A growing number of prominent Republicans in Washington State appear to either have a worsening case of cabin fever or are worried sick that the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic will doom their party’s electoral prospects this autumn. They’re desperate for a return to normalcy — the same concept that Republican Warren Harding campaigned on exactly one hundred years ago.
That’s evidently why a bunch of them have chosen to participate in a lawsuit challenging Governor Jay Inslee’s stay at home order. Those participating include Andrew Barkis, Chris Corry, Drew MacEwen, and Brandon Vick.
Other plaintiffs include:
- Fran Wills, who has declared that her lack of access to an athletic club, which is presently closed due to the stay at home order, denies her a therapeutic means of exercise against Multiple Sclerosis.
- Bruce Russell, owner of the Lake Bowl bowling center, restaurant and tap room, located in Moses Lake, who says his business has lost money.
- Lee Pfluger, who says his construction business has lost income due to the stay at home order. Lee Pfluger is also Captain of the Douglas County chapter of “Liberty State”.
For those unaware, “Liberty State” a secessionist effort that seeks to convert Eastern Washington into a dystopian theocracy.
It consists of a collection of militant, radical right wing groups and individuals, including Matt Shea, who has spoken of establishing a “theocratic redoubt” in the Inland Northwest and who has further documented means of suveilling political opponents, discussed violence and harassment favorably in chat rooms, and has embraced an armed youth group preparing for “biblical warfare.”
Republican Representatives Drew Stokesbary, Kelly Chambers, Morgan Irwin, and J. T. Wilcox (the top House Republican) expressed sympathy with the plaintiffs.
Wilcox cited “irretrievable damage being done to families, institutions and commerce… We were not meant to be governed in the long term by emergency orders… It is good to test this constitutionally.”
The lawsuit alleges that the stay home, stay healthy orders are depriving Washingtonians of their First and Fifth Amendment rights.
You can read the suit below:dkt-001–20200505-complaint
Governor Inslee’s response that same day was direct and to the point.
“It would be a horrific surprise to the over eight hundred families that have already lost a loved one already to this pandemic to think that this is not a crisis.”
“I believe that position is biologically ignorant and humanely heartless… We can’t have a good economy without a healthy Washington and the measures we have taken are designed to preserve health and life itself.”
Governor Inslee reinforced the point when, at his media event the next day in celebration of National Nurse’s Day, he asked the nurses invited to speak with him if, semi-rhetorically, when they spoke with family members who had relatives being treated for COVID-19, whether family members cared about them less if they were more than sixty years of age. He later stated clearly that he had no tolerance for anyone who considered others living in the state of Washington as potentially disposable people, and that such talk was morally repugnant.
Tina Podlodowski, Chair of the Washington State Democratic Party, also condemned the lawsuit in a statement provided to NPI.
“This is yet another irresponsible action from Washington State Republicans that jeopardizes the sacrifices so many Washingtonians have made to save lives in the fight against this virus. As Democrats across all of Washington remain committed to following the science and advice of public health experts to reopen our state safely, Republicans continue to be guided by the most extreme parts of their party, pushing dangerous ideas like mass infection and violent rebellion.”
“Today and every day until this November’s election, we’ll make sure Washingtonians know who was on their side and who put their lives in danger to score cheap political points,” Podlodowski concluded.
The aforementioned lawsuit is the second in a series of legal maneuvers launched by right wing Republicans in Washington against Governor Inslee’s stay home, stay healthy orders. The first lawsuit was filed May 1st by Franklin County Commissioner Clint Didier and con artist Tim Eyman.