The Queen Seeks Higher Office

raimondohalo-NYTimes-featured

“Am I crazy?” may be the biggest unspoken question of our times.

Here’s a fun one.  With other states’ inexplicably imposing restrictions on Rhode Islanders, am I crazy for having the passing thought that this might somehow be related to Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden’s search for a vice presidential running mate?  I mean, it seems implausible, but the recent tone coming off my non-scientific Twitter stream is that our Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo is surprisingly strong in the running as the “competent” choice, despite having the wrong skin color.

A few nearby states run by lefty partisans could tilt that momentous decision a bit by generating headlines that undermine the competence narrative.  (Yes, Massachusetts complicates the picture, but the governor isn’t the only decision-maker, and anyway, me-too-ism is a real pressure in political offices.)

But now let’s put the fun questions of political speculation aside.  Am I crazy for thinking more attention ought to be paid to the intersection of the COVID-19 story and the vice-presidential story?  Nobody is asking a key question of how all this should be working.

Rhode Islanders find ourselves in the position that the governor is granting herself the sole authority to decree whether children can go to school, whether bars can stay open (and how long), and how many of your family members you can have in your backyard.  She is personally (“I”) threatening to shut things down if we don’t live up to her expectations.  That’s problematic enough on its own, but what happens if that same dictator decides her time is better spent traveling the country campaigning for her next job?

As a Raimondo skeptic, I find it hard to believe the Biden team would actually choose her for the ticket.  More likely, her army of PR flacks have been working overtime to generate “buzz,” aided by the cigar-room whispers of her long-time Wall Street backers.  But if her ascension is a topic of conversation, shouldn’t we be discussing the consequences?  Shouldn’t reporters be asking her how she could possibly micromanage the lives of a million defenseless virus vectors while shifting her focus to a national political campaign?

Shouldn’t we be asking whether she will resign?

The opening speculation of this post is, admittedly, a little over-the-top in its silliness, but frankly, it doesn’t seem our governing class is very serious.  We’ve allowed our representative democracy to devolve to the decisions of a single person, and the local chatterers are abuzz with the possibility that our local celebrity royal might soon be a national name.  Whether she can do her day job and what the consequences might be for… you know… the people the politicians and journalists are supposed to be serving are questions that seem not to matter at all.

Are we all crazy?