When Gov. Mike Parson and his wife Teresa announced they were diagnosed with COVID-19 last week, normal salt of the earth Missourians immediately showed our midwestern sympathies for the first couple and expressed heartfelt, sincere hopes that they get better soon.
Unfortunately, some liberals and their communications teams in the media had a completely different take: They gleefully celebrated the infection and immediately sought to use it for politics.
Look, we all like being right; we all like seeing our predictions come true. Y’all know I’m not the type to brag or call attention to myself, but heck I even have a #SteinOfKnowledge.
However, it’s very dark and convoluted logic to somehow think you’re right because a virus that has infected millions of people was also contracted by the governor and that somehow validates your politics.
Just how immediately was the governor’s diagnosis used to cynically attempt to validate some liberal political points?
Within 10 minutes of Parson’s announcement of his positive test, the Kansas City Star released an editorial attacking him and his wife and, unbelievably, accusing the governor of playing politics. That dog just ain’t gonna hunt with Missourians who don’t spend their weekends protesting or their Monday mornings cowering in their basements.
Former Senator Claire McCaskill — who to be fair is now commentating on MSNBC so she has to ratchet up the rhetoric a couple of notches — immediately put out a tweet mocking the governor.
Now look, once folks realized that the governor and first lady’s health didn’t appear to be in serious peril, some folks had a little fun with it. My old pal Patrick Lynn, who like many folks have pointed out is shirttail kin to the governor’s opponent, State Auditor Nicole Galloway, even joked that the governor was faking the COVID diagnosis to avoid debating Galloway.
Now that is funny for a couple of reasons, not least of which is that no one will watch their debate. If I had to guess, the auditor is probably better suited to a debate format, and they are normally more of a benefit to the challenger — but neither is going to be a Victor Callahan vs. Chris Koster debate on a village law quality that anyone will notice.
I’ve never warmed to the partisan hack role as keenly as some of the big city papers do this time of the election cycle, but Galloway’s response wasn’t just a whole lot better. The day after the announcement, she was criticizing him for having the gall to say we should send kids back to school.
Even the real real liberal folks out on the East Coast at the Washington Post had to grudgingly admit that some of her doomsday predictions on reopening schools were wrong.
Now, I don’t really believe that liberals are rooting for the virus. However, I think that President Trump has just destroyed the common sense of both his most fervent supporters and nastiest critics. Honestly, it does sometimes come off that they almost feel like their views are validated every time someone gets a positive test — even in cases like the Governor where he hasn’t even been sick.
I saw something insightful on Twitter the other day (I know you already don’t believe me but oblige a hillbilly and keep reading) explaining the sentiment I believe a lot of people have on masks: “PSA: You can be both pro-mask and anti-government mandate. Anytime I mention opposition to mask mandates, I am flooded with ‘you should wear a mask.’ I never said I don’t. But I don’t need the government to keep me and my family healthy.” That was from Jana Smith of Carthage. I thought it was well put, and I told her I would be stealing it.
Democrats have been accused of rooting for the virus, and they have, I think, rightfully claimed that’s an unfair characterization. But this dark and kind of gruesome delight at the prospect of a Republican governor and his wife getting this virus makes their feigned outrage a tough sell.
Folks oughta remember that we are Missourians even though we live in an age where folks from Washington and the east and west coasts come in and try to influence and sometimes even run our campaigns.
Leaders have to be strong enough to make those carpetbaggers coming in from the West Coast leave that dark vitriol west of Fort Scott. Candidates have to have the spine to remind those East Coast fat cats that we are Missourians and to leave their gruesome tendencies east of Cairo.
Scott Faughn is the publisher of The Missouri Times, owner of the Clayton Times in Clayton, Mo; SEMO Times in Poplar Bluff, Mo.; and host of the only statewide political television show, This Week in Missouri Politics.