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New York vs Florida: A Liberal Liar vs a Conservative Who Cares

The Different Approaches of Two Governors Have Made Huge Differences in the Safety and Stability of their States

July 20, 2020

I referred to Mayor Bill DeBlasio in a recent article as the Village Idiot of New York City. He lies constantly, makes huge mistakes that have cost thousands of lives, and blames everyone else for his stupidity. On that basis, Mario Cuomo deserves the appellation of Village Idiot of New York State. He has become the male equivalent of Hillary Clinton in the “blame everyone but me” department.
Cuomo personally has the blood of at least 10,000 New Yorkers on his hands, because he forced nursing homes with no China Virus patients to accept 6,500 known infected people. The results were swift. The Virus spread through the nursing homes like wildfire, killing most of the helpless senior citizens who had been kept safe by the nursing homes. He should be indicted – at the least – for negligent homicide, impeached by the NY legislature, and sued for his last penny by the families of the elderly he killed with his Executive Order.
He has run NY State like a dictator, ignoring the legislature and the people, and has made blunder after blunder. By doing hours-long press conferences every day, he blackmailed the federal government into: 

  1. Sending the thousand-bed Navy hospital ship Comfort to New York to take care of his ridiculous estimates of the numbers of hospital beds. Mobilizing this ship cost taxpayers millions. But it is designed to treat trauma patients and is not equipped to handle infectious diseases. Only a few dozen beds were ever used.
  2. Building not one, but seven massive military field hospitals in New York City. Four 250-bed hospitals were built in a convention center in NYC; three others in other parts of the state. Again, these cost hundreds of millions to erect, and millions more to tear down after almost none of their beds were used.
  3. Building tens of thousands of ventilators, even though NY had tens of thousands already in warehouses. They never used the ones they already had, and only a few of the ones Trump had built for them.
Cuomo insisted that his “projections” proved that NY would need 110,000 hospital beds; it only had half that number. As my wife often says, “Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.” New York, one of the richest states in the union, had far fewer beds based on population than the majority of the other far less prosperous states. But Cuomo told his people in a press conference, “Don’t worry; the government will pay for it."
What he meant was that Republican states, which didn’t ruin their economies like NY and other Democrat states did, would pay for it. Democrat governors have been deliberately overreaching and refusing to allow businesses to safely operate. Therefore, no revenues. But that’s no problem. Republican states like Florida have worked hard to maintain public safety while at the same time encouraging businesses to maintain their economies. The result: Red states are paying for the foolishness of Blue states.
Only 179 beds on the hospital ship were ever used, so Cuomo told Trump to remove it after just three weeks. Three of the field hospitals Cuomo insisted on were never used, even though we paid millions of dollars to staff them with military personnel. Only a few dozen of the NYC beds were ever used in one of the hospitals; the others remained empty. Yet Cuomo and DeBlasio harassed and abused a Christian Charity, Samaritan’s Purse, which set up a great field hospital in Central Park at no cost to any government.
Trump performed virtual miracles to get Cuomo everything he asked for. Cuomo never thanked the administration or the thousands of military personnel who fulfilled his ridiculous wish lists. The hospital ship normally takes weeks to mobilize, stock, and staff. Trump had it in the New York harbor in less than a week. He built four field hospitals with a total of 1,000 beds in 10 days. He pushed Ford to mass-produce ventilators that were never used. These were eventually sent to other states where they were actually needed.
When all this started, due to Cuomo’s negligence and slow response to the China Virus, NY State had 65% of the entire world’s cases of the Virus. He refused to allow citizens out of their homes, yet he released thousands of violent criminals, some already infected, into the city. These included murderers, rapists, and domestic abusers. He had people arrested for exercising outside (which helps build up the immune system and prevents disease) and sent police to break up small prayer meetings of ten or less – even though at that time meetings up to ten were allowed. But he allowed hundreds of thousands of demonstrators to roam the streets, attacking citizens and cops and destroying property. The few really bad ones that he allowed the cops to arrest were released within hours – with no bail.  
Although the State was already in financial difficulties due to mismanagement and high taxes forcing hundreds of wealthy people to flee, Cuomo bragged that he had the clout to make the government do his bidding. Claiming all the state’s financial woes were due to the China Virus, he insisted that the other states bail him out. At that point, New York had received more federal money than any other state – and wasted most of it.
In addition to running a once prosperous state into the ground with expensive regulations, personal income taxes over and above federal taxes are through the roof. If you move to New York City from Florida, for instance, prepare for a heart attack when you get your tax bill. In addition to federal taxes on your personal income, you will pay taxes to the state AND to the city. (Just your City tax can be as high as 8.82%!) Florida has no personal income taxes, which is one reason so many New Yorkers have fled to the Sunshine State. This, of course, leaves the remaining New Yorkers to pay even higher taxes to replace those lost from the fleeing tax refugees.
