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Gov. Jay Inslee
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Rantz: Gov. Inslee’s brazen move shows coronavirus mandates always political

Gov. Jay Inslee. (TVW)

Governor Jay Inslee finally loosened some of his inconsistent and non-sensical coronavirus restrictions. Before you celebrate, know this brazen announcement is transparently self-serving.

In a Tuesday afternoon press conference, one day before the only gubernatorial debate he’d agree to, Inslee announced he’d relax a handful of restrictions so businesses like restaurants and movie theaters could reopen at either greater capacity or under less onerous mandates.

“We’re doing this because we want to recognize the progress we’ve made, we want to celebrate it, and as an incentive for our increasing desire to do the things that work, which includes wearing masks,” Gov. Inslee said.

But his argument, like his presidential campaign, is unconvincing, uninspired, and unbearably lame.

Rantz: Gov. Inslee admin makes reopening schools needlessly confusing

Politics informed the decision

Inslee loves to tout his adherence to data and science, even when he makes moves that are not based in data and science.

When it comes to positive cases statewide, September (2,296) started a little better than October (2,547) but it’s mostly stagnant. Thankfully, we’re not seeing a statewide surge of cases. We’re also not seeing a huge decline either. So what changed? The debate.

“The way we need to think about this is not just so much as prohibitions about what you can’t do, but adaptations to show how we do something safely,” Inslee said, picking up the argument Culp and so many others have made when the data and science was about the same as it is today.

It’s not that this move is wrong. It’s that it’s late.

Meant to blunt Culp attacks

On Wednesday night, Republican challenger Loren Culp should rightly blame Inslee’s mandates for businesses being crushed. Some aren’t going to come back. Why? Inslee’s stubbornness.

But suddenly, 24 hours before a debate, Inslee takes a stance Republicans have held for the last three months.

Inslee will pretend to have been reasonable with his mandates, even though he can’t explain too many of them when pressed. What was the data and science argument behind banning privately funded construction sites, but allowing publicly funded ones? The coronavirus either doesn’t hit union workers or it was a political move.

Ironically, Inslee refused to debate Culp on stage, in a mostly empty studio, even when socially distanced. Meanwhile, Inslee’s new guidelines reaffirm it’s safe for him to join Culp at the same table for dinner at a restaurant.

Inslee oversold the threat of the coronavirus so he wouldn’t have to share a debate stage where he feared Culp would outshine him. Now, the debate is in separate offices, making it nearly impossible for either to shine. Inslee doesn’t even have confidence in his own debate skills, after a lifetime in office, against a first-time candidate for office. That’s just sad.

Inslee is nearly taking on Trump’s position

Inslee’s announcement also indicates he wants Washingtonians to not be dominated by the coronavirus. He doesn’t want us to live in fear, but to take reasonable precautions to live with the coronavirus while allowing life to go on. Inslee’s position is almost identical to what he attacked President Donald Trump for saying.

Trump argued that our ability to treat the coronavirus is vastly better than where it was. And we know the risk of death is remarkably low for everyone, including those in higher risk demographics. This news should be celebrated. Trump’s advice was to not live in total fear. That’s good advice. It’s reflected in Inslee’s new rules, which allow, for example, us to go to the movie theater.

Yet, Inslee attacks Trump with cheap shots and moral indignation. In fairness, I understand Inslee’s desire for criticism. The closest he’ll ever get to occupying the White House is when he hate-visits the replica Oval Office at Trump’s presidential library.

Inslee could have made these moves weeks ago. But that wouldn’t serve his re-election campaign. We all suffered, but he’ll see a political win in the end.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter and Instagram or like me on Facebook

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