Ralph Northam’s Sovereign Immunity

by Kerry Dougherty

Just as we were eagerly looking forward to a glorious Memorial Day weekend in Virginia Beach, Gov. Ralph Northam dropped a stink bomb.

At his Friday press conference, in his cloying, paternalistic way, Northam said he had some homework for the commonwealth. He wanted everyone to get a mask. Details to come on Tuesday.

Can’t wait. Clearly another authoritarian mandate is coming.

And good luck with your next edict, Governor. No one takes you seriously anymore.

Not after Saturday, anyway, when the whole world saw him frolicking on the Virginia Beach boardwalk, leaning in for selfies with fans and not even pretending to care about social distance.

Northam’s going to have a hard time continuing to whip up COVID-19 panic after this. He demonstrated that he wasn’t worried one bit about the virus. The media made much of the fact that Northam wasn’t wearing a mask on the boardwalk. Of course he wasn’t. Wearing a mask outside is idiotic and unhealthy. Who cares about that?

Conscientious folks are at least trying to maintain a little distance around strangers.

Not Northam.

Perhaps the governor was so shocked that some folks actually wanted to be photographed with him that he forgot that he was supposed to be spreading fear and hysteria.

After social media exploded Saturday with image after image of Northam canoodling with the hoi polloi on the boardwalk, his spokeswoman tried to spin Northam’s behavior into something acceptable.

The Governor has repeatedly encouraged wearing face coverings inside or when social distancing is impossible,” spokeswoman Alena Yarmosky said Sunday.
He was outside yesterday and not expecting to be within six feet of anyone. This is an important reminder to always have face coverings in case situations change — we are all learning how to operate in this new normal, and it’s important to be prepared.

Nice try, lady. But few things are more amusing than watching a mouthpiece spouting cliches like “new normal” in a vain attempt to excuse her boss’s boneheaded behavior. Fact is, Northam was once again exposed as a preening hypocrite.

It’s time someone asked Northam why, if masks work, hasn’t he slapped coverings on the faces of Virginia’s inmates and kept them in their damn cells.
So far at least 35 convicted murderers and about 200 other felons have been freed, with scores of others about to be sprung before they’ve completed their sentences.

Surely the governor knows that there have been exactly FIVE coronavirus deaths in all of Virginias jails and prisons.

Five! Out of tens of thousands of inmates.

Yet as soon as the pandemic began it was prisoners that the governor and his pals at the ACLU fretted about.

Going to prison shouldn’t mean a death sentence, these squishy hand-wringers chorused.

Well, being stuck in a nursing home shouldn’t be a death sentence, either, but that’s exactly what it is. Sixty percent of all Covid deaths Virginia have been to residents of nursing homes. On Saturday the state reported 12 deaths from Covid-19. Ten of those were in old peoples’ homes.

Instead of evacuating the facilities and getting the healthy residents to a safe place, Northam focused on rescuing felons.

Now he’s turning his attention to healthy Virginians and threatening all of us with some sort of mandatory mask order.

Meanwhile, he canoodles maskless and cheek-to-cheek with strangers.

Northam’s strange behavior last weekend may prove to be a bigger public relations disaster than that unforgettable blackface press conference he held last year where he offered to moonwalk.

Only a sharp jab in the ribs by his wife kept him from making a complete fool of himself. Unfortunately, she wasn’t with him Saturday.

As we exchanged photos of the governor over the weekend, law student and local business owner Seth Connell quipped that the governor can’t catch COVID-19 because “he has that sovereign immunity.”

Ralph Northam is a national punchline. And he has no one to blame but himself.

This column was published originally at www.kerrydougherty.com.

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15 responses to “Ralph Northam’s Sovereign Immunity”

  1. Ben Slone Avatar
    Ben Slone

    Do as I mandate, not as I do?

  2. S. E. Warwick Avatar
    S. E. Warwick

    Trying to understand why, with experience as a military doctor, the gov did not mobilize the National Guard to set up field hospitals at long term care and nursing home facilities in MARCH when the outbreaks began to separate the vulnerable and improve sanitation. These places should have gotten top priority for testing two months ago.

    1. because they have closed so many down, knowing that wasn’t where the problems were. If masks were effective, they would have given them to prisoners. Same for nursing homes. The state is resonsible for them, and blew it. They have hidden the information from folks.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        well.. maybe to keep things more accurate and less hidden:

        ” Posted: Mar 24, 2020 /
        RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Department of Corrections said they are providing prisoners and DOC staff with guard masks to keep COVID-19 from reaching the state’s correctional facilities.”


        “MAY 19, 2020

        Nursing homes in Virginia continue to have difficulty obtaining personal protective equipment. That’s according to new data published this week by the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association.

        As of Tuesday, nine nursing homes in Virginia report difficulty getting N95 masks within the last three days, 17 facilities say the same for isolation gowns.

        The numbers are likely even higher, explains Keith Hare with the Virginia Health Care Association, because the response rate for nursing homes is between 80 and 90-percent. More significantly, the data does not include assisted living facilities.

        “Can we say absolutely that every nursing home and every assisted living provider in Virginia has all the PPE they need to withstand an outbreak? No we’re not there yet,” Hare said during a phone interview Tuesday. ”

        But beyond prisons and nursing homes – there is very much infection in the general population even with restrictions and many professionals are advising if you can keep a 6-foot distance, that a mask can help with closer proximities.


  3. Nancy_Naive Avatar

    I like reading Kerry’s stuff. It reminds me that I should strive to first apply Hanlon’s razor.

    Sweet home Alabama where the government’s true.
    Sweet home Alabama where the covid is too (2x).

  4. LarrytheG Avatar

    Kerry’s rants sound like a spouse complaining about her Ex.

    …….. “and another thing about that no good rat………… “

  5. TooManyTaxes Avatar

    Kerry obviously doesn’t understand the Establishment’s rule – things are wrong only when done by the GOP, most especially, the bad Orangeman.

    1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

      You misspelled “orangutan”. An Orangeman is something else.

  6. PackerFan Avatar

    Funny comments Larry and Nancy (as always). But nothing to say about the governor not wearing a mask in such close proximity to others?

    1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

      It was stupid. See Kerry, too, could have applied the principle and been clever rather maliciously inept.

    2. LarrytheG Avatar

      Oh we was wrong..no question. There are two parts. First the policy itself and the pros/cons of it… and no matter what you do, it’s not going to go over well for some – and especially those of the opposite political party.

      That’s just the nature of the beast.

      And that’s why it’s so important to get your ducks in a row and he just can’t seem to walk that line…. truth is – he is the absolute opposite of a “polished” politician and these days – that’s damn near fatal when trying to navigate the culture divide.

      I dare say, even if Cuomo himeself was in Virginia that the GOPpers and Trumsters would cut him any slack.. it would be a war.

      1. sherlockj Avatar

        If Cuomo was Governor here, we would not have as many nursing home residents left.

        1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

          Are you bragging or complaining?

        2. LarrytheG Avatar

          but probably not near as many critics…. willing to get into it with him……..

          Northam is like a punching bag….. Mr. wet noodle.

          1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

            A real punching bag would break a Conservative’s hand.

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