Ohio GOP Gov. Mike DeWine has been the perfect encapsulation of everything wrong with the Republican Party for a while now. His handling of COVID has been marked by an inconsistent, overly cowardly approach whereby he was behind the curve on everything from lockdowns to mask mandates.
Unlike Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, who has fought oppressive mandates at every level, DeWine didn't take an objective look at what was working and what wasn't. Rather, he sought to protect himself, putting in place oppressive mandates and restrictions that appear to have amounted to nothing at all. In fact, Ohio and Florida ended up with nearly identical COVID death rates despite their wildly different policy decisions in regards to the pandemic.
DeWine has been so bad that he didn't even lift his state's mask mandate until June 2nd, months and months after it became clear masks weren't anywhere close to a silver bullet. Worse, he actually encouraged schools to keep masking children up -something that lacks any scientific justification, at this point, with teachers largely being vaccinated.
But it's not just COVID where DeWine has curled up into the fetal position, looking for CNN approval more than doing what's right. On the transgender sports issue, he's already promised to veto any legislation sent to him by Ohio's GOP legislature that deals with the issue.
I’m old enough to remember when Ohio’s current Governor felt the government needed to weigh in on who could come to your home for Thanksgiving, but now he can’t protect women and girls? pic.twitter.com/ytU0QV5MRm
— Warren Davidson (@WarrenDavidson) June 28, 2021
The Cincinnati Enquirer reported on his specific statement.
“This issue is best addressed outside of government, through individual sports leagues and athletic associations, including the Ohio High School Athletic Association, who can tailor policies to meet the needs of their member athletes and member institutions,” DeWine said in a statement Friday morning.
That statement also applies to standalone bills pending in the Ohio House and Senate that would ban transgender girls and women from female sports, a spokesman confirmed.
You see, the government should be able to tell you what to wear on your face, when you can leave your home, and what to put in your body, but by golly, they just can't protect girls from having to compete against boys in grade school sports. You know, because of conservatism and all that jazz.
On the merits, DeWine's position makes no sense. The battle over transgender athletes destroying women's sports is being fought at the governmental and judicial level whether this spine-deficient Republican likes it or not. Conservatives can not win that battle by simply disengaging and hiding behind nebulous principles. Besides, there is nothing unconservative about the state dictating to taxpayer-funded schools that boys need to compete against boys and girls need to compete against girls.
This kind of impotence is hardly new in Ohio, though. The state's leaders seem to still think it's a purple state despite the fact that Trump won it handily in 2016 and 2020, as Republicans built on state-wide gains. For his part, DeWine is a dated caricature of everything that is wrong with the GOP.
— Michael Watson (@MichaelWatsonDC) June 27, 2021
With the federal government completely out of control, especially in regards to culture war issues, Republicans (and Independents for that matter) are looking for state-level leadership that takes no prisoners. DeSantis has shown what that looks like and has been rewarded with high approval ratings and a growing national star. DeWine has taken the opposite approach, praising Dr. Fauci and refusing to engage on basic issues that conservatives care about. Ohio voters should think hard about whether this is the kind of leadership they want going forward.