The main reason Cuomo has earned the title of Village Idiot is his talent for blaming everyone else for his mistakes. Hillary has come up with dozens of people and institutions to blame for her loss to President Trump in the last four years. She has blamed everyone from the Democrat Party to Evangelicals. But Cuomo has elevated the blame game to an art form. He is the Governor of New York, which has the worst record of protecting its citizens from the China Virus. But strangely, he is not at fault for anything.
Over 32,000 New Yorkers have died of the China Virus. Yes, it is a large state, but other larger states – including Florida – have had a fraction of the infections and deaths of NY. Cuomo’s defense: “Massive federal incompetence” - even though Trump gave him everything he demanded, and in record time.
I mentioned the 6,500 Virus-infected patients that Cuomo ordered admitted to nursing homes with tens of thousands of healthy patients. His Executive Order did not even allow the nursing homes to test the patients so that they could be separated from the healthy ones. There has been such an outcry over this insanity that Cuomo ordered an investigation – by his hand-picked cronies in the State Health Department. Wanting to keep their jobs, they issued a 30-page report that said the admission of infected patients had “little or no effect” on the fact that thousands had died in those homes. (What was that you said about “social distancing,” Mr. Idiot?) Now Cuomo has blamed the nursing home medical staff for infecting the patients!
It also turns out that the surge in cases and deaths that followed the riots he allowed were not his fault. He had tied the hands of the police, ordering them not to interfere in most of the protests and ordering the release – without bail – of almost all criminals. This took away the most potent deterrent the police had. Why worry about getting arrested? You will get a free meal and be back on the streets in hours – without even having to hire a lawyer. He has blamed NY cops for not arresting thugs who assault them – even though they’re not allowed to. He has called NYPD offices “Impotent Wimps” for not defending themselves. So, it’s no surprise that he’s now blaming the police for the riots getting out of hand Cuomo encouraged. And of course, they are (in his small, sick mind) to blame for all the people who got the Virus while he allowed them to “protest” shoulder to shoulder.
His latest outrage is to blame the NY court system for the gun violence in NY. Of course, this has gone on for years. The only times NYC has been a safe place to visit is when it has had Republican Mayors. But recently the huge numbers of gun deaths have increased by 50%. I saw him “imploring” the court system to get this under control, but his line of thinking was as incoherent as Joe Biden’s. I still don’t understand how the courts are responsible for the violence he has encouraged, but I’m just a regular guy. Maybe politicians have some special insight to which I am not privy.
Now let’s switch gears to Florida and our great Governor Ron DeSantis. He did the opposite of Cuomo regarding nursing homes. He forbade hospitals from sending Virus-positive patients to nursing homes, even if they had no symptoms. The results: Florida has had just a fraction of the diagnosed cases, hospitalizations, and deaths as New York – per capita. Florida has about 15% more residents than New York, so that is not the reason for the disparity. Florida also has a much higher percentage of elderly citizens than New York, so that is not a factor of our success in combatting the Virus sent to us by the Communist Party of China.
So why has Governor DeSantis been so much more successful than Cuomo in the war against the Virus. It’s simple. He has Conservative values, and he has common sense. Both of those are in very short supply in the New York governor’s mansion.
Cuomo has spent much airtime lately praising himself for doing such a wonderful job with the Virus. Yet, at 32, 466, his state has the highest number of deaths of any state. Florida is way down the list at 4,677 – far the than 1/8 of New York’s grisly toll. But I have long complained about using raw numbers instead of percentages. (See my article, “Stop Lying with Meaningless Numbers.”) So let’s look at what we should all be focusing on in the midst of the insanity – the percentages, also known as the “per capita” numbers.
Taking deaths as a percentage of the population, .17% of New Yorkers have died of the Virus, vs. .02% of Floridians. Do the math. Do the math. 8.5 more New Yorkers dead (850% more) as contrasted to Floridians have died – and Cuomo is bragging about his great success. In per-capita terms, New York has had 1,668 deaths per million. In contrast, Florida has had 199.
So why has Governor DeSantis’ thoughtful, careful approach kept Floridians eight times more safe than New Yorkers? Could it have something to do with the governors of the two states? Could it be that Cuomo is far more concerned about politics, proving himself right and virtually everyone else wrong? Could it be that DeSantis cares more about his responsibility to keep his people safe than he cares about politics?
For political reasons (most of Cuomo’s support comes from unions), Cuomo allowed Virus-infected employees to continue to work in nursing homes. DeSantis did the opposite. He also established a “hard line” around nursing homes, banning all visitors. This was hard on the patients whose families couldn’t visit them. But the Governor knew his first responsibility was to protect the most vulnerable.
Politico printed this surprisingly candid commentary about Florida’s great success in combatting the China Virus threat: 

