MINOT, N.D. — The governor's job is to govern.
The governor's job is not appointing other people to govern.
After reading her plan for addressing the coronavirus pandemic, I'm not sure Shelley Lenz, the Democratic-NPL's gubernatorial candidate, understands this.
The plan was released this week. It tosses a few bones to placate the nascent authoritarians in Lenz's left-wing base — she'll force masks on the rubes and restrict indoor gatherings — but that's window dressing.
At the plan's core is the creation of an "incident command" of "non-elected officials" managed by a commander who "has overall responsibility" for managing the state's pandemic response.
In other words, if elected, Lenz would like to lead North Dakota through the remainder of this pandemic by appointing someone else to do it.
That is nonsense.
Pablum born, I'm afraid, of Lenz's ignorance of what the governor's job entails.
Here's something I wrote last month about the governor's job during a pandemic: "It is the job of elected leaders, like governors, to synthesize the advice from technical experts into practical, real-world policies that work. Many politicians like to excuse themselves from that responsibility during emergent situations, blowing hot air about 'just listening to the experts,' which gives them plausible deniability if things don't work out."
Lenz wants you to believe that appointing experts — she'd like her "incident commander" to have some combination of military and medical experience — is a virtue.
It's a dodge.
A way to give the public the impression that leadership is happening while off-loading the responsibility for it to another. Someone who can be blamed and fired if things go poorly.
The incumbent, Gov. Doug Burgum, hasn't always made decisions we all like. He hasn't made decisions everyone in his administration has liked. But at least he's made them himself instead of appointing a smorgasbord of fall guys to lead him around by the hand.
What Lenz is proposing happens far too often in government. Politicians primarily concerned with attaining and then maintaining their elected offices like to put buffers between themselves and the harsh, often unpopular decisions good leadership necessitates.
Voters ought not to see this as a virtue.
The job is leading. Making decisions and then taking responsibility for those decisions.
Lenz is a lovely person, and as a candidate strikes a tone, leading one to believe she likes North Dakota and North Dakotans, which has been missing from other Democratic-NPL campaigns of recent memory.
But this pandemic plan she and running mate Ben Vig have concocted is a clear illustration that neither understands the responsibilities that come with the job of governor.
Please tell us how you'd lead, not how you'd go about hiring others to have that responsibility.
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.