Freakshow Idaho Lt. Gov. Lady Bans Mask Mandates While Real Gov Out Of State, And He's *Piiiiissed*
Last week, Idaho's wackaloon Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin, who likes to hang out with anti-government militias and pretends she's some sort of freedom fighter by opposing public health measures, decided that while Gov. Brad Little was out of the state, she'd just fuck around and find out if she could bring LIBERTY to Idaho.
Little had gone to a Republican Governors Association conference in Nashville, and Idaho's state constitution says that when the governor leaves the state, they are no longer governor. So last Thursday, McGeachin issued a batshit crazy executive order prohibiting all state "political subdivisions" (other than nursing homes and hospitals) from mandating face masks.
As the Idaho Capital Sun 'splained, the order applied to all Idaho "public schools, counties, cities and public health districts. It also extends to state boards, commissions, departments and divisions." McGeachin said she hadn't checked with schools or informed them of the order before issuing it.
The first that Gov. Little heard of the order was right after he'd spoken at the RGA meeting, when he got a call from Secretary of State Lawrence Denney, the Capital Sun reported yesterday.
"He says, "Brad, I've got an executive order here,'" Little said in a lengthy interview [...] in his office Tuesday morning.
"That's when I first found out about it."
Little returned to Boise last Thursday night, and on Friday morning issued a new executive order undoing McGeachin's craziness. As of yesterday afternoon, the governor and the lieutenant governor hadn't spoken. In Idaho, the two officers are elected separately; they don't run together on a party ticket. It being Idaho, you're gonna have Republicans in both slots anyway. Idaho does have a two-party system, however: There are conservative Republicans like Little, and then there are bonkers whackjob far-Right Republicans like McGeachin.
This latest madness makes us wonder whether someday, the madness in the Idaho Republican Party will get so bad that voters turn away from the Rs. If they do, they'd still probably elect a Whig before a Democrat.
For educational purposes, here's McGeachin's celebratory tweet, with screenshots of the order if you want to see it:
Today, as acting Governor of the State of Idaho, I signed an Executive Order to protect the rights and liberties of… https://t.co/xz3vnIp8RO— Janice McGeachin (@Janice McGeachin) 1622132451.0
The "whereases" of the order are really some special disinformation, so let's have a closer look-see. Just keep in mind that the CDC has published plenty of evidence that masks are effective in preventing transmission of COVID-19, and that "mask wearing has no significant adverse health effects for wearers." So this is neat: an executive order from an acting state governor that flat out lies about both those points.
WHEREAS, scientific studies show that COVID-l9 restrictions on individuals and businesses such as social distancing, gathering limitations, and the use of face masks or face coverings of any design have done significant physical, mental, social, and economic harm and were ineffective mitigation measures;
and WHEREAS, serious concerns continue to he raised regarding both short-term and long-term negative effects caused by wearing masks.
WHEREAS, the remaining mask mandates issued by the health districts, public schools, school districts, and political subdivisions of this State due to the COVID-19 fail to serve a public health or safety purpose and unnecessarily restrict the rights and liberties of individuals and business in this State.
Once again: Bullshit, bullshit, and bullshit, right down to the assertion that masking is no longer needed. The CDC has said fully vaccinated people can go without masks, but unvaccinated people should continue wearing masks. And there are still COVID-19 outbreaks in Idaho, which have led some school districts and individual schools to continue their mask orders.
After rescinding McGeachin's order Friday, Little issued a scathing press statement condemning her "irresponsible abuse of power" right in the headline. Little proudly noted that he had never issued a statewide mask mandate because he believed in local control, although we'd argue that if he had, it's possible we would have had fewer than nearly 2,100 COVID deaths. But he added that he also "didn't undermine separately elected officials" who have the authority to set rules locally.
And then he got mean, calling McGeachin's order "not gubernatorial," and an "irresponsible, self-serving political stunt."
And then, like Beto O'Rourke speaking correct but very stilted Spanish, Little showed off his ability to speak Tea Party as a Second Language, saying,
This kind of over-the-top executive action amounts to tyranny – something we all oppose.
How ironic that the action comes from a person who has groused about tyranny, executive overreach, and balance of power for months.
Why yes, McGeachin did recently announce her plans to run for governor in 2022, and while Little hasn't formally announced he'll run for reelection, that certainly sounded like a stump speech there.
On more practical matters, Little also pointed out that, as written, McGeachin's order could have endangered people, since its blanket ban on non-hospital mask mandates would have prohibited requirements for masks to be worn by "social workers visiting homes of at-risk individuals, or workers in our state testing lab, or employees at congregate facilities" [he means prisons — Dok] that are particularly vulnerable to outbreaks of infectious disease.
No, he was not done. He noted that the order conflicted with other state laws, and added, "This is why you do your homework, Lt. Governor."
At that point, we wondered whether a representative for the Federation of Corporal Punishment Advocates might step in and say "enough, already!"
Now, Little did tell the Capital Sun that he had tried to call McGeachin Friday morning to let her know that he'd be rolling back her executive order with one of his own (or as he put it in the statement, taking action to "clean up a mess" caused by her "flimsy executive order"). But he hadn't heard back from her by the time of the interview Tuesday. He added that while they've managed to be "civil, but maybe not cordial" during the pandemic, "It's no secret it's going to be a little tougher going forward."
Without elaborating, Little said McGeachin's executive order will affect his decisions to travel out of state in the future.
"Obviously it will factor into some of my calculations," he said.
For her part, McGeachin doesn't appear to have responded directly to Little, although on Tuesday, she tweeted that she had acted "to uphold my sworn oath to uphold and protect the rights of our citizens in Idaho," citing the US and Idaho constitutions, and the "rule of law in Idaho."
We're not so sure we agree with her constitution work there, because over the weekend, she'd appeared on a rightwing podcast to explain how, according to her understanding of those documents, all the federal land in Idaho actually belongs to the state. Guess she's not gonna let Ammon Bundy steal her thunder!
Also too, last night she appeared on the Tucker Carlson Insurrection Hour to inveigh against "anti-white indoctrination" in the schools, so really, she's already way finished with her little executive order stunt.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.