A week before Thanksgiving, shoppers in Albuquerque, New Mexico strolled the aisles of Hobby Lobby, some perhaps shopping for glue guns and glitter to help with holiday decorating. Their shopping ended abruptly after an alarming announcement came over the store’s intercom.
“Attention shoppers. Attention shoppers. We regret to inform you that the Sheriff’s Department has decided to close us down. We need to close down immediately.”
According to local news reports, shoppers were escorted out of the store by deputies who were called to the store to enforce Gov. Michelle Lujan-Grisham’s new COVID lockdowns. Lujan-Grisham is one of several Democrat governors who in recent weeks has reimposed heavy-handed lockdowns on her state.
It is unclear if shoppers were able to make their purchases, or if that posed too great a risk for COVID spread.
Albuquerque shopper Leslie Butikofer is a frequent shopper at that Hobby Lobby. She was outraged when she heard of the governor’s draconian edict.
“It’s out of control!” she said. “If Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Costco, and Sam’s can stay open, what difference does it make if Hobby Lobby is open?”
Butikofer said she had planned to buy red holiday bows to decorate her home for Christmas, but says it was easier to just order them online from Amazon than to try and do a curbside pickup from Hobby Lobby.
“Money is still being spent,” she said. “People are still shopping, but just not at the local stores. Everyone is shopping online.”
Butikofer said the governor’s lockdown is an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19, as cases spike in the state. “New Mexico is a COVID hot spot right now, but so is the rest of the country.”
According to Politico, Lujan-Grisham is under consideration in a potential Biden administration for the position of Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Politico reports: “The next secretary will play a key role in managing the COVID-19 response and convincing a fatigued and distrustful public to buy into the tough public health measures needed to suppress the virus.”
Don Berwick, a former Obama administration Medicare and Medicaid Chief told Politico, “It’s COVID 24/7 now. It’s got to be dealt with.”
Presumably, someone in the Biden camp thinks Lujan-Grisham’s handling of COVID in her state has been a model for the rest of the country.
Butikofer said she’s watched the governor’s weekly COVID news briefings and has seen nothing that instills any confidence in her ability to handle the pandemic at a national level.
“We have been under some of the tightest restrictions in the country since spring and it hasn’t made a difference,” she said. “Closing schools, wearing masks, closing gyms, nail salons and everything else hasn’t made a difference.”
Which makes one wonder if Gov. Lujan-Grisham’s headline-grabbing lockdowns are part of a PR campaign to gain the national spotlight to extend her career once she’s out of office. She’s been a disaster for her state and it’s hard to imagine New Mexico voters electing her to a second term.
The statewide unemployment rate was 8.1 percent in October, well above the 6.9 percent national rate. New Mexico depleted its unemployment insurance fund in September and has begun borrowing money from the federal government to fulfill claims to residents who have lost their jobs.
If that is the kind of leadership we’ll get from a Biden administration, our economy will flatline by spring. We’ll be hearing from the White House, “Attention shoppers. Attention shoppers. We regret to inform you that our country is closing down.”
Catherine Mortensen is Vice President of Communications at Americans for Limited Government.