Political Leaders: Step Back! Let the Pros Do It!

By Shlomo Maital

  Ladies and gentlemen, golf fans! Here we are, on the 18th green, at the legendary Master’s tournament. Byron Putput has a 30-foot put for birdie, to win the Green Jacket and the championship. He’s thinking. He’s looking. He’s planning… all his 24 years of golfing are going into this crucial put! The fans are silent. The tension is palpable.

   But wait. Here comes… Donald Trump. Yes, Donald Trump. POTUS, he’s called, President of the United States. Yes, fans, he is shoving aside Byron. Executive privilege, he says. Trump himself will take the put. He pulls a putter out of the golf bag – but wait, it is not a putter, but an iron. He’s going to do the put with an iron!  

     Oh my gosh. Is this really happening?

     ……. No, it’s not. Or is it? Reopening the US economy is, “I would say, without a doubt, that it is the most important decision I have ever had to make,” Trump said three days ago. First person singular. I. Not ‘we’.   And he doesn’t even have the authority to decide, it is really up to the state governors.

       Let’s make some sense out of this. Giora Eiland is Major General (ret.) Israel Defense Forces. Eiland is a former head of the Israeli National Security Council. Speaking on Israeli Radio, he made this point:

     In the pandemic, Israel (and every country) is at war. This requires mobilization of all our energy, skills, wisdom and resources. Israel has done this, alas, numerous times in the past. But how? As we do in wartime, as US and UK did in wartime. Set up a panel of experts. NOT politicians! In health, economy, education, psychology, science, medicine. Put them in a room. Let them define the issues, then divide up according to “comparative advantage” and work out alternatives and plans. Nonstop. Round the clock. Sleep on cots in the room or nearby.

     Israel’s Ministry of Health has disastrously mismanaged the issue of performing COVID-19 testing. And testing, by all experts, is key to emerging from quarantine. The IDF (army) could have done it faster, better, more professionally. But internal political squabbles between Israel’s Prime Minister and the Defense Minister (whom the PM hates), Netanyahu’s nemesis, prevented this. Too bad. We are paying the price today.

     Trump will not take the final put at the Master’s golf tournament. A pro golfer will do that. Why are we letting him, or Netanyahu, or Macron, or Johnson, take the lead in managing the epidemic? Step back politicians. Step aside. Let the professionals manage this war. Because you politicians do not have a clue.

   One possible exception: NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo. In his amazing daily briefings, he shows a wonderful grasp of data, curves, expert opinion, trends, and illustrates his talks with informative slides and graphs. But this exception proves the rule.