Vaccine Mandates, Public Health Theater and an Endgame that Makes No Sense

State Democrats are discovering that a big chunk of their base hates vaccine mandates. And that mandates familiarly pit the minority and working-class elements of their base against the white leftist hipster upper-class chunk of their base. Much like Latinx.

And they're having to choose.

Three months ago, as California Gov. GAVIN NEWSOM was turning around his fate in the state's recall election, many Democrats came to the conclusion that they'd struck political gold. Mandates to get the Covid-19 vaccine weren't just extremely valuable public health policy but they were electorally powerful too.

Now, moderate and frontline members of the party are singing a different tune.

I like the implicit acknowledgment that Newsom is an extremist. Or rather California Dems are.

 The most recent Democratic lawmaker to voice her concern was Michigan Gov. GRETCHEN WHITMER. Once considered to be Biden’s vice president, Whitmer said she opposes mandates, citing the impact on the state’s workforce — as Michigan grapples with upticks in cases and residents are split on whether or not to get the vaccine.

Gov. PHIL MURPHY (D-.N.J.), shortly before an unexpectedly close re-election win, shied away from embracing a strict vaccine mandate for teachers and other public workers. Gov. KATHY HOCHUL (D-N.Y.), who is running for election after taking over for disgraced former Gov. ANDREW CUOMO (D-N.Y.), has stated her opposition to a “broad-based mandate for all private-sector workers in New York.”

The Biden administration is still doubling down.

The White House, so far at least, seems unbowed by it all. Aides are convinced that the mandates are necessary to finally tamp down the pandemic, which they believe is Biden’s political end-all, be-all. And they point to an uptick in vaccination rates after businesses and other institutions implemented their own mandates as evidence that they work.

“We know it works. That’s why the administration and the president will continue pressing forward,” White House press secretary JEN PSAKI said of vaccine mandates at today’s briefing.

The beatings will continue until morale improves.

As I previously wrote, the Biden administration is a one-and-done deal. Not even fellow Dems want another term of Biden-Harris (either one of them). The administration is there to achieve various radical goals before it has to leave. Popularity is not an issue.

But the push for vaccine mandates is, like masking, also the product of public health theater.

During the pandemic, it was vitally important to have a "plan". The plan was assembled by public health professionals, some like Fauci who actually were in the medical field, but just as often by public health administrators. And when you talked to them in 2020, there was a clear plan.

And a clear endgame.

Get "shots into arms" and the pandemic would become a seasonal problem like the flu to be met with annual shots. Even though the vaccines are not performing up to spec, that's still the plan. The current incarnation still focuses on universal vaccination, including babies, as the endgame.

It's a common problem in government to create a plan and to continue pushing toward the endgame even when it no longer makes any sense.

That's what we did in Afghanistan, in the "war on poverty", and in pretty much every stupid government disaster. 

Bureaucracies are dumb and politicians are even dumber. Like computers, they can run a program, but don't expect them to "circle back" and rethink what the hell they're doing.

Given the opportunity, they will just double down on what they were doing until they run into enough opposition. 

The larger problem here is the familiar one of an expert class that oversees a broken system. We have a massive government and an even bigger professional sector, neither of which can get anything done. 

So much of the censorship, the "wars on disinformation", are about protecting the privileges of a failed administrative class from a public reckoning with its mistakes and its disasters.

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