Image credit: Brian Kemp campaign ad

Yesterday, I highlighted Tennessee’s Governor Bill Lee as an example of bad leadership in a time of crisis. Then I saw Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp, and… man. Talk about sheer incompetence.

The Washington Post has more.

Kemp said he was “finding out that this virus is now transmitting before people see signs.”

“Those individuals could have been infecting people before they ever felt bad, but we didn’t know that until the last 24 hours,” he said. He added that the state’s top doctor told him “this is a game-changer.”

It may have been a game-changer, but it was a game-changer weeks or even months ago. That’s when health officials started emphasizing that asymptomatic people are transmitting the coronavirus. The idea that Kemp didn’t know this is striking. But he’s merely the latest top politician to indicate he’s unfamiliar with the science even as he’s making life-or-death decisions for his constituents.

Is this man a mental deficient? Does he have a cognitive deficit? Does he just smoke so much pot that he’s more interested in scarfing down Moon Pies than paying attention to his job?

The plain fact is that EVERYBODY HAS KNOWN FOR MONTHS that coronavirus can be spread by people without symptoms. Did Kemp simply miss the outrage over entitled college students on spring break?? Did he not see the news about Italy, from February?

Then you have Florida Man turned governor, Ron “Dumbest Shit” DeSantis, who famously refused to close Florida beaches and was most recently seen consigning people with COVID-19 to DIE on a stranded cruise ship.

And then you have Mississippi’s Tate Reeves, who didn’t take COVID-19 seriously. Or Kay Ivy of Alabama, who announced “Y’all, we’re not California. We’re not New York. We aren’t even Louisiana,” days before coronavirus cases in her state surged to more than 1,100 patients. Also worth mentioning: according to Kaiser Health News, the vast majority of Mississippi and Alabama hospitals don’t have ICU beds.

Arizona’s Doug Ducey also caught some heat just two days ago for his weak response.

Now, it’s not entirely a wash. Mike DeWine seems to understand what he’s facing. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker also seems to have his head together, not thanks to Trump, who had told Massachusetts to get its own supplies, then outbid the state. I’ve read that Governor Hutchinson of Arkansas has done a pretty good job—here he is on March 16 addressing the state—but who knows. Republicans love to give themselves credit they don’t deserve, as Bill Lee tried and failed to do on Twitter a few days ago.

But the fact is, when it comes to COVID-19, the Republican brand is quickly becoming “incompetence.” As Esquire’s Jack Holmes explains about the “feckless morons” running southern states.

TThis is what you get when “competent administration” is not among your criteria for choosing a state executive. All you need to make it in Republican politics these days is to lash yourself to Trump and start yelling about immigrant crime.

As a result, many people—many Trump voters—will die, because they elected officials whose only qualifications were yelling loudly and saying Donald Trump is a very stable genius.

Maybe the voters have learned a lesson this time around. It’s hard to tell a pile of dead bodies they’re not being sufficiently enthusiastic about making America great again.

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