Florida just doesn’t look nearly as bad as the national news media and sky-is-falling critics have been predicting for about two months now. But then, the national news media is mostly based in New York and loves to love its Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo, about as much as it loves to hate on Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. First, let’s just come out and say it: DeSantis looks more right than those who criticized the Sunshine State’s coronavirus response...Cuomo also has something else DeSantis doesn’t: a press that defers to him, one that preferred to cover “Florida Morons” at the beach (where it’s relatively hard to get infected) over New Yorkers riding cramped subway cars (where it’s easy to get infected). In fact, people can still ride the subways for most hours of the day in New York, but Miami Beach’s sands remain closed. Maybe things would be different if DeSantis had a brother who worked in cable news and interviewed him for a “sweet moment” in primetime. 
Florida has done a lot of other things right. Instead of condemning thousands of nursing home residents to death as Cuomo did, DeSantis has established several “Virus-only nursing homes, with several others opening soon. The governor’s office is in daily contact with all nursing homes. He knows most long-term care facilities are not equipped to handle the isolation of contagious patients. So if there is a “flare-up (one or more patients test positive) he has rapid response teams on-site within hours to isolate those patients and move them to where they can be properly cared for without infecting others.
Everyone, even Liberals, knows the media is the mouthpiece for the Democrat Party. The Democrats love that; Republicans, not so much. So, it is nice when a nationally-respected journalist like Rich Lowery gets it right. In an invaluable National Review article, Lowery and his staff actually interviewed Governor DeSantis and his staff, rather than talking about him using opinion pieces of other Liberals as their “research.” Here is part of the article: 

The conventional wisdom has begun to change about Florida, as the disaster so widely predicted hasn’t materialized. It’s worth delving into the state’s response — as described by DeSantis and a couple of members of his team — because it is the opposite of the media narrative of a Trump-friendly governor disregarding the facts to pursue a reckless agenda. DeSantis and his team have followed the science closely from the beginning, which is why they forged a nuanced approach, but one that focused like a laser on the most vulnerable population, those in nursing homes. An irony of the national coverage of the coronavirus crisis is that at the same time DeSantis was being made into a villain, New York governor Andrew Cuomo was being elevated as a hero, even though the DeSantis approach to nursing homes was obviously superior to that of Cuomo. Florida went out of its way to get COVID-19-positive people out of nursing homes, while New York went out of its way to get them in, a policy now widely acknowledged to have been a debacle.

The media didn’t exactly have their eyes on the ball. “The day that the media had their first big freak out about Florida was March 15th,” DeSantis recalls, “which was, there were people on Clearwater Beach, and it was this big deal. That same day is when we signed the executive order to, one, ban visitation in the nursing homes, and two, ban the reintroduction of a COVID-positive patient back into a nursing home.” DeSantis is bemused by the obsession with Florida’s beaches. When they opened in Jacksonville, it was a big national story, usually relayed with a dire tone. “Jacksonville has almost no COVID activity outside of a nursing-home context,” he says. “Their hospitalizations are down, ICU down since the beaches opened a month ago. And yet, nobody talks about it.
Since I live in Florida, I was heartened when our Governor initially refused to be bullied into locking down our economy, as most of the Democrat states had already done. He ordered sensible precautions for businesses, which were working well, and spent most of his efforts on protecting the elderly and infirm. This makes sense, since over 80% of all Virus deaths are people 65 and older.
Unfortunately, Democrats were able to get 400,000 foolish people to sign a petition to make Florida follow the lead of the states whose economies were being devastated by lockdowns. But since one of the Democrats’ main goals in all this has been to shut down churches, I love the fact that the first item on the list of “essential” organizations and business was religious meetings. That was a real thumb in the eye of the Democrats.
His was one of the least destructive lockdowns in the nation. Until recently, when Democrat cities and counties defied his Executive Order and started issuing their own much more restrictive rules, life was very little changed in South Florida.
But what about the recent spike in positive test results in Florida? Doesn’t that delegitimize of Florida’s great success story (even though its number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are still far, far below those of New York and most other states?) It might – if the test results were accurate.
The Governor relies on results sent to him by public and private labs, as well as hospitals and other testing facilities. Imagine his surprise when he discovered that 100% of the test results from some labs were positive. Dozens of labs were simply deleting the negative tests, and only reporting the positive ones. In addition, three major hospitals reported wildly inaccurate numbers to the state. After they were asked to confirm the numbers by re-testing, positives went down by about 90%:  


The bottom line: Despite all of Cuomo’s chest-thumping and bragging about his superior handling of the China Virus in New York, he can’t dispute the numbers. If you tell a lie enough times, many foolish people will believe you. If you live in New York, do your own research. If you do, I doubt you will ever vote for Cuomo.
Governor DeSantis is a hard worker and is not a self-promoter. He has done an excellent job for Floridians, and he is willing to let the results speak for themselves. Thanks to his excellent leadership tens of thousands of Floridians are alive today. If they had lived in New York, they would not be alive.
It’s that simple. If you want a country that’s worth living in, vote for Conservative Republicans in November. Our nation is in mortal danger from tin-pot dictators like Cuomo. We need men and women of character in elective office. They’re easy to find. Just look for “Republican” on your ballot.


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Dr. Tom Barrett is a pastor, teacher, author, conference keynote speaker, professor, certified executive coach, and marketplace minister. His teaching and coaching have blessed both church and business leaders. He has been ordained for over 40 years, and has pastored in seven churches over that time. Today he “pastors pastors” as he oversees ordained and licensed ministers in Florida for his ministerial fellowship.

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