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Rantz: With ‘rebranded’ shutdown, Gov. Inslee reminds state he’s COVID clueless

In this Dec. 17, 2020 file photo, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee talks to reporters at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

With a “rebranded” COVID shutdown, Governor Jay Inslee reminded Washington he can’t navigate the economy through the pandemic. What was presented as a reopening plan was just a way of telling us we’re still closed. And we’re going to stay that way for a while.

Our hapless governor has relied on basic public health guidance coming from national experts. It’s worked. Washing hands and maintaining relative social distance has helped curb the spread of COVID. I’m grateful to the national leaders who offered the advice.

But when it comes to economic issues, Inslee has no clue what he’s doing. And his incompetence is causing too many people to suffer.

Rantz: Inslee says credit scores are racist but his admin uses them to hire

Inslee’s regional approach to reopening is just another shutdown

Suddenly, we’re back to reopening the economy with a regional approach based on what seems to be random metrics. But we’re still shut down. Actually, we’re just starting from scratch with a hokey name — Healthy Washington.

Perhaps Inslee thinks he’ll stifle criticism with inner monologues some of us may have: “beggars can’t be choosers, I suppose.” Yeah, well, I’m a talk show host. I monologue for a living.

He said we’re all now in Phase 1, which means… we’re still where we were last week: shutdown. I’m glad we can start to reopen, but the data very clearly supports an immediate reopening of in-person dining and fitness centers. It’s ironic that the governor shouting “science and data” the loudest, ignores it the most.

The Washington Hospitality Association ripped the plan as a “third, rebranded shutdown” and it’s right. He’s just keeping us shut down, but calling it a plan to reopen.

So now regional works?

What strikes me with Inslee’s phase-in plan is the sudden acknowledgment that not all parts of Washington are equal. We knew this long ago. He seems to be the only one who didn’t.

“Because we know that health care systems are regional and we know that the virus does not respect county boundaries,” Inslee said, adding that this makes sense from both a public health perspective and a “health care delivery” one as well.

Then why did Inslee close the entire state several weeks ago? Were the health care systems in Tumwater and Seattle the same as Tri Cities and Yakima in December?

Inslee is best suited skipping stones on Lake Sammamish

There’s no reason to change to this approach we’re pretending is new. It’s not really new. It’s virtually the same pig of a plan, just with a different brand of makeup. Not MAC, but the kind you pick up at the drug store.

And we’ll get the same results: unhappy residents, same general rollercoaster of COVID cases, and more struggling businesses.

When it comes to the heavy lifting, Inslee isn’t the right person for the job. If you need someone to read bumper sticker talking points off and dad jokes from a teleprompter, give Inslee the glasses he thinks makes him look smarter, and call it a night. He is reasonably good at that.

But when it comes to reopening the economy, Inslee is mostly useless. The state is better off parking him near Lake Sammamish next to a pile of stones. Challenge him to see how many times he can skip a stone in a single throw and he’ll be there all afternoon, not a care in the world. He’ll have the best time of his life and do no damage to the rest of us.

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, Instagram, and Parler and like me on Facebook

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