Republicans Caught Between Opposition to Healthcare and Fear of Ebola

If Sen. Rand Paul’s fears of Ebola let loose in a nation where 44 million people remain uninsured are confirmed, Ebola might come to be known to history as the Republican contagion. Because nobody will have done more to pave the way for the disease than the Republicans who have done their utmost best to keep people uninsured, and balked at finding a cure.

Now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that the first case of Ebola has been diagnosed in the United States, not only is Lindsey Graham undoubtedly cringing beneath his bed, but Republicans have found something else to attack Obama for. Benghazi, ISIL, Ebola – they are all just sticks with which to beat the president.

The CDC has tried to downplay fears of Ebola spreading in the U.S. The CDC has pointed out that,

  • you can’t catch Ebola through the air;
  • you can’t catch it through water or food;
  • you can only get Ebola from “touching blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola,” from “touching contaminated objects, like needles,” or “touching infected animals, their blood or other body fluids, or their meat.”

In a word, “Ebola poses no significant risk to the United States.”

But according to Paul, who if not to Ebola is at least immune to irony, and who got together with Laura Ingraham Wednesday on her radio program, the Obama administration and CDC are underestimating the seriousness of the Ebola threat.

“I think because of political correctness we’re not really making sound, rational, scientific decisions on this,” the senator said. “It’s a big mistake to underestimate the potential for problems worldwide.”

Okay, let’s say he’s right. Let’s just grant for a moment that everything he says is true. Think about this:

In what might go down in history as the most ironic epitaph in history, Ingraham bills herself as “your healthy radio addiction.”

Not so much, if Ebola strikes, and their GOP has refused to do even the minimum necessary, like funding research and ensuring Americans have adequate healthcare. I mean, think about how useful actual health insurance might be in the event of an Ebola outbreak.

You have to remember too that it was Paul’s fellow Republicans who refused to fund Ebola research just last month. Obama wanted $88 million, but as The Hill reported on September 9, Republicans decided he needed only $40 million – that’s $25 million for the CDC and $15 million for the Biological Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).

Wouldn’t you think Rand Paul would do better to be attacking House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) than Obama? After all, Obama wanted to do something about Ebola, but Republicans haven’t. They just want to complain about it, just like they want to complain about ISIL without doing anything about it.

Then again, they don’t even want to fund our federal government period, a decision they might come to regret, if only privately and as their innards liquefy.

So Paul doesn’t think Obama is taking thing seriously enough. Wants him to do something. But Paul doesn’t even like that Obama is sending troops to help contain Ebola, worrying that they will become infected and then return to America carrying the disease.

Interestingly, both John Boehner and Mitch McConnell agreed with Obama on sending troops, with McConnell going so far as to say “What the administration’s doing is correct.”

Of course, if Paul sounds, well, like Rand Paul, there is always Michael Savage to make him sound sane. Michael Savage is claiming that President Obama wants Ebola in the US, that he “wants to infect the nation with Ebola,” so he can kill white people. Right, because Ebola only targets white people. That’s why all those black people in Africa are dying.

But Savage isn’t alone. Ingraham is already on record as saying Obama is sending American troops to Africa to atone for colonialism and as part of some bizarre plot to redistribute wealth (don’t hurt yourself trying to figure that one out).

The Tea Party Nation agrees with him, saying Obama “wants Ebola here.” And Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), who hasn’t met crazy he doesn’t like, and who has said that “undocumented Democrats” from Central America are smuggling Ebola across the border – and that, oh, by the way, he’s not fear-mongering – told Lou Dobbs the other day that Obama is sending “3,000 military into where they can get Ebola that they can bring back.”

The military is not trained to go catch Ebola and die. They’re trained to go in and kill the people that want to come back and kill us. The president’s priorities are all mixed up here. All you got to do is shut down traffic in and out of places where there’s high risk of Ebola.

“But political correctness,” Gohmert says, “is going to get people killed in all of these areas.”

That’ exactly what Paul said – political correctness is to blame for getting us all killed by Ebola, not the refusal of Republicans to fund healthcare or research into finding a cure.

Honestly, I don’t think political correctness has anything to do with the threat posed by Ebola. Republicans stupidity and inflexible ideology and hatred of our first black president – now that might have something to do with it.

Just to prove my point, Gohmert thinks the solution is more Benghazi-like witch hunts, saying what we need is not research but hearing to find out “who has instilled this atmosphere of political correctness.”

Yes, that will protect us all from the threat of Ebola. Hearings. Assigning blame while Rome burns Here is my not-so-hypothetical Q&A with Gohmert:

Q: “Don’t you think we ought to be finding a cure?”

A: “No, we’ve got to find out who is responsible for all this political correctness!”

If you’re truly worried about Ebola, you won’t vote Republican. Republicans aren’t really worried about Ebola. Ebola to Republicans is just another weapon, like Benghazi, ISIL, or even Jesus, with which to attack our president.

If they were really worried about Ebola, rather than attacking Obama’s decisions, they’d be coming up with some ideas of their own, or coming up with some research money – after all, there is ALWAYS enough money to give to oil companies.

But then they’re Republicans, and that means they don’t have any ideas. And the money? They’d rather give that to their rich friends.

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