This Evokes the Image of Donald J Trump in a County Jail in the South

Charles P. Pierce
·5-min read
Photo credit: MANDEL NGAN - Getty Images
Photo credit: MANDEL NGAN - Getty Images

From Esquire

(Permanent Musical Accompaniment To This Post)

Being our semi-regular weekly survey of what’s goin’ down in the several states where, as we know, the real work of governmentin’ gets done, and where the heat pipes just cough.

We begin in Georgia, where they’re still dealing with the fallout of the state’s blue-tinged evolution. For example, in case it’s escaped notice down at the Winter Palace in Florida, the chickens are crowding the roosts these days. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“This letter is notice that the Fulton County District Attorney has opened an investigation into attempts to influence the administration of the 2020 Georgia General Election,” Willis wrote in correspondences delivered Wednesday morning to Raffensperger, Gov. Brian Kemp, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and Attorney General Chris Carr. Willis told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday that her office was best suited to handle the investigation since all other relevant state investigative agencies have conflicts. In her letter, Willis said her office “is the one agency with jurisdiction that is not a witness to the conduct that is the subject of the investigation.”

DA Willis has a compelling argument. The former president* so poisoned the testimony of everyone he contacted that a local county prosecutor is the only official who is arguably uncompromised, and I have to admit I find the vision of El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago tossed into a Southern county jail to be quite delicious.

Unfortunately, the Republican officeholders down in Georgia have decided that they have a lot of work to do in response to the 2020 elections as well. Again, from the AJC:

Representatives of the New Georgia Project hand-delivered 1,268 voter registration applications to the Gwinnett County elections office beyond the time allowed, according to an investigator for Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger…The State Election Board submitted the case on a 3-0 vote, with the board’s lone Democrat, David Worley, recusing himself. Raffensperger is the chairman of the board but usually doesn’t vote except to break ties.

This is the bureaucratic equivalent of a nuisance suit, but it’s enough to get the words “Warnock” and “investigation” into the same sentence, so its work there is done. The rear-guard action against the remarkable results wrought by the work of Stacey Abrams and her forces is likely to be desperate and angry, and it’s worth keeping an eye on.

Photo credit: Paras Griffin - Getty Images
Photo credit: Paras Griffin - Getty Images

We move along to Iowa, where Governor Kim Reynolds is making a strong move up in our Bad Governor Ranking. (Perhaps she’s inspired by Kristi Noem's work in South Dakota a few degrees north.) From the Des Moines Register:

Gov. Kim Reynolds did not consult with Iowa Department of Public Health officials on her decision to drop mask rules from her latest COVID-19 disaster proclamation, two Democratic lawmakers say. Asked about the claim, neither the public health agency's nor the governor's spokespeople denied the claim…Reynolds, a Republican, issued a new disaster proclamation Friday afternoon that dropped a requirement for masks in some circumstances and dropped a limit on social gatherings. The decision runs counter to general advice from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The blithe way that Reynolds is dismissing the still-active pandemic is of a piece with her entire performance once Iowa became nearly completely overwhelmed by the pandemic. Half-measures and tap-dancing were the order of the day. The state legislature enacted a mask mandate and then refused to enforce it. In addition to ending the mask mandate, Reynolds also ordered that all the state’s public schools offer a 100 percent in-person option to their students, which is just amazingly reckless.

Perhaps sensing the threat from her south, Governor Noem made a bold move by delaying the enactment of a new medical marijuana law for a year. None of the hypothetical difficulties used as an excuse for the delay should take a year to solve. More likely, the governor’s move is meant to buttress the recent opinion handed down by a Noem-appointed judge that the entire legalization statute is unconstitutional. So, for the moment, if you live in South Dakota, feel free to contract COVID, but don’t expect to get any weed to help you through the quarantine.

Photo credit: MANDEL NGAN - Getty Images
Photo credit: MANDEL NGAN - Getty Images

And we conclude, as is our custom, in the great state of Oklahoma, where Blog Official Antibody Cowboy Friedman of the Plains brings us yet another saga of what happens when you elect a guy to bring his well-known business skillz to political office. From Fox 23:

The newly created Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency released its draft report late Wednesday. It criticizes CARES Forward — the entity created by the Stitt administration to manage the federal funds — for inconsistent data management, a lack of transparency of expenditures, and incomplete documentation. “A significant component of relief funds was used for pre-existing needs and government modernization,” the report said. “Several projects under these categories may be at risk for not meeting the federal standards for ‘necessary’ expenses in responding to the pandemic.”

Oklahoma received more than $1.5 billion in funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, but the LOFT report focuses on $1.26 billion that was allocated by the Stitt administration. Among the highlighted spending is $148.7 million to fund state agency IT upgrades, $18 million for updates to ten state welcome centers, and $2 million on an ad campaign featuring Stitt to promote Oklahoma tourism.

I never will understand the attitude of Republican governors toward FREE MONEY! They fought the Medicaid expansion tooth-and-nail, and yet, that was FREE MONEY! too. But pandemic relief money can be used to hang new maps at the welcome centers? It’s almost like these governors are all in favor of public-health money as long as they don’t have to use it to keep the public healthy.

This is your democracy, America. Cherish it.

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