Webb’s Wrap: Fast Friday – Cox as pandemic czar . . . Why is Trump not losing badly? . . . hits & misses . . . parting shot

In hindsight, and speaking politically, it was probably a mistake for Gov. Herbert to appoint Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox to lead the state’s COVID-19 pandemic response team. While it wasn’t obvious at first, Cox ended up in a no-win situation. He was bound to be criticized no matter what he did.

If he was highly visible at briefings and news conferences he would be accused of using the pandemic to further his political ambitions. If he dropped out of sight, especially if things weren’t going well, he would be accused of doing a poor job and trying to hide his involvement.

Thus, Cox has worked mostly behind the scenes to avoid charges of politicizing the pandemic. Herbert has been the public face of the state’s response (which has been very good, in my opinion).

It’s understandable that Herbert wanted a high-profile leader to take charge. As the No. 2 guy in the state, Cox has the authority and stature to make things happen. But in a pandemic as serious as this one, and in the midst of a hotly-contested political race for the governorship, Herbert should have appointed himself as the pandemic czar. He ended up taking that role anyway.

Why is Trump not losing badly? Given his always-negative press coverage, his many flaws and cringe-worthy bombast, not to mention presiding over the country during the worst health crisis and greatest economic collapse in many decades, I’m downright amazed that Pres. Trump isn’t being crushed in the current election. How can he possibly be doing as well as he is, with the race essentially a tossup?

We know that his base will always be loyal. But his base isn’t large enough for him to win. Is it possible that among the country’s mainstream conservatives, moderates and independents enough secret Trump supporters exist for him to win re-election? Conservative commentators have long been saying that more Trump supporters are out there than are being measured in polls.

Trump has become a dominating political figure. Love him or hate him, for better or for worse, he strides like a colossus across the political and media landscape. He doesn’t care if he’s hated, or what people say about him, but he can’t abide not dominating every news cycle. He will step on his own message, say something outrageous, to top the headlines every day.

It’s nothing like I’ve seen in 40 years of watching politics.

This week’s hit: Police officers all across Utah who leave their families every day and go out to protect other people, sometimes risking their own lives. (This is a hit every week.)

This week’s miss: Tribune’s police officer/KKK cartoon. Might be satire. Might be meant to be edgy. But still flat-out offensive to the vast majority of Utahns.

Parting shot. Masks, when not mandated by government, ought to be viewed as symbols of freedom and provident living – not as a symbol of government evil. When used as recommended, masks provide freedom to go anywhere, while staying healthy. And if a private business or church wants to require masks in their establishment, that’s their right. Anyone who doesn’t don’t like it can just go elsewhere. The vitriol directed at government leaders and some businesses is entirely uncalled for. I agree with what I heard a good leader say the other day, “Gosh, what if we asked them to do something hard?”