COVID Has Exposed Massive Failures in Governance

by James C. Sherlock

In a comment to my previous post, we saw a statement “most parents are happy with the education their kids are getting.”   That is no longer true. Polls say overwhelmingly it is not.

On a personal note, my two grandsons in Albemarle County schools, twin seniors, haven’t set foot in their high school this year. Albemarle County has during this same time period declared itself the state’s first antiracist school district. Excellent timing. Shows where the superintendent’s head was. The school board rubber stamped that policy. No one noted that black students were and are unable to go to school.

COVID has exposed a fatal lack of government imagination, planning and execution in good times. It simply did not do the blocking and tackling.

Remember my story about the decades-long lack of hospital and nursing home inspectors? Remember the nursing home deaths that resulted?

Remember the University of Virginia Board of Visitors more than a decade ago fired the president of that school in part because she would not invest enough in distance learning? Remember that the board itself was then threatened with firing by the Governor and she returned triumphant? Now remember what happened when that school and others had to switch to remote learning under COVID?

Remember the state pandemic emergency plan that lay fallow until COVID and then was removed from the state website because no one had looked at it in years and they did not want the embarrassment? Remember the hospital chaos and lack of supplies that resulted?

Remember the terrible public schools and lack of primary care in poor areas that pre-dated COVID? Notice that those terrible public schools and lack of primary care remain. Remember the higher COVID death rates and breathtaking learning losses in minorities that resulted?

In those years, leaders did not lead, donors exacted their pounds of flesh, many bureaucracies worked out of their inboxes and inconvenient issues were buried.

COVID and its effects on the economy, health and education under systems of government that proved not only unresponsive to the public but often acted in direct opposition to the public interest have exposed major flaws in our system of governance and should have a major impact on politics going forward.

Since COVID, “power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely” has been re-proven in many states and cities, including Virginia. “Do something” is not a strategy.

The people now have seen government under stress — state and local governments acting under “emergency” authorities — and don’t like what they have seen.

Whether all of that will result in better government or worse is yet to be discerned.

The left will assess that government did not have enough power, not that it was incompetent. Watch for it.

The truth is that few things in American life are as often corrupt, inept and unresponsive to peoples’ needs as state and local politics. That is where we must point our attention to make long overdue corrections.

Job one. Unlimited and out-of-state campaign donations must end.

In addition, we must ban state-granted regional monopoly healthcare providers and state-regulated utilities from participating in campaign funding and lobbying either directly or through 501c4s and PACs. Make them choose either to maintain their state-granted advantages or to lobby and fund politicians. Break up the monopolies if they don’t agree to back off.

School boards need memberships with more diverse backgrounds and the people must examine candidate credentials and governing philosophies better before voting. Most are dominated by ex-teachers and administrators. It is too closed a system.

State and local bureaucratic structures must be examined for what they did and did not accomplish in preparation for COVID and major changes made. Focus first on the office of Governor, VDEM, VDH and VDOE.

The General Assembly needs additional professional staff to conduct oversight on the executive.

The list goes on.

But letting the same crowd pretend to fix the problems they ignored before COVID and failed to properly address during COVID is not a promising strategy. Meetings and five-year-plans are not action.

The state has been led by Democratic Governors and appointees for seven years. A Republican governor and Attorney General would be good places to start.

Otherwise don’t expect different results next time.

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22 responses to “COVID Has Exposed Massive Failures in Governance

  1. Baconator with extra cheese

    Have no fear… the hiring of countless Diversity and Inclusion Directors will smooth it all out!
    Actually I am excited that more and more public embarrassment will come to supposedly woke government groups!
    I want more Princess Blanding public blowups… they are truly wonderful when they embarrass azz-hat politicains of either and all parties.
    Sunshine is good…

  2. Baconator with extra cheese

    I am extremely excited for the push to roll out the vaccine with “Equity” in mind.
    The opinion piece on vaccine equity in the Virginia Mercury is great.
    I so hope Dr Governor and his Woke Posse roll it out by color… and I hope they screw around, waste time, and waste opened vaccine.. and when the bodies pile up maybe people will wake up and get that it is NEVER appropriate to use skin color as a metric for anything.

  3. I have spent more than a decade trying to get Virginia’s elected Democrats to agree to traditionally Democratic policies like helping the poor in education and healthcare. They were never interested.

