/Gov Tate Reeves straddling fences, catching flak from all quarters

Gov Tate Reeves straddling fences, catching flak from all quarters

Reeves was not known for his indecisiveness and fence-straddling tendencies, nor was he prone to pandering. Reeves was well-known for his tendency to hack people off, even fellow Republican leaders. Reeves repeatedly attributed this to his ability to say “no” to his friends. But, in his first year of being governor, Reeves has shown indecisiveness, foot dragging, and put policy ahead of policy. Reeves has also increased his ire in drawing ire from…well, all quarters. One political social media poster said recently that he had managed to upset his base, his detractors and even people who don’t normally care. Take for example the issue of changing state flags, or removing Confederate symbols. Fearing the fallout from the right-wing GOP base, Reeves was reluctant to join his fellow Republican leaders in (successful!) efforts to change the flag. Reeves signed into law the Legislature’s flag-removal bill, even though he had previously said that the voters should make the decision. Reeves explained that this was necessary for economic prosperity and a better future for my children and yours. “No matter where you live, Mississippi, I love you.” READ MORE. After years of waffling, Gov. Tate Reeves signs a bill to change the state flag. Reeves was mocked by both sides over the flag. Reeves was criticized by those who supported the reinstatement of the flag on social media using the hashtags “TraitorTate” and “OneTermTate.” His response has been to vow that he won’t let the “cancelculture” go around removing Confederate symbols or statues from Mississippi. Reeves’ COVID-19 pandemic response, or lack thereof, has also caught fire from all quarters. He’s been criticised by both those who want stricter public health regulations as well as those who think government should be more hands-off. Reeves has tried to issue COVID-19 order on a county by county basis, despite the fact that pandemics do not recognize county borders. He has also issued statewide orders as the state’s infection waxes… and then rescinded some… and then reinstated others because cases grew. While he has decried the “heavy handed of government”, he defends criticisms that he should do more, sooner. However, he was able to issue enough pandemic orders to also anger the more libertarian side of his base. He’s also insulted state medical officials along the way. While ignoring the pleas of state health officials for a statewide mandate for masks, he has slowly issued executive orders to mask-wearing members of the state for weeks as Mississippi’s infections continue to break records. READ MORE: Governor Reeves rejects the statewide mandate for masks and downplays high COVID-19 numbers. He’s also a crowd pleaser and has hosted fundraisers and Christmas parties, even though he doesn’t wear a mask. He’s given executive orders to Mississippians to wear masks and limit their gatherings. Or, as some have said, “Rules For Thee, But Not for Me.” His teenage daughter may even be furious. He defended having Christmas parties at Governor’s Mansion in the midst of the pandemic surge, noting that he had cancelled some events, including his 16th birthday party. He continued to host receptions for campaign donors and political leaders, claiming they could be safely held. Through some surgical vetoes Reeves has upset both sides of the Legislature and drawn litigation from fellow Republicans. Although his veto was intended to prevent the loss of a teacher merit-pay program, Reeves still managed to tick many educators as he also vetoed vast amounts of school funding. Reeves released his budget proposal recently, despite promising to push for large teacher raises during his campaign for governor. READ MORE: Governor READ MORE: Gov. Foster, a little-known and underfunded candidate, pulled 18% of the vote mainly from the ultra-conservative wing. Foster, who has a large social media following, criticizes Reeves’ performance as governor. Foster stated, “He’s riding on the fence about everything.” Foster said that Foster is doing the typical career politician move of licking his fingers, sticking it in to the wind, and watching which way the politics are going. Foster isn’t brave enough to do what’s right. Foster has voiced his disapproval of COVID-19’s restrictions on businesses, mask-wearing and other mandates. He has also criticised Reeves policies and orders. Foster stated that the pandemic was a test of Foster’s leadership skills. It is a high-stress situation with widespread suffering, death and economic loss. Foster said that the main thing is that it has demonstrated his inability to adhere to principles — clearly he doesn’t have any. He is a politician by nature, and will follow the lead of the loudest crowd. Foster stated that he does not believe in masking, as he has been caught at many events without one. However, he doesn’t have the guts to resist (those who want mask mandates). Marty Wiseman, a long-time Mississippi State University political science professor, says some of the backlash Reeves gets “may just be due to his personality.” Wiseman noted that Reeves has a history of creating resentment even among those who are willing to help him. “There are even those people who will vote the way he wants them to vote. But he seems to never miss an opportunity for a confrontation with one side. It is also well-known that he has a grudge from then on. Wiseman stated that Reeves is one of those people who, regardless of whether you’re ‘fer’ him or agin, you have a tendency to adopt a ‘What’s the hell has she said now’ attitude towards him with some skepticism. Many state politicians are wondering if Reeves will be able to overcome the political backlash he has received in his first term. Millsaps College politics and government professor Nathan Shrader stated that he believes Reeves has not suffered any significant political damage and that his pandering towards President Trump’s supporters protects him. Shrader stated that he believes he handled the crisis and the pandemic as poorly as any administrator, or leader, from a public administrator’s perspective. “… File (Mississippi). 756,000 Republican voters voted for Donald Trump as president. The governor has displayed a almost cult-like devotion to him. He has pressed every button on Trump’s menu and Trump will likely still be the figurehead for the Republican Party in 2023… Tate Reeves would benefit from that.” Shrader stated that he was reminded years ago of the words of a friend about the flag, COVID-19 and other issues. Shrader stated, “He said, ‘Remember, issues do not matter.'” He was correct, I think. These issues are becoming less important. It’s all about branding and marketing… I don’t see any weakness on the part of the governor with Republicans. People on the right are angry, but (2023 is) far away and there are plenty of other issues where they are in concert — he’s going be the Republican nominee and he’s an fundraising machine and it’s difficult to beat an incumbent. Marvin King, Ole Miss professor of political science, stated that Reeves has experienced a political shift in Mississippi politics from his time as lieutenant governor. King stated that “the ground has changed.” “Things were probably simpler – what Republicans stood for, and what Democrats stood for. There were fewer internecine fights between Republicans. Coronavirus is something that no one has ever had to deal with before…. Coronavirus might be one those wedge issues. While older voters are more likely to vote Republican than others, they could also be most at risk from this disease. King stated that business owners need to keep their businesses open. However, many Republicans are also in health care and are saying, “Hey, mask up.” It’s dividing his party. That might be why he does things county by county. He won’t win. His constituency is heavily dependent on open businesses. But it’s not good business when only morticians are doing well. King stated that Reeves was in similar political peril with the flag issue. King stated that the national mood had changed, and Mississippi cannot ignore them so much. It’s clear that if the Legislature didn’t act, large businesses would have done things to help Mississippi recover from a disaster. “… King stated that if you were in Reeves’ position at that time in history, there would not be ideal political solutions. It was “How can I get this out the news cycle as fast as possible,” King said. It’s mine. It’s the summer. It’s the summer. King stated that Reeves will not stand for reelection until 2023, and that he has plenty of time to repair political divisions. King stated, “By then, knock on Wood, coronavirus would be over, people would have gotten used the new flag, and he will be able to point out some accomplishments, particularly if the economy returns.”