James Rowen
Op Ed

State GOP Holding Convention in Hot Spot

In-person Republican convention next week in Brown County which has second-highest COVID-19 outbreak.

By - Jul 5th, 2020 11:38 am
Robin Vos worked at a Racine County polling place during the April election after saying it was "incredibly safe" to venture outside.

Robin Vos worked at a Racine County polling place during the April election after saying it was “incredibly safe” to venture outside.

The Wisconsin GOP, whose leaders created the COVID-19 containment failure, puts its consequences and contradictions on full display when it holds its in-person state convention next week in Brown County.

That’s a noteworthy locale these days because Brown County is ranked #2 in confirmed COVID-19 cases among Wisconsin’s 72 counties.

The choice is super-ironic, given that the state’s positive case load is again spiking after Republican legislative leaders won a ruling at the State Supreme Court which ended Gov. Evers’ statewide COVID-19-control emergency plan.

A Forbes business writer, saw the cause-and-effect relationship: “Wisconsin Sees Coronavirus Spike 2 Weeks After Abrupt Reopening” was the headline.

And a fair review of the GOP’s COVID-19 culpabilities should include mention of State Supreme Court Chief Justice Patience Roggensack pooh-poohing during the Court’s deliberations of the already-heavy Brown County COVID-19 caseload when she dismissively suggested that “regular folks” there — and not the local meat-packing workforce — didn’t face much virus risk.

Furthermore, the GOP’s legislative leaders who won their case never came forward with their promised alternative plan to the Governor’s plan they blew up because they said local governments – you remember that long-dead WI GOP talking point, don’t you – were free to craft plans locality-by-locality – as if creating a crazy-quilt of uneven rules statewide was smart, or even a ‘plan.’

[GOP Assembly Speaker Robin] Vos downplayed the concern, saying “we don’t necessarily need a statewide approach.”

“We already know that local health departments have the ability to utilize their power, which is already there to deal with those situations if they feel it’s unsafe,” Vos said.

Except that a Racine County District Court Judge just overturned the City of Racine‘s COVID-19 control ordinance.

And if that ruling sticks, and becomes a statewide template, there could be even fewer COVID-19 control measures across Wisconsin.

A state already gaining notoriety as one of a handful where people are everyone pretty much on their own.

And the Green Bay media have taken note: “Wisconsin one of four states with no statewide face mask requirements”.

So it falls to private sector owners and operators and venues — not medical experts advising public officials — to make critical public health decisions for Wisconsin.

For example, the Marinette, WI shipyard where an of-course maskless Trump spoke in late June had mandated masks at the event on the premises – for everyone else.

And while I believe the Green Bay convention center where the GOP convention will be held is not requiring that visitors wear masks, the party says it will provide them.

And then everyone is on his or her own.

The Republicans have put themselves at odds with the Green Bay Packers who will play games a few minutes from the convention center at nearby Lambeau Field this season and will require attendees to wear face coverings:

Packers say masks will be required, seating could be limited if fans allowed at games

And while you process these ridiculous and contradictory consequences spawned by the Wisconsin’s GOP-delivered Covid-19 spike, take in that possible convention attendee Ron Johnson still isn’t sold on meeting and masking: 

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) was spotted carrying — not wearing — his mask into a senators-only lunch on Tuesday and said, “I haven’t seen how particularly effective these are.”

But at least one other likely convention attendee has shown the entire nation he knows how to mask-and-suit-up.

James Rowen, a former journalist and mayoral staffer in Milwaukee and Madison, writes a regular blog, The Political Environment.

Categories: Op-Ed, Politics

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