The former director of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) called on the governor of the Palmetto State to issue a statewide stay-at-home order on Tuesday – arguing the move would save lives, reduce the spread of the coronavirus and hasten a return to some semblance of normalcy for our citizens in its aftermath.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” tweeted Catherine Templeton, who ran against governor Henry McMaster in the 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary. “And since there is no known cure, the governor will be forced to issue a statewide shelter in place to save lives.”
Templeton’s tweet drew criticism from allies of the GOP governor – whose uneven handling of the fallout from the virus has been panned.
“This appears to be political posturing for clout shrouded in caring about the people of South Carolina,” one pro-McMaster twitter account fired back.
We might be inclined to agree with such an assessment under ordinary circumstances, but Templeton is far from a political hack weighing in for her own personal benefit. In fact, she qualifies as a subject matter expert given the three years she spent leading the Palmetto State’s top health care agency from 2012 to 2015.
Like McMaster, SCDHEC has been panned for its handling of the outbreak – which (as of this writing) has left eighteen South Carolinians dead.
To be clear: There is nothing we like about the prospect of a stay-at-home order for South Carolina – even one with extremely broad parameters geared toward protecting essential liberties and allowing for essential commerce (like the hypothetical order we discussed yesterday).
As one of our readers noted yesterday, such orders give government far too much power … and government rarely wields power in a meritocratic manner.
Especially in South Carolina …
Also, once government seizes power … it has been historically reticent to relinquish it.
Finally, this news outlet remains skeptical as to the efficacy and enforceability of such an order – particularly seeing as most non-essential work in the Palmetto State had already ground to a halt (and seeing as thousands of South Carolinians may have previously contracted the coronavirus long before state government began tracking it).
Still, with the vast majority of Palmetto State residents already essentially abiding by such an order, we do not object to the governor issuing one … again, with the broad disclaimers referenced above.
Hopefully this nightmare will be over soon …
Meanwhile, addressing the politics of Templeton’s move, one wealthy, well-connected donor to U.S. president Donald Trump told this news outlet that it provided additional cover to the incumbent governor – who is notoriously sensitive to political criticism.
“Governor McMaster (now) has political cover to make the right decision for South Carolina – even if he is leading from behind – without worrying about political criticism from a likely 2022 gubernatorial challenger,” the donor told us. “Catherine just took the politics out of it.”
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