JIM SHARPE

‘Decisive Doug’ is waaay better than ‘Downer Ducey’

May 5, 2020, 12:15 PM

There were substantive and subtle differences between Gov. Doug Ducey’s coronavirus update that happened Monday and the one from last week.

The subtle changes were in his presentation.

The changes that had substance were updates on what can open – and how and when.

He told us that barber shops and hair salons can open this Friday and that restaurants will be able to offer food and drink in their dining rooms starting Monday. That’s earlier than he previously said.

Those restaurants will be more than subtly different, though: fewer tables (cuz social distancing), disposable menus, lots of masks and gloves.

But, still, they can actually open! (And I can stop trying to figure out where in the fridge to put our takeout leftovers.)

So what drove the change in the governor’s timetable? 

He says we’ve learned a lot: “We are a lot smarter today than we were in January, February, March and April.”

Ahhhh! My favorite! Empirical evidence. If predictions are “X” and what we know has already happened is “Y,” then the equation that determines future action needs to be X x Y (to the ninth power).

But Gov. Ducey is still cautious because he doesn’t want a second wave of COVID-19 to hit our state.

I think we can all agree with that. And saying it that way is a much more subtle and sanguine approach than last week’s less-than-subtle “heap o’ trouble” lecture delivered to businesses who defy his orders. Remember last week’s tale of woe where he mentioned $2,500 fines and months of jail time?

That punishing tone came from the “you’re not being cautious enough” crowd buzzing in his ear. Thank goodness, business leaders spoke up afterward – which led to yesterday’s more helpful – and hopeful – tone.

There was one other subtle change I saw. 

Last week, there seemed to be a lot of tension between Gov. Ducey and reporters. But I like the way he handled the press yesterday. 

Yes, you should never roll your eyes at desperate business owners and the unemployed. Nor should you ever roll his eyes at those who fear coming out of lockdown too soon. But Mr. Governor, it’s always OK to roll your eyes at reporters who are more interested in “gotcha” questions and creating controversy than getting at the truth. 

And I not only saw your subtle smirk, sir, I rather enjoyed it.

Jim Sharpe

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‘Decisive Doug’ is waaay better than ‘Downer Ducey’