I have been reflecting on the hour and a half of video of our underwhelming Governor I watched today, trying to understand his methods and pick up all the non-verbal messages, to understand his fundamental character. He is overwhelmingly a politician, as you would expect, which means you have no idea what he really thinks or believes, and at this point, neither does he. He has been a politician too long. I don’t believe he knows what truth is, only what messaging is.
He is never part of the problem. He speaks about the legislature, and he means Republicans, always turning everything into politics, about the legislative process being slow, about others not being willing to negotiate or compromise. The reality is he needs to take a very, very long look in the mirror. Not only is he never part of the problem, he is never the one unwilling to negotiate or compromise or even consider other perspectives. If you aren’t going to do exactly what he wants to do, he has no time for your position. He never takes responsibility for anything.
This stems from a deep-rooted insecurity and lack of confidence in his decisions. Watch his eyes. This is not a courageous person. This is not a person of integrity. This at his essence is a career government employee and politician who believes money and the ability to deliver votes talks loudest. He spouts rhetoric about following the data and the science, but he ignores them if they don’t support what he has done or wants to do. He is terrified to acknowledge mistakes or to show that he might have made a mistake by changing course. He fundamentally believes talk is the same as action and that is why he talks so much and all that talking is just designed to convince himself that he knows what he is doing.
He cannot make a hard decision. He made only easy ones, abetted by a friendly, tame media. Afraid of coronavirus cases and deaths? He is the man for you, because he will do only what appears to be designed to limit those, even though his actions demonstrably did not have that effect. The hard decision, instead of ruining a generation of children, would have been to insist that schools stay open. The hard decision would have been to ignore the herd and do everything he could to keep businesses open and people employed. The hard decision would have been to resist the urge to give into panic and hysteria, and reassure the population, encourage people not to miss critical life events like getting needed health care and visiting family and loved ones. No, he always made the easy decision.
Politicians have always been, well, politicians, but they in the past they were occasionally also leaders. Leaders who were unafraid to speak truth about situations and courses of action; who were unafraid to take responsibility; who could consider all the effects of actions on the entire population and for the long-term; who understood negotiation and compromise on tactics and programs, but would not compromise core values essential to the maintenance of a nation based on freedom and individual rights. Little Timmy is just that, a fundamentally little man, who believes the message of the moment can substitute for an enduring and foundational set of principles, and who lacks any real core character.