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Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has been in the news a fair amount recently. A Democrat with ample experience in both the state house and the state senate, she was elected to the gubernatorial chair by a comfortable margin in 2018 on the promise that she would “fix the damned roads.” To that end, she promptly proposed raising the gas tax by 45 cents a gallon, which earned her opprobrium throughout the state and caused the members of her own party in the Michigan legislature to distance themselves from her.
This misstep notwithstanding, Whitmer is viewed as a star by the Democratic party establishment. Perhaps because she was elected governor in a Midwestern state that Donald Trump won in 2016 and that the Democrats must take in November if they are to wrest the presidency from the man they love to hate, she was chosen in February to reply to his State of the Nation Address, and Joe Biden even made her co-chair of his campaign.
All of this has gone to Whitmer’s head. She now aspires to be her party’s vice-presidential nominee in November, and she is reportedly on Biden’s shortlist – which explains her desperate, clumsy, recent attempt to pick a quarrel with the President. The lady, whom Trump in his inimitable way calls Half-Wit Mer, is desperate to be in the limelight.
Biden would be ill-advised to choose Whitmer. She has in the last month repeatedly put on display a nasty, vindictive streak that people (both women and men) are apt to find off-putting. Like Elizabeth Warren – who failed, in the Massachusetts primary, to attract the votes of the women of the state she represents in the Senate – Whitmer reminds one of Hillary Clinton. She is Hillary . . . without the charm.
On 24 March, for example, she had the state director of the Bureau of Professional Licensing and the director of the Enforcement Division send every physician and pharmacist in the state the following missive:
The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has received multiple allegations of Michigan physicians inappropriately prescribing hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine to themselves, family, friends, and/or coworkers without a legitimate medical purpose.
Prescribing hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine without further proof of efficacy for treating COVID-19 or with the intent to stockpile the drug may create a shortage for patients with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or other ailments for which chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are proven treatments.
Reports of this conduct will be evaluated and may be further investigated for administrative action. Prescribing any kind of prescription must also be associated with medical documentation showing proof of the medical necessity and medical condition for which the patient is being treated. Again, these are drugs that have not been proven scientifically or medically to treat COVID-19.
Michigan pharmacists may see an increased volume of prescriptions for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine and should take special care to evaluate the prescriptions’ legitimacy. Pursuant to Michigan Administrative Code, R 338.490(2), a pharmacist shall not fill a prescription if the pharmacist believes the prescription will be used for other than legitimate medical purposes or if the prescription could cause harm to a patient.
It is also important to be mindful that licensed health professionals are required to report inappropriate prescribing practices.
The authorities may well have had a reason for alerting physicians and pharmacists of the danger that diverting the supply of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for the purpose of treating the Wuhan coronavirus might result in there being a shortage and in damage being done to those with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and the other ailments which the two are normally used to treat. But for Whitmer and her minions to deny, in the current emergency, that there is a “legitimate medical purpose” in treating those in danger of death with these two drugs is to usurp judgment in a sphere where judgment ought to be left to medical professionals. And the threatening tone of the last two paragraphs is genuinely offensive – especially in a crisis in which a number of leading figures in the medical profession suspect that the use of these two drugs may save lives. That same day, as an editorial writer in The Detroit Free Press pointed out, “Whitmer’s counterpart in New York started clinical trials of the very same drugs.” And, a few days thereafter, Whitmer found herself with egg on her face, when the research hospitals in the state asked her to request a supply of the same two drugs from the National Strategic Stockpile for use against the Wuhan coronavirus, and she was forced to comply.
That experience has not induced the lady to pause and rethink. More recently, as everyone knows, Whitmer issued an edict denying the citizens of Michigan the right to travel to the vacation homes and cabins they maintain up north and denying them the right to buy seeds and plants for their gardens, paint, furniture, carpet, flooring, and the like at a big-box store while allowing them to buy all of these things at small hardware stores – and while abortion mills and marijuana dispensaries are allowed to remain open. Instead of pondering what is comparatively safe and what is genuinely dangerous, Whitmer has tried to draw a distinction between what is “essential” and what is not, and she has attempted to outlaw everything that she thinks “non-essential.” It is, as one wag put it, “like taking a sledgehammer to an ant.”
In doing this, moreover, Whitmer makes no distinction between parts of the state where the coronavirus is raging and places where next to no one has contracted the infection. To this, one can add her punitive, hectoring tone – and her willingness to turn a great many of what we would normally think of as law-abiding citizens into convicted criminals.
There is next to no one in Michigan who fails to understand why the schools and universities have been shut down, why sports events have been called off, why restaurants are closed, and why churches have been urged to go online. There is an epidemic loose in the land. It is a serious threat to many in our population, and it is highly contagious. Public gatherings are unwise. But the purchase of seeds, plants, paint, furniture, carpets, flooring, and travel to summer homes? We are, most of us, more or less confined to our households. It is the time of year when we ordinarily undertake certain tasks, and in the circumstances, there is much to be said for retreating for a week or so to one of the wilder parts of Michigan. All of this is a diversion from the boredom associated with our banishment from work . . . and this harridan, with her Puritan instincts, wants to bar us from that. Somewhere, she fears, someone is having a good time. It is no wonder that thousands converged on Lansing yesterday to protest the petty tyranny imposed by Whitmer.
Gretchen Whitmer is not someone that any sane person would want a heart-beat away from the presidency – especially at a time when the man at the head of the ticket is already close to being non compos mentis. If Whitmer (or, for that matter Elizabeth Warren) were an actress and I a director, I would cast her as a prison warden. That is the only executive position for which a mean-spirited woman like Whitmer is suited.Published in