If you remember the classic movie The Usual Suspects, you know who Keyser Soze is. He’s the mythical villain — a southeastern European criminal mastermind whose ironclad schemes and ruthless violence make him a bogeyman for crooks from Reykjavik to Tuvalu.
What Soze is especially known for is recrimination. Cross him and he will stitch you up in ways that will make you regret your birth.
California’s Democrat governor, Gavin Newsom, is not Keyser Soze. But he wants to be. He proved that Monday when he reinstituted the Golden State’s mask mandate without any reason or logic to defend such a move:
California is bringing back a statewide indoor mask mandate.
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration announced the new mandate will start Wednesday and last until Jan. 15. The order comes as the per capita rate of new coronavirus cases in California has jumped 47% in the past two weeks.
“We know people are tired and hungry for normalcy. Frankly, I am too,” California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said Monday. “That said, this is a critical time where we have a tool that we know has worked and can work.”
California also is tightening existing testing requirements by ordering unvaccinated people attending indoor events of 1,000 people or more to have a negative test within one or two days, depending on the type of test.
The state also is recommending travelers who visit or return to California to get tested within five days of their arrival.
Case counts are up, but at this point, we’re mostly past the idea that case counts are a source of panic.
Particularly given the rapid advance of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, which is probably best described as a natural vaccine. Omicron is a cold which lasts for a couple of days, and at that point you’ve got natural immunity which common sense and scientific studies indicate is better than a vaccine.
A saner country than this would be opening up the entire country and encouraging people to make out with strangers in public in hopes that we all get Omicron so we’re finally done with COVID-19.
It’s a shame we’re not that country. And in California, where making out with strangers in public used to be more or less a thing depending where in the state you were, Newsom wants to ensure you can’t even see the faces of the people you’d otherwise consider snogging with.
But it’s important to understand something. This isn’t public health. It’s revenge. It’s recrimination. And it’s a political tutorial the new breed of activists and candidates on the Right who are coming to the forefront should take note of and understand.
Gavin Newsom faced a recall this summer, remember. Why did it happen? Simple — so many Californians were fed up with his mismanagement of state government and specifically with his Branch Covidian restrictions, lockdowns, and mandates, the most radical in the country, that they signed on to that petition.
Newsom won the recall fight pretty comfortably, but that wasn’t the point. The fact he’s been recalled is a big, fat black mark on his record, and it makes him less marketable as a presidential candidate for 2024 or beyond. And anybody who’s governor of California believes he’s destined to be president.
Unless you get dragged down the road to becoming Gray Davis, that is, which is what that recall did to Newsom.
He now knows he’s hit his terminal political velocity, unless he maybe can grab a Senate seat in a future election. But the Senate isn’t what Newsom, a megalomaniac who desperately wants to control the lives of others, wants.
So at the first opportunity, his answer to his recallist detractors is . . . more cowbell. You didn’t like his restrictions before? What do you think of the new hotness, then? Welcome to 2022, which is just like 2020 and 2021.
Newsom will still be maskless at the French Laundry with his fatcat friends, his loyal voters will still be showing off their subservience with mouth diapers in place . . . and his detractors will be seething at the mindless inconvenience he’s just laid on their heads.
This is revenge. It’s outrageous, but it’s also something to take note of — and make use of.
We speak in this space quite often of revivalism, which is defined loosely as conservatism on offense. It’s more than that, of course, but fundamentally one of its tenets is that it’s time for revivalists in political office to serve their voters in the same way that Democrats do. (READ MORE: From Conservatism to Revivalism)
Though that looks a little different in revivalist hands. Most right-leaning voters aren’t bought and paid for by taxpayer dollars. They’re in it for different reasons. But they can still be rewarded.
And the flip side of this, which is most apropos to this Newsom/mask mandate business, is the punishment of enemies.
We’re past the era of political consensus in this country. We’ve been past it since Barack Obama ran on being, as Shelby Steele called him, the “magic negro,” and then declared that “elections have consequences.”
The Mitch McConnells and David Frenches don’t get this, of course, but most everybody else does.
So the lesson is that it’s time to govern according to the principle that elections — including failed recall elections — have consequences.
The economic development pros in states like Texas, Arizona, and Florida are already raiding California for corporate headquarters and industrial sites. That should intensify, though the more woke the company, the less anybody ought to be interested in taking them out of Newsom’s clutches.
But when the Republicans take the House majority a year from now, it ought to be understood beyond a shadow of a doubt that California will be savaged in the federal budget. Infrastructure? Forget it. Economic development block grants? Drop dead. There should be base closure hearings as military installations not immediately necessary for the defense of the West Coast are pulled out of California. And so on.
Because that’s what Gavin Newsom would do to us. It’s what he’s doing. Punishing your enemies is basic politics. Democrats understand this. The Republican establishment, which died long before Donald Trump came on the scene and reeks of decomposition with every whine and weak accommodation of the other side it offers, never did.
Your enemies must fear you. If they don’t, you can’t negotiate with them successfully. Newsom has signaled the negotiations are over, just as Soze’s exploits in The Usual Suspects did. Treat this as an object lesson and prepare for the time to act on it.