Webb Wrap: Please wear your mask . . . McConnell in charge . . . Eskelsen for education secretary?

Gov. Herbert’s emergency declaration Sunday night imposing a statewide mask mandate is the right thing to do and I hope Utahns will comply willingly.

Wearing a mask and social distancing are not difficult things to do. No one’s freedom is being compromised. Herbert is not closing businesses or shutting down the state. He is taking prudent, but minimal, action to deal with a real crisis.

It is selfish, in fact, not to wear a mask when out in public and around other people. If you resent being required to wear a mask, do it anyway. Do it for your family, for your friends and neighbors, and for those who may have medical emergencies and need a hospital bed.

This isn’t that difficult. Let’s just do it.

Mitch — the master operative. Assuming the Republicans maintain control of the U.S. Senate, which is likely, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is about to become the most important person in the Republican Party. He will be nearly co-equal with Joe Biden as the most important person in government.

McConnell will be the master puppeteer in Washington, controlling the flow of legislation, judicial appointments, cabinet appointments, whether Biden accomplishes much, and whether Congress actually addresses important issues facing the country or is gridlocked and dysfunctional.

None of this will be easy for McConnell. He will have a only a tiny majority and will be caught between his moderate caucus members, like Mitt Romney, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, who will want to compromise with the Democrats, and his arch-conservative caucus members, who will be more obstructive.

But I wouldn’t bet against McConnell. He knows how to twist arms and count votes, when to be defiant and when to compromise. The filibuster rule, requiring 60 votes on most legislation, will still exist under McConnell, and he will use it to his advantage. He will be able to thwart much of the Biden agenda if he wishes.

With McConnell running the Senate, we won’t see the Democrats pack the Supreme Court. We won’t see statehood for D.C., or Puerto Rico, or open borders. We won’t see a radical Green New Deal. We won’t see big tax increases. McConnell may save the Democrats from themselves.

I believe Biden will want to compromise with Republicans and get some things done. I believe McConnell may be willing to compromise under the right circumstances. The far left and far right may not be happy, but a reasonable chance exists for progress on a few issues.

Good Read. Who might serve on Biden’s cabinet? Politico provides a nice rundown of possible appointees. Biden may appoint a few Republicans. Of note, Lily Eskelsen Garcia, former Utah school teacher, former head of the Utah Education Association, and Democratic congressional candidate in Utah, is an early favorite for Education secretary. Eskelsen has recently served as president of the National Education Association.

Parting Shot. What happened to all those Democratic and news media concerns about Russian interference in the election? For months we’ve heard breathless denunciations of Trump for not preventing Russian incursions. But those concerns totally evaporated with the apparent Biden win. The Democratic spin now is that this was a perfect election with no fraud or interference. Russians? What Russians?

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