27 April, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

So, my stepmother emails me today to say I might want to reconsider that trip to Mexico I'm planning, WHO's issued a phase-4 alert, and swine flu's on everybody's mind. Let's check in on the Cons and see how they're reacting.

Of course, in their world, everything happens for a reason, and Dems are always to blame:

Revealing that her understanding of public health alerts has not evolved from the Bush-generated panics over color-coded terror alerts and anthrax attacks, the head of Concerned Women for America, Wendy Wright, says "some people" blame the Obama Administration for the political timing of the swine flu alert, since it happened one day before tomorrow's cloture vote on the nomination of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius to head HHS, a critical department.

“Some people think that declaring a state of emergency about the flu was a political thing to push the Sebelius nomination through,” said Wright. She pointed to news stories that ask whether the slow-walking of the Sebelius choice will hurt the response to the flu. “If there’s even a hint that [Department of Homeland Security] is manipulating the health situation to push a political appointee through, well, it almost defies imagination that they’d be willing to that.”The GOP has allowed a critical department to remain without a leader, when they haven't the votes to stop the nomination and are simply making noise to appease their forced-birth base. But pointing out that fact as America confronts a possible flu pandemic is "political."
My, my. What a surprise. As Steven Benen notes:

The right is responding to the public health emergency about as you'd expect. Some are accusing the administration of deliberately overreacting. Others see an elaborate conspiracy to get Americans to "respond to government orders." Others still see a different conspiracy to get Kathleen Sebelius confirmed. Just another day in conservative political discourse.
It's pathetic that this is the expected reaction from the rabid right - and that the rabid right includes ostensibly mainstream conservatives.

And let's not forget, it's Cons who decided we didn't need no stinkin' funding for a pandemic:

On February 5, Karl Rove took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to argue against President Obama's Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act because, in his view, the spending was not targeted to create or preserve jobs. In particular, Rove complained about the fact that the bill included "$900 million for pandemic flu preparations." He contended that such spending was unnecessary because the health care sector "added jobs last year."

Rep. David Obey (D-WI) included the pandemic preparation funding in the package because he believed "that a pandemic hitting in the midst of an economic downturn could turn a recession into something far worse." But Rove was not concerned with the actual substance of the funding.


Indeed, like Rove, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) was apparently unwilling to be seen as endorsing such "funny" sounding priorities as flu "preparedness" in an economic recovery package. Perhaps in an attempt to prove her fiscal conservative bona fides, Collins repeatedly insisted that Obey's pandemic preparedness funding did not belong in the bill:

COLLINS: There's funding to help improve our preparedness for a pandemic flu. There is funding to help improve cyber security. What does that have to do with an economic stimulus package? [CNN, 1/31/09]


After the funding was stripped, another moderate Republican attempting to appear tough on "unnecessary" spending in the recovery package, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), endorsed Collins' crusade against the pandemic preparedness funding on Fox News:

MS. KELLY: Okay. $780 million for pandemic flu preparedness, in or out?

SEN. SPECTER: Out. Very important projects, I took the lead along with Tom Harkin on some massive funding for pandemic flu, but it belongs in our regular appropriations bill.

Well, in retrospect, it seems that stripping that funding from the stimulus might not have been such a great idea after all. There's just this thing about massive pandemics - when everybody's sick, dying, or staying home, the economy sorta kinda takes a hit. And if the Cons hadn't spent the last eight years destroying the CDC, it might not have been so necessary to have that funding in the stimulus in the first place, because we would've already been prepared.


I think Paul Krugman said it best when he said:

So Bobby Jindal makes fun of “volcano monitoring”, and soon afterwards Mt. Redoubt erupts. Susan Collins makes sure that funds for pandemic protection are stripped from the stimulus bill, and the swine quickly attack.

What else did the right oppose recently? I just want enough information to take cover.

Ditto. They may be a bunch of outright fucking idiots, but it seems their record's very good on predicting disasters by refusing to fund them.

Of course, going back to our original point, these fucktards aren't going to see this as a wake-up call. After all, their prominent voices are already screeching about how Obama caused this whole outbreak, and their paranoid little minds probably will tie this neatly together with Erick Erickson's insane post:

It's always been impossible to take Erick Erickson, RedState's editor, seriously. When we last heard from the fairly prominent conservative blogger, he was writing about violence against elected public officials who were regulating chemicals in dishwasher detergent.

It gives one a sense of the guy's credibility and level of seriousness.

Today, Erickson was in rare form, accusing President Obama of taking active, deliberate steps to encourage a deadly terrorist attack against the United States. He wasn't kidding -- Erickson seriously seems to believe the president wants terrorists to kill Americans.

The best strategy would look something like taking a band-aid off quickly. Get the pain over fast. And if an attack happens quickly enough into the new administration, they can blame Bush.

So the Obama administration is working hard to release all the memos on interrogations, change all the policies Bush implemented, and clear out the old as fast as possible. Never mind that if it were done slowly over time, our terrorist enemies might not be so incited to attack.

If your working premise is that they are going to attack anyway, get them incited quickly, get it over with, and blame Bush. There is no other justification for so quickly making us less safe.

When this truly insane idea sparked some criticism, Erickson, apparently playing by junior-high-school rules, "Truth hurts I guess."

Let's also not forget that Erickson is not a fringe, obscure right-wing blogger, but a prominent conservative voice and a writer popular in the Bush White House.

Anyone taking bets on how soon we'll see prominent Cons spinning stories about some al Qaeda plot to give us all the swine flu at Obama's bidding? My money's on the next thirty seconds.

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