Republicans finally have something to run on: fear. This week, it’s fear of Ebola. Of course, right-wing fear-mongers always leave out how conservatism made the Ebola crisis worse.
Fox News contributor Stacey Dash called for the federal government to establish “special centers for Ebola in each state.” Dash must have forgotten that the government could just use those empty “FEMA camps.”
Dash criticized the Obama administration, saying “We need a surgeon general. We need a pinpoint person.” She’s right. We could use a Surgeon General right now. America could benefit from an “explainer in chief” to educate people, and cut though some of the hysteria, as Dr. C. Everett Coop did in the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. However, Dash left out that Republicans are the reason America doesn’t have a surgeon general.
President Obama nominated Dr. Vivek Murthy nearly a year ago. But Dr. Murthy’s nomination has been held up by right-wingers, the NRA, and red-state Democrats, because of his support for an assault weapons ban, and for this 2012 tweet:
Tired of politicians playing politics w/ guns, putting lives at risk b/c they're scared of NRA. Guns are a health care issue. #debatehealth
— Vivek Murthy (@vivek_murthy) October 17, 2012
Dr. Murthy may have a point. According to the National Safety Council, you’ve got about a 1 in 356 chance of dying as a result of gun violence. Those odds are likely to get worse, because gun deaths are set to exceed traffic fatalities as one of America’s leading causes of non-medical deaths by 2015.
Your chances of dying from Ebola are roughly … zero.
But we don’t have a surgeon general to tell us that, thanks to the gun-loving wingnut brigade. Meanwhile, wingnuts are squawking for an “Ebola Czar,” — after suggesting that the use of “czars” was turning us into Russia — and then attack the president for appointing one.
Something else we don’t have are national public health institutions sufficiently funded to handle crises like Ebola. Right-wing budget slashing cut the Center for Disease Control’s emergency preparedness budget nearly in half. The CDC’s discretionary funding was cut by $585 million between 2010 and 2014. Funding for public health preparedness and response efforts were cut by $1 billion between 2002 and 2013, resulting in about 45,700 job losses at the state and local level — at a time when vaccine-preventable diseases like Ebola are a growing threat.
Conservatives like Erick Erickson can claim that “fat lesbians got all the Ebola dollars,”, but it was wingnuttery that got us into this mess. More the same wingnuttery isn’t going to get us out of it:
- “Fox & Friends” contributor Laura Ingraham attacked CDC director Tom Frieden, claiming that he “is on the verge of becoming the Baghdad Bob of the health care community.”
- In an interview with Glenn Beck, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R, Texas) accused Democrats of throwing nurses with Ebola “under the bus,” as part of “the Democrats’ new war on women nurses.”
- In an interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, right-wing radio host Michael Savage said that Ebola could a “blessing” that prompts President Obama’s ouster from office.
- Rush Limbaugh told his listeners that people in the highest level of our government and media “think Americans deserve to get Ebola.”
- Rep. Steve Stockman (R, Texas) told End Times broadcaster Rick Wiles that President Obama may be delaying the US response to Ebola, and letting the virus spread so that he can “use emergency powers to take over control of the economy and everything.”
- North Carolina Baptist Pastor Ron Baity told his congregation that God will make the Ebola crisis even worse, when gay marriage starts in North Carolina. “You think Ebola is bad now, just wait!,” Baity told his flock.
- Televangelist John Hagee said the Ebola crisis is God’s punishment on America for President Obama’s failure to support Israel.
- Answering a question from a viewer, John Hagee’s son Matthew Hagee said Ebola is a sign of the “End Times,”, and cited a biblical passage to claim that Jesus said famines and pestilence would precede his return. Pestilence is an illness for which there seems to be no cure,” Hagee said. “That would certainly describe Ebola.”
- Father and son duo Ron Paul and Rand Paul have some crazy things to say about Ebola. Rand Paul says Ebola is more transmissible than AIDS, despite what experts say. Meanwhile, Ron Paul says “liberty” will contain Ebola, so everyone can just calm down.
- Children of God, a “pro-life” group, wants the government to stop fast-tracking two potential Ebola vaccines, because vaccine development includes stem cell research.
- It fell to Fox News’ Shepard Smith to serve as a voice of reason once again, and tell viewers “Do not listen to the hysterical voices” in the media on Ebola.
Here’s the rest of the worst in wingnuttia this week:
- Peggy Noonan has a plan to save America: Think like an eleven-year-old.
- Florida’s Republican governor Rick Scott refused to take the stage with Democratic challenger Charlie Crist, because Crist had a fan under his podium.
- After his embarrassing tantrum over Charlie Crist’s fan, Rick Scott ended the debate with an even more embarrassing closing statement.
- Wisconsin governor Scott Walker said he doesn’t believe minimum wage “serves a purpose.” Maybe he’ll get to try living on it after Nov. 4th.
- Pennsylvania Republican Tom Corobett’s gubernatorial campaign got caught photoshopping a black supporter into a photograph.
- In a Facebook pitch for a right wing gun group, wingnut rocker Ted Nugent called for the “evil carcasses” of President Obama and other Democrats.
- During a videotaped appearance at a University of New Hampshire College Republicans tailgate party, Senate candidate Scott Brown was surrounded by men shouting “Fuck Jeanne Shaheen” and “Fuck Elisabeth Warren.” Yet, Brown never stopped smiling.
- In a brief filed with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Texas attorney general and GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott argued that banning gay marriage helps reduce out-of-wedlock births.
- Pat Robertson warned “700 Club” viewers that Hollywood writers are “doing everything they possibly can to put dirty language and sexual situations, and now homosexuality into scripts over and over and over again.”
- Someone should tell Robertson that internet users in red states don’t need Hollywood writers to help them find that stuff.