Feehery: The COVID election | The Hill

The first thing that Italy’s new prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, did when she took power there was get rid of the nation’s extremely unpopular vaccine mandate.  

In a week, COVID-19  effectively will be on the ballot in the United States. 

Democrats haven’t figured out yet that when President Biden said that COVID-19 was over last month on “60 Minutes,” he finally said something that made sense to the vast majority of the American people. Sure, inflation, gas prices, crime, the economy, education and even abortion are big issues that are bringing voters to the polls. But abortion is about the only issue that can’t be tied directly to America’s response to the unprecedented coronavirus response. Everything else flows directly from COVID-19.  

Former President Trump and Vice President Pence did not handle COVID-19 well and deserve some blame. Putting all of their eggs in a vaccine basket was stupid. Closing schools was monstrous. Rushing the vaccine was dangerous. Two weeks to slow the curve was idiotic. Not permanently expanding our hospital capacity was short-sighted.  

Republican leaders were slow to the uptake, confused by the erratic leadership of Donald Trump, overwhelmed by the concerted fear and confusion raised by Big Tech, Big Media and Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and slowed down by a misunderstanding of the data. But once  officials like Govs. Brian Kemp  (R-Ga.) , Ron DeSantis  (R-Fla.), Kim Reynolds  (R-Iowa) and Kristi Noem  (R-S.D.) figured out what this was all about, Republicans started to fight back.  

The unprecedented government shutdown of our entire economy has done immeasurable damage — to our economy, to our form of government and to the reputation of our health care industry (especially Big Pharma).  

Most Democrats don’t want to talk about their response to COVID. For them, on a political level, the abortion ruling was heaven-sent. But some Democrats can’t help themselves.  

They still believe that closing schools was a rational response. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer  (D) has even invited the face of school shutdowns, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, to campaign with her in Michigan; some other Democrats still believe that school children should wear masks in  classrooms. The Biden administration is still fighting to keep the vaccine requirement in place for the military, even though it has hurt recruitment and morale during the escalating conflict in Ukraine. 

Many Americans were at one time so scared of COVID that they would do anything that the government told them to do. But after a while, as the government checks started running out, as the bills started piling up, as food and gas prices started skyrocketing, and as their children started losing their minds, the American people started to wise up. They started fact-checking the media. They started doing their own research. And then they started to get politically active, first with school boards, then with local elections and now at the state and federal level. 

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The elections in Virginia and New Jersey were the first signs that the American people weren’t going to take the nonsense coming from the mainstream media, the Democrats and Big Tech any more. Republicans won in the Old Dominion and came awfully close in the Garden State.  

Now, the rest of the country is getting its turn. COVID is  effectively on the ballot, and it is going to make the Democrats really sick from the results next Tuesday. 

Feehery is a partner at EFB Advocacy and blogs at thefeeherytheory.com. He served as spokesman to former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), as communications director to former House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and as a speechwriter to former House Minority Leader Bob Michel (R-Ill.).