The Mayoral Retirement Non-Crisis

Over at Politico, there’s an article about how many mayors are deciding to leave office, in part, due to trials and travails of the COVID-19 crisis. This is presented as a bad thing.

That is wrong.

Some asshole with a blog wrote a few months ago:

…many state and local officials actively made the situation worse.

A couple of weeks ago, some asshole with a blog noted:

This has been the greatest domestic policy failure in my lifetime–and, sadly, I’m not young. In light of this failure, most states’ governors and other powerful state-level politicians, regardless of party, perhaps should not be reelected, even those that are solid on other issues.

I don’t have any answers to this conundrum, but rewarding, or even excusing failure of this magnitude, doesn’t seem like a good thing to do.

I will grant that, on the whole, more Republicans have been more destructive than Democrats, but when I look at states, I find very few that haven’t fucked up their COVID-19 response. Yes, Trump et alia put the entire country behind the damn eight ball. Still, many local responses have been poor and exacerbated the problem. Others have been extremely mediocre.

As was the case nationally, Republican officeholders were far more likely to be actively malevolent, but COVID-19 wasn’t just the greatest domestic acute crisis in my lifetime, it was the greatest failure to respond effectively to a domestic acute crisis in my lifetime. This includes a lot of gormless local-level Democrats who never tightened restrictions enough, and when they did, they were far later than they needed to be.

So there are a lot of officials who should be retiring. The problem is that not enough of them are choosing to do so–or being forced to do so.

Unfortunately, we are going to give too many people in authority a do-over, when they should be resigning and leaving public life, given the magnitude of their failures. I don’t believe in silver linings, when over 600,000 people died, many of them needlessly, but this is an opportunity we shouldn’t waste.

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