Before I get too far into this story about South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem it needs to be noted this is the same person who used–even after the rebukes–her anti-drug campaign tagline: “Meth, We’re on it”.
We are not talking about a person of great academic achievements. She was a former South Dakota Snow Queen. And she governs like one.
So with that comes another in a series of news stories about her lack of scientific reasoning when it comes to COVID-19. As the slaughterhouse chaos grows.
The disdain for data-driven policy moves from conservatives, as we proceed with this pandemic, is startling to witness. To only pander to Donald Trump in the guise of active governing is astonishing to witness. Yet that is what she is doing. As a result, there will be actual deaths that can be placed at the feet of Kristi Noem. In time, that will resonate at the ballot box.
But it’s also drawn criticism even from Republicans in her solidly red state, who say she’s been slow to lead the response and seems focused on climbing the political ladder. They worry, along with health experts, that the fallout from her decisions hasn’t yet been felt. The state’s virus caseload isn’t expected to peak until June.
“No governor has faced this enormous a test before, but this is the kind of challenge they will be judged on,” said Gail Gitcho, a Republican strategist and former communications director for the Republican Governors Association. For Noem’s national profile, Gitcho added, “it becomes her leadership resume for future office.”
(Playing with the lives of citizens for her future partisan desires is vulgar.)
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Noem has stuck to a hands-off approach, refusing to order businesses to close and rejecting calls for sweeping stay-at-home orders. She’s held her ground even as mayors and doctors — including the state’s largest medical association — called for stricter measures.
Noem argued that would only delay the peak of infections and extend disruption of daily life. She invoked the state ethos of individualism and said she trusted South Dakotans to be responsible.