Liberal Phil Murphy is getting some help from the right-leaning Wall Street Journal.
Strange partners indeed, but another sign nothing about a pandemic is normal.
Broadly speaking, things continue to get incrementally better. As has been the comforting norm of late, the governor today talked about decreases in the number of new cases and hospitalizations. He also highlighted sharp increases in available personal protection equipment. On the down side, he announced 308 deaths, bringing the New Jersey total to more than 8,500.
The relative good news, the anticipation of nice weather, and the “re-opening” of some other states is putting some pressure on the governor to follow suit.
He did talk today about how reopening parks has gone well so far. And he hinted that similar moves regarding elective surgery and “Main Street” may be coming soon.
But let’s not be hasty.
“We can not lull ourselves into thinking all is well,” Murphy said.
Which brings us to the press.
The governor began his briefing talking about two newspaper articles he read today. One quoted a French official warning that if society opens too quickly, the results could be very bad. And then, there was another article quoting medical experts about the unpredictability of COVID-19. Or as the governor put it, “We don’t have all the answers.”
Murphy often quotes the New York Times, but not today.
He said justification for his cautious approach was coming from that “crazy left-wing” Wall Street Journal. His sarcasm was obvious.
Clearly, he was encouraged to see his position supported – at least somewhat – by a conservative leaning publication.
Murphy may not have known it at the time, but another poll – this one by Eagleton – came out today and gave him robust approval numbers.
That’s probably more important than anything the WSJ reported.
In a rather perplexing, but lighthearted, moment, the governor also returned to the “flap” over his labeling those who violate pandemic rules as “knuckleheads.”
Republican Sen. Joe Pennacchio criticized that term as disrespectful and demeaning over last weekend.
Murphy said those who think “knuckehead” is inappropriate should be glad they’re not living in West Virginia.
The governor there, Jim Justice, gained some notoriety for apparently dropping the “F-bomb” during a virus-related briefing last week. He said it was an audio glitch.
Two things here.
One is that Murphy is offering a pretty low bar. The other is that Justice’s explanation wouldn’t fly in New Jersey.