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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWines

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Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is among the Republican governors who has been applauded by medical experts for his response to the coronavirus pandemic and implementing social distancing measures in his state. But some Republicans in Ohio's state legislature believe that DeWine committed an unforgivable sin by trying to slow down the spread of COVID-19 in his state and are calling for his impeachment.

Leading the anti-DeWine effort in the Ohio House of Representatives is Rep. John Becker, who has drawn up ten articles of impeachment against DeWine and created a website called "Impeach Mike DeWine" — which offers updates on efforts to impeach the conservative Republican governor. The articles, announced on August 24, slam DeWine for, among other things, issuing a stay-at-home order earlier this year and encouraging Ohio residents to wear protective face masks.

In one of his articles of impeachment, Becker even makes the claim that face masks promote the spread of COVID-19; that article states, "WHEREAS, Healthcare professionals have stated that, for the general population, wearing face coverings, people are more likely to infect themselves with COVID-19 because they will touch their face more often to adjust the covering, and that face coverings retain moisture, bacteria, and other viruses, in addition to re-breathing carbon dioxide, making them potentially dangerous for the general public to wear."

That article also reads, "WHEREAS, Richard Michael DeWine's face covering mandate promotes fear, turns neighbors against neighbors, and contracts the economy by making people fearful to leave their homes, to the detriment of every Ohioan."

The Republican co-sponsors for Becker's ten articles of impeachment, according to the Impeach Mike DeWine website, include Rep. Candice Keller, Rep. Paul Zeltwanger and Rep. A. Nino Vitale. The website lists all of the Ohio representatives who have co-sponsored the articles, and as of August 25, the vast majority of Ohio House of Representatives members had not signed on as co-sponsors.

Ohio House Speaker Bob Cupp, a Republican, has come out against impeaching DeWine. Cupp, in an official statement, declared, "Having now had time to read and consider the draft resolution to impeach the governor announced by a couple of members, it is clear to me that it is an imprudent attempt to escalate important policy disagreements with the governor into a state constitutional crisis. Even serious policy disagreements do not rise to the level of impeachment under our constitution."

Ohio-based journalist John Conway, in an article for the conservative website The Bulwark, is vehemently critical of Becker and the Ohio House Republicans who have embraced his Impeach Mike DeWine effort — which, Conway stresses, is "likely to go nowhere." But Conway also notes that Becker's campaign "raises a sadly common question: how did Ohio get here, and what does this mean for the future of the Republican Party?"

"Any rational person operating outside of pure nihilistic self-interest can see that Gov. DeWine's actions do not warrant impeachment, but rather, praise," Conway writes. "But to be fair, these state Republicans learned it from higher-ups in their party. Many GOP elites, including Governors Ron DeSantis of Florida and Brian Kemp of Georgia, have continued to downplay the seriousness of COVID-19 to appeal to their constituencies. And beyond just the current pandemic, the last four years have shown that the GOP establishment — with rare exceptions like Mitt Romney — will let Donald Trump get away with anything and everything out of fear of electoral consequence."

Conway laments that even if former Vice President Joe Biden, the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, does defeat Trump in November, the GOP will still be plagued with anti-science extremists like Becker.

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Fort Worth Police at the scene of a violent crime.

Photo by Brandon Harer (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

If you're worried by the rise in violent crime — a real and troubling phenomenon — don't ask Republicans for solutions. All they can offer is a blame game that relies on dubious cherry-picked data. To get their message, just glance at Breitbart.com, the home of hard-right hackery: "Violent Crime Surges 25 Percent in 2021 With Democrats in Washington." You can find dozens of similar headlines across right-wing platforms, which invariably announce "skyrocketing crime rates in Dem-run cities." (Stay tuned for grainy video of a disturbing attack.)

Then there's former President Donald Trump himself, the loudest presidential loser in history, blathering fantastical statistics that are meant to show how dangerous life is in America now that he's gone.

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