November 22, 2020 - 9:00 pm
“Do as I say, not as I do” isn’t a great parenting strategy. It’s not working out so well for Democratic political leaders either.
Since Election Day, a number of high-profile Democrats have shown a disregard for the coronavirus restrictions they insist others follow.
Start with California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Earlier this month, he went to a birthday party for one of California’s top lobbyists. The group of a dozen or so people ate at one of the most expensive restaurants in the state, where the tab normally runs more $300 a person. The CEO and top lobbyist for the California Medical Association were among the guests. Pictures of the dinner eventually emerged showing the governor and guests not wearing masks or socially distancing.
The phrase “let them eat cake” springs to mind.
These are the very types of gatherings that Gov. Newsom has been urging Californians to avoid. On Monday, he pulled “an emergency brake” on reopening and imposed lockdowns on 94 percent of California’s population. Under these restrictions, gyms, restaurants and churches are allowed only to offer outdoor services.
The hypocrisy was so obvious that Gov. Newsom felt obliged to address it. “I want to apologize to you because I need to preach and practice, not just preach and not practice, and I’ve done my best to do that,” he said. “We’re all human. We all fall short sometimes.”
He’s hardly the only one. After Joe Biden won the presidential election, large crowds gathered to celebrate in cities around the country, including Chicago. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, with her mask looped around one ear, addressed the crowd through a bullhorn.
“We should absolutely celebrate this victory,” she said. “We should savor every minute of it.”
Just days later, Ms. Lightfoot issued a stay-at-home advisory for her city. She told Chicagoans to cancel Thanksgiving get-togethers and “stay home unless for essential reasons.”
Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser has enacted some of the strictest travel rules in the country. If residents travel to a high-risk state for a “nonessential” reason, they are required to quarantine until receiving a negative test. The weekend after the election, Ms. Bowser went to Delaware to listen to a speech by Mr. Biden. Delaware was on the high-risk list, but she didn’t quarantine after returning. Instead, she deemed her trip “essential travel.”
This trend started this spring and summer when several politicians criticized those who took to the street to protest lockdowns but applauded — and even joined — protests involving police shootings. Either the rules matter or they don’t. Too many elected officials have destroyed their moral authority on coronavirus restrictions, to say nothing of their personal credibility, by looking the other way on gatherings they approve of.