4 Candidates

I often ponder which state has the craziest Republicans. To truly determine that I’d have to analyze words and actions right down to the state legislative level and I simply lack sufficient resources to do a credible job of that. Today I want to submit four nominees after reading Catherine Rampell’s op-ed entitled, Red states are now paying people not to get vaccinated, in the Washington Post.

Before I start, I will stipulate that the Republican party does not have an exclusive when it comes to office holders who appear to be crazy. However, they are well in the lead and their crazies are for the most part dangerous. Right wingers would normally offer AOC and Bernie Sanders as examples of Democratic crazies. (Sanders is not a Democrat but, we can’t expect too much out of the right wing.) This duo can be more legitimately be accused of haste and/or overreach; crazy or harmful they are not.

My own home state of North Carolina features some of the most insane Republicans in the country and currently all that holds the North Carolina General Assembly in check are Democratic minorities in both chambers and Democratic Governor Roy Cooper’s veto.

As I pen this the dominant conversation is the newly discovered Omicron variant of COVID-19. As of this writing no confirmed cases of the variant have been reported in the United States but only a fool would expect that to last. Omicron is the fifth variant to gain significant press, (therefore at least the sixth iteration of the virus – and it is more than six), and the most effective way to control its predecessors has been vaccination. (Masking and social distancing are also effective but to a lesser degree.)

Now get COVID out of your head for a moment and simply think in terms of vaccination. A vaccine is not designed to totally prevent a disease; it is designed to make it much less likely that you will contract it and if you do it will be much less severe. The simple science is that with less disease the virus has less chance to mutate and a mutation that is resistant to vaccine is the biggest danger. Therefore, common sense dictates that as close to 100% vaccination as possible is in the public interest.

Many businesses have fired workers who refused to get vaccinated for other than legitimate medical reasons (that is well under 2% of the population). A small number of workers have quit their jobs rather than get vaccinated. Normally if you voluntarily leave your job without cause or are fired for not complying with policy you are ineligible for unemployment benefits. Enter today’s four contenders for having the craziest Republicans: Florida, Iowa, Kansas and Tennessee. All four Republican dominated states are allowing workers who refuse to get vaccinated and leave or lose their job in the process to receive unemployment benefits. Effectively they are paying people to take the irresponsible action of refusing free and possibly life saving vaccination.

The taxpayers of those four states (in many cases supplemented by federal taxpayers) are actually paying people to be public health hazards because of the actions of Republican legislatures and governors. That, among other things, is crazy!

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