Montana latest to lift mask mandate. Ohio? Plus: Cruz attacked for trip. Prayers for Bob Dole

By Gary Abernathy

Montana latest to lift statewide mask mandate

Montana is the latest state to lift its statewide mask mandate.

“Montana’s statewide mask mandate that had been in place since July was lifted by Gov. Greg Gianforte,” the Insurance Journal reports. “But some cities and counties are keeping local mask requirements because they think the governor’s move was premature. Gianforte, a Republican, promised the day after assuming office in January that he would lift the state’s mask mandate once there were liability protections in place for businesses and health care providers, and once vulnerable Montana residents began receiving vaccines against COVID-19.”

While some, like Dr. Anthony Fauci, the virus specialist many in the media view as beyond questions or criticisms, are actually recommending wearing two masks – yes, two masks – some states are interested in returning to normal to ward off the myriad other physical and mental health problems, not to mention economic hardships, brought about by our year-long mishandling of coronavirus.  

North Dakota allowed its statewide mask mandate to expire back in January. Some local municipalities could continue to enforce mask wearing. The Grand Forks Herald reported, “The more than 80% drop in active COVID-19 cases since mid-November heavily influenced the decision not to extend the mandate, (Republican Gov. Doug) Burgum said. He noted that there is also some ‘fatigue’ with mask-wearing among residents, and abandoning the requirement provides ‘a chance for us to take a breather.’” Thank you governors Gianforte and Burgum for setting an example that hopefully others are preparing to follow.

Of course, there were those who commendably never ordered statewide mask mandates in the first place. According to AARP, here is a current list of states without statewide mask mandates (although some areas within each state might have mandates): Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee. Did you see Ohio on that list? Sadly not.

Cruz ripped for Cancun trip in our zero-reality world

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is drawing flak for taking a vacation trip to Mexico during his state’s power outage crisis.

Last time I checked, it’s the job of a governor to handle state issues like power outages. Not sure exactly what a U.S. senator is supposed to be doing about it. Whatever he can do, he would be doing with phone calls, which I’m sure he can do from just about anywhere, including Mexico.

Granted, the optics of Cruz being on a plane to Cancun while parts of Texas struggle with power outages aren’t the greatest. In reality, Cruz canceling his trip to either stay in Texas or Washington would have the following impact on Texas’ power outage: 0. But that fact doesn’t matter in our zero-reality “gotcha” world.

Thoughts and prayers for Bob Dole

Best wishes to Bob Dole, who has announced a lung cancer diagnosis. He and his wife, Elizabeth, are both class acts. I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with them when I worked for the Ohio Republican Party about 20 years ago. As one would expect from seeing them on TV over the years, Elizabeth did most of the talking while Bob was quieter, but they both were extremely gracious, friendly and down to earth. Our prayers will be with them.

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