Commentary

Leftist Politicians’ Hypocrisy Demonstrates Shallowness of ‘Party of Science’

By Jarrett Stepman | December 3, 2020 | 1:09pm EST
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has come under scrutiny for potentially having violated his own COVID-19 rules.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has come under scrutiny for potentially having violated his own COVID-19 rules.

States around the country are heading into the second wave of pandemic lockdowns, but many Americans may not be so keen on complying this time around.

Progressives and Democrats are apparently the most eager to shut everything down to stop the spread of the coronavirus, even though this policy stance ignores what science is telling us—namely, that full lockdowns are not as effective as a targeted approach.

However, the personal behavior of political leaders in the “party of science” suggests that they either they don’t take their own proposals seriously or that lockdowns are for the “masses” and not very important people like themselves.

No wonder so many Americans are in a populist mood.

In the opening days of the COVID-19 outbreak, extreme measures may have been justified to bend the curve of cases and preserve the American health care system. 

Certainly, government at all levels can and should provide assistance in beating this pandemic—streamlining the process of approving rapid self-testing kits would be a huge boon in coming months—but it is now too often being wielded like a blunt instrument by overzealous politicians.

And far too many of those politicians have demonstrated that the draconian and often absurd rules they want to foist on Americans don’t really apply to themselves.

Leave it to the California governor to be the most ridiculous pandemic lockdown hypocrite.

Gov. Gavin Newsom, a California Democrat, was rather infamously caught dining with a group of friends, advisers, and—perhaps most importantly—a powerful lobbyist at The French Laundry, one of the country’s most expensive and exclusive high-end restaurants. Newsom’s dinner party came just hours after he urged families not to travel and gather for the holidays.

And remember, California’s rules for Thanksgiving were so strict as to be absurd. Californians were told that all gatherings must be outside, that restrooms could only be used if frequently sanitized, and that gatherings should be two hours or less, and that every guest must be seated 6 feet apart.

Oh, and no singing.

Do Newsom and his fellow French Laundry diners appear to be 6 feet apart or outside here?

“Party of science” hypocrisy appears to be at its worst in the Golden State, where a virtual one-party lock on government power means politicians pay little price for bad behavior.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was caught going to a hair salon when San Francisco had banned the practice.

Her excuse was that it was a setup to make her look bad. 

Mission accomplished, I guess.

“Cases are spiking, in part because we’re letting our guard (and masks) down with family & friends,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo tweeted just before Thanksgiving. “Let’s cancel the big gatherings this year and focus on keeping each other safe.”

Liccardo then proceeded to have a gathering of eight people, comprising several households. 

Of course, it’s not just California politicians who’ve been hypocrites during the pandemic.

There have been countless other examples around the country of politicians and public officials who have been zealous about shutting everything down for our own good, but finding ways to personally skirt the rules.

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser went to an Election Day party in Delaware despite the state being put on a high-risk travel advisory, a trip she called “necessary.”

The message from all these activities is clear: The political class has deemed swamp slithering more important than whatever silly little business, family matter, or religious gathering you think is essential.

It’s understandable that these politicians wish to go about their lives, but how can they justify this when Americans have been entirely barred from, say, going to funerals and activities they deem absolutely necessary?

Unfortunately, it’s not just politicians betraying public trust with blatant double standards.

Public health officials have made pronouncements that lockdowns are necessary, and people shouldn’t gather, then ignore those guidelines for political movements they sympathize with.

Much of the legacy media seems in on the game too, of course. The almost ridiculous difference in coverage between rallies for President Donald Trump and Joe Biden street parties was beyond laughable.

One was an example of a superspreader event, the other a wonderful expression of democracy. For those paying attention, is this kind of one-sided coverage really a surprise?

These individual cases of hypocrisy might be no more than a mockable trifle in normal circumstances. But when you put them all together, they are examples of a larger phenomenon taking place in the United States and the West in general. People are losing faith in once-trusted institutions and look upon them with hostile suspicion.  

This crisis of the elite has been simmering for quite a while; the pandemic merely brought it more clearly out into the open.

The result is that people are less likely to take politicians, the media, and “experts” seriously. 

Yes, the people are revolting, and they have a very good reason to be. Perhaps we should be using common sense and actual science to aid individuals and civil society in clamping down on the second COVID-19 wave instead of rushing back into a total lockdown.

Jarrett Stepman is a contributor to The Daily Signal and co-host of The Right Side of History podcast. Send an email to Jarrett. He is also the author of the new book, "The War on History: The Conspiracy to Rewrite America's Past."

Editor's Note: This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal.

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