Nothing quite captures the smug elitism of petty tyranny better than this short clip of Gretchen Whitmer laughing off concerns about civil rights. Why should anyone care, Whitmer says, that she has taken a valid and exigent public-health emergency to arbitrarily infringe on activities that pose no threat — such as planting seeds on one’s own land to grow food, or traveling between their homes without coming into contact with others?
It’s snowing, sillies! Americans don’t need their rights when it’s snowing, at least in Michigan:
Emperor Whitmer actually says “we’re cracking down on people planting,” and then explains why you don’t need your liberties anyway when it snows.
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) April 16, 2020
It’s true that governors and mayors have authority to order rights-infringing limits in emergencies. Even then, though, they have to find ways to service a legitimate government purpose by the least-intrusive method possible. It also helps if they sound somewhat reluctant to exercise that authority and acknowledge that they are indeed burdening people with those limitations. Whitmer here sounds positively giddy about it, while sneering at anyone who might object to her inane orders.
What, pray tell, does forbidding planting and gardening on one’s own property have to do with stopping community transmission of a disease? Even a ban on landscaping someone else’s property stretches credulity as a rational policy to stop COVID-19, as long as proper social distancing takes place. Similarly, traveling from one house to another poses no threat, assuming that any stops are handled with the proper precautions for conducting essential business.
Democrat Mike Duggan, Mayor of Detroit, called his state’s system for reporting COVID-19 “not reliable,” as hospital officials also blame the state government for an inefficient system that ultimately leads to longer wait times.
Michigan State Rep. Karen Whitsett, a Democrat representing Detroit, alleged that Gov. Whitmer was giving federal officials incorrect information on the COVID-19 situation in Detroit, and told a Michigan news outlet that Gov. Whitmer was not doing enough:
“There is no need for me to have a conversation with someone who is not doing anything. I mean, if you are going to do something, then I want to have a conversation with you. If you are not going to do anything, I don’t have time to have a conversation with you. I have people dying in my city. I don’t have time to waste,” Rep. Whitsett said.
Mayor of Warren, Michigan, Jim Fouts, criticized a provision in Gov. Whitmer’s order that bans Michigan residents from utilizing commercial lawn service:
“I’m not going to support giving any citation. We have a large number of senior citizens, and many of them have special needs. They don’t own lawnmowers; they rely on commercial services,” he told Detroit News.
Michigan Live reports that a handful of sheriffs in the state say they will refuse to enforce the more ridiculous parts of Whitmer’s orders:
In a joint press release issued as thousands of residents protest at the state capital in Lansing, Leelanau County Sheriff Mike Borkovich, Benzie County Sheriff Ted Schendel, Manistee County Sheriff Ken Falk and Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole said they will not strictly enforce Whitmer’s orders in their counties.
“While we understand her desire to protect the public, we question some restrictions that she has imposed as overstepping her executive authority,” the sheriffs wrote. “She has created a vague framework of emergency laws that only confuse Michigan citizens.”
Instead of strict enforcement, the sheriffs say they “will deal with every case as an individual situation and apply common sense.”
This matters all the more because Whitmer clearly wants to position herself for consideration as Joe Biden’s running mate. On paper, Whitmer has a lot to offer. Her gender would fulfill Biden’s pledge to choose a woman, a big key for the campaign. Whitmer has executive experience; she’s young enough to contrast with Biden and to attract younger voters. Most importantly, Michigan is a state Democrats need to put back in the blue column to win the White House, too, after Donald Trump stole a march on Hillary Clinton there.
This, however, is simply embarrassing. Michigan appears more ready to jettison Whitmer than to rally around her, thanks to this high-handed attitude toward the voters who entrusted her with this office. If this clip is any indication of how she’d campaign for the ticket, Amy Klobuchar has to be looking better and better to Team Biden.