Maybe, maybe not. But I am persuaded he is doing a number of things right. Josh Kraushaar makes an interesting case for the Colorado governor in his National Journal column. Perhaps to get the credit for getting things back to normal, you have to act like that really is your top priority.
“In Colorado, we’ve had one of the shortest stay-at-home periods of any state. We’ve been open and very proud of that,” Polis said in an interview with National Journal. “At the same time, unlike some Republican governors, we strongly encourage vaccinations, we put the facts out, made testing available, and never tried to minimize this deadly virus. You try to lead through educating people rather than using the orders.”
Polis’s pragmatic positioning on COVID, at a time when most Democratic governors and mayors have tried to outcompete each other on issuing the most onerous regulations and mandates, should be a lesson to the Biden administration about where the political sweet spot is on the pandemic. As the more-transmissible but less-severe Omicron variant begins to spread in Colorado, Polis is again urging a get-vaccinated, get-back-to-normal approach that contrasts significantly from most of his Democratic gubernatorial counterparts.
“Initially this was a biological struggle with the virus, but now it’s more of a psychological struggle, given the endurance of this thing. It’s about how people can continue to live their lives in a fulfilling way and keep themselves reasonably safe,” Polis said. “People need to get on with their lives. This has been two years of it. People are only on this planet for 70 to 80 years. This is a significant part of their lives. Kids missed out on social activities in school; seniors in senior centers missed going out to movies.”
Polis went on to lament the mental-health consequences that indefinite COVID disruptions cause: “People always say, ‘Oh, the economy,’ but it’s also about if you’re young and single, you want to date, you want to go out, right? If you live in a senior center and only have a few years left, you want to have poker night with your friends, you know? It’s not just about economics; it’s about people’s lives,” he said. “If you’ve had three doses of the vaccine, you shouldn’t live your life in fear of it. You may well get it at some point but it probably won’t knock you out more than a couple of days, like the seasonal flu.”