these were tough decisions, but in a sense they were not,” DeWine said in an interview. “This is life and death.”
As usual when it comes to anything these days, public opinion is all over the place. You still have your “it’s just the flu” people scratching their heads about what the big deal is. And then, on the other side, you have people stocking up on toilet paper like they’re expecting to spend the next six months eating endless bowls of Grape Nuts. DeWine has taken a middle path that avoid the needless panic while also taking steps in the name of public safety.
Good for him.