  4. Let me throw out an heretical view, at least on this blog. The Republican Party at this juncture is a disgrace to governance — as demonstrated by its majority willing to engage in massive cowardice and denial of reality, undermining electoral integrity and democracy itself at the federal level, and its coterie of Corey Stewart / Amanda Chase types in Virginia pushing yet another closed-loop, ‘only-groupies-welcome’ Convention, collectively divorced from reality and from electoral practicality.

    Quite a few folks who used to consider themselves Republicans have noticed this. They have concluded they are better placing their bets on the survival of good government in the hands of the Democrats for now, and doing what they can to fight the inevitable budget wars with them, at least confident that the debate will be rational and fact based. Outcomes for the business community, for public safety, and for taxes, cannot justify the rhetoric we have lived through for the past couple of years, and those outcomes have ceased to outweigh the price paid in education, in health, and in neglect of poverty, aggravated but certainly not solely attributable to the Pandemic, in the minds of those volters, especially those better-educated, younger voters, the Republican Party desperately needs to attract.

    So, True Believers, you suggest that by returning Virginia’s GA and Executive to a Republican trifecta, all will somehow be restored to sanity as a result? That the massive failures in State (let alone federal) governance of the recent past will somehow be erased as a result? That rationality and trust in institutions will somehow return as a result? Damn! [remaining expletives deleted]

    Wake me when the 2021 elections are over.

    • So the alternative is to continue riding the horse that brought us here.

      “Outcomes for the business community, for public safety, and for taxes, cannot justify the rhetoric we have lived through for the past couple of years, and those outcomes have ceased to outweigh the price paid in education, in health, and in neglect of poverty, aggravated but certainly not solely attributable to the Pandemic, in the minds of those voters, especially those better-educated, younger voters, the Republican Party desperately needs to attract.”

      I’m sorry, those “better educated, younger voters” have degrees but not wisdom. “Neglect of poverty” in exchange for campaign contributions, in my considerable experience, is most commonly a Democratic characteristic, not a Republican one, though those politicians live and work on both sides.

      If “better educated, younger voters” think a philosophy is sufficient for governance, they show a fatal weakness. If they don’t understand what I have termed the blocking and tackling of governance and even more important, the systemic corruption of state and local politics in Virginia, they are not “better educated” voters.

      How many of them know that in Virginia, it has been Democratic elected officials who have blocked health and education reforms to help poor people in exchange for campaign donations, not Republicans.

      I would venture to say virtually none of them.

      • I think your penultimate paragraph needs expanding and exploring; that’s a major talking point that’s not well enough known. NO politician who talks one goal and manipulates (behind the scenes) for another deserves a pass on hypocrisy; I certainly don’t mean to imply that the Dems deserve uncritical endorsement. But what bothers me more is the recent tendency of, let’s face it, primarily Congressional Republicans, to deny reality even when they’re face-to-face with it: the denigration of fact-based reporting (while endorsing known conspiracy theories), the gratuitous cruelty to those who are living that reality, the attacks on institutions and officials simply trying to do their jobs. It’s fair game to attack your opponent’s policies — not, to deliberately undermine the election and governance process itself.

    • “They have concluded they are better placing their bets on the survival of good government in the hands of the Democrats for now…”

      – Governor Blackface
      – Lt Governor under credible accusation of sexual assault
      – AG Blackface who called on Governor Blackface to step down because of blackface
      – Mayor under investigation of monument removal contract

      https://www.nbc29.com/2020/11/10/prosecutor-review-mayor-stoneys-confederate-monument-removal-contract/

      – Fighting Jailbird Joe Morrissey

      And K12 education is in the toilet this year because Democrats are beholden to teacher’s groups for votes.

      Yes, such good governance.

    • If you get Conservatives in Virginia the choice between Chase and whoever the Dem candidate is – They will vote for Chase. No contest. 😉

      Chase beats Blackface everytime! 😉

    • James Wyatt Whitehead V

      I would rather read an epistle from St Peter.

  5. Amanda Chase for GOV! The cure for leftists! Accountability for “elites”!

    Amanda will fix this mess!

    😉

  6. Everything going wrong in Virginia right now is decades in the making.

  7. Headline: ” Massive Failure! Crime continues despite trillions spent”

    Page 2 – ” Massive Failure! millions of ignorant despite decades of “education” “.

    Page 3 – ” Science develops questionable vaccine in response to a fake pandemic and widespread fear porn”!

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