Frankly, it’s confusing to me as to why some of my colleagues are mandating why you can’t wear masks, or mandating that businesses can’t make their own decisions about vaccines, or mandating that school systems can’t make decisions for themselves. And then they’re talking about freedom? It just doesn’t make sense to me. — Larry Hogan, Republican governor of Maryland
Frankly, it’s confusing to me as to why some of my colleagues are mandating why you can’t wear masks, or mandating that businesses can’t make their own decisions about vaccines, or mandating that school systems can’t make decisions for themselves. And then they’re talking about freedom? It just doesn’t make sense to me. — Larry Hogan, Republican governor of Maryland

Liberty has never meant the freedom to threaten the health of others. That is a perversion of the definition of liberty and freedom. — Whit Ayres, a veteran G.O.P. pollster
Liberty has never meant the freedom to threaten the health of others. That is a perversion of the definition of liberty and freedom. — Whit Ayres, a veteran G.O.P. pollster
G.O.P. Governors Fight Mandates as the Party’s Covid Politics Harden
As several Republican-controlled states confront their worst outbreaks yet, their leaders — following the base — have doubled down on resisting vaccine and mask requirements.

As a new coronavirus wave accelerated by the Delta variant spreads across the United States, many Republican governors have taken sweeping action to combat what they see as an even more urgent danger posed by the pandemic: the threat to personal freedom.

... The actions of Republican governors, some of the leading stewards of the country’s response to the virus, reveal how the politics of the party’s base have hardened when it comes to curbing Covid. As some Republican-led states, including Florida, confront their most serious outbreaks yet, even rising death totals are being treated as less politically damaging than imposing coronavirus mandates of almost any stripe.

... Most top Republicans, including every Republican governor, have been vaccinated and have encouraged others to do so. But most have also stopped short of supporting inoculation requirements and have opposed masking requirements.

In many ways, Republican leaders are simply following Republican voters.

Skepticism about masks, vaccines and the rules governing them is increasingly intertwined with the cultural issues that dominate the modern Republican Party. The fear over losing “medical freedom” has become part of the broader worry that “cancel culture” is coming for conservatives’ way of life.

And while opposing pandemic edicts is a limited-government stance, the forceful approach of governors is at odds with the long-held principle of local control, making it the latest Republican Party orthodoxy to be cast aside since the beginning of the Trump era, along with free trade and limited spending.

... One outlier among Republican governors is Larry Hogan, a moderate who leads Democratic-dominated Maryland. He recently required that hospital and nursing home employees be vaccinated.

“Frankly, it’s confusing to me as to why some of my colleagues are mandating why you can’t wear masks, or mandating that businesses can’t make their own decisions about vaccines, or mandating that school systems can’t make decisions for themselves,” Mr. Hogan said in an interview. “And then they’re talking about freedom? It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

The pandemic, public health officials say, is now largely one of the unvaccinated, and the virus is raging particularly in conservative states with far lower inoculation rates and more relaxed attitudes toward group gatherings. Of the 10 states with the most cases per capita in recent days, nine voted Republican in last year’s presidential race and nine are led by Republican governors, according to The New York Times coronavirus database.

... Mr. Ayres, the Republican pollster, said that governors trying to control the virus policies of schools, employers and local officials were breaking with years of tradition on free enterprise and local control.

“Liberty has never meant the freedom to threaten the health” of others, Mr. Ayres said. “That is a perversion of the definition of liberty and freedom.”
Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/31/us/politics/republican-governors-covid-19.html