Toledo Blade: DeWine accepts the buck


The Toledo Blade



Gov. Mike DeWine said something extraordinary during an interview with The Toledo Blade last Friday.

“The buck stops with the governor,” he said. “I should be judged by everything I do.”

While he was specifically commenting on the state’s response to the pandemic, those words carry meaning far beyond one event.

Those words far too often cannot be found among those who wield power on the state or federal level. More often passing the buck is the norm on everything from the pandemic to the events of Jan. 6 or the growing rate of inflation.

DeWine is correct, on the state level, the buck stops with him. It is his acknowledgment of that, in an age of obfuscation, which is extraordinary.

The pandemic is no ordinary time. What’s worse, it has spawned a politics of fear, anger, resentment and more than a bit of stupidity.

Science changes and our understanding of the coronavirus grows almost daily. It is not surprising that changes in scientific guidance have changed along with it. What remains disturbing is that our science education is apparently so poor that many Ohioans, and Americans, believe science is static — that changes in guidance indicate a failure or contradiction.

DeWine made decisions throughout the early parts of the pandemic with the best guidance he had available at the time. That he’s blamed or shamed for this by some members of his own party is ridiculous. His decisions literally saved lives. Not all the decisions were perfect, and his view of the pandemic and the proper response to it has evolved with the scientific knowledge. Shutdowns are no longer in the offing.

What the governor stressed is the need for vaccinations and his frustration over vaccine avoidance. That includes the National Guard’s low-vaccination rate. DeWine said the low rate of guard vaccinations was not acceptable. The guard membership though, represents the community, he acknowledged. In Ohio, only about 59% of those eligible are vaccinated.

The governor has deployed the guard to help hospitals overwhelmed by coronavirus patients. What he achieved early on, as soon as vaccines were available, was getting the most vulnerable of Ohioans vaccinated.

DeWine also acknowledges mistakes he made, largely by not getting enough facts and not talking to enough people during the pandemic. Again, the admission of error is rare among politicians.

All in all, Ohio continues to handle the pandemic well. Mistakes were made indeed. Lives were also saved and for that, the governor, and top Ohio health officials, deserve credit.

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The Toledo Blade

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