Further to the Ebola update thread below, it seems clear now that the World’s Best Healthcare SystemTM wasn’t prepared to safely treat patients after all, at least not in Texas. Valued commenter d58826 said the following:
It is with morbid ‘humor’ that I watch the events as they unfold in Texas. This is the heartland of profits before people. A state that prides itself on little regulation and what does exist is sold to the highest bidder for them to make a private profit. It is the poster child for cut government spending and every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.
It represents the GOP plan to reduce government to the fit in a bath tub and then drown it. The agencies charged with confronting this type of outbreak have seen their budgets cut by 50% over the past decade. Almost 50k government public health workers have lost their jobs as a result of budget cuts. The GOP game plan in action.
The final ‘laugh’ comes from the GOP’s call for an Ebola czar to be named when they will not confirm Obama’s choice for Surgeon General.
d58826 goes on to note that the GOP will probably gain control of Congress despite the massive fuck-ups it authored, of which leaving health officials ill-equipped to deal with an Ebola outbreak is only the latest example. Is this because people are stupid, racist, tribal, etc.? Undoubtedly that’s part of it. But sheer ignorance is part of it as well, and this is a teachable moment.
Joe Biden would be the ideal teacher, in my opinion, and here’s the lesson plan: Go before every functioning TV camera and bring a chart illustrating CDC and public health department cuts. Talk about why regulations and public safety organizations are needed and how the GOP has undermined them in places like Texas.
Reference other incidents that illustrate what happens when industries go unregulated and regulatory and public safety organizations are underfunded, e.g., that plant that blew up a while back in Texas, the latest coal mine disasters and water contamination incidents. Point out the obvious, because it ain’t obvious to everyone.
This approach will not work on hardened partisans, obviously. Nothing will. But the fact is, elections turn on persuading unaffiliated voters, who seem to zigzag right and left in panicky fashion like a herd of antelope menaced by massive prides of lions on either side.
It’s not really about Ebola, which poses an infinitesimal risk to anyone who isn’t a healthcare worker treating an infected patient. It’s about not letting the Republicans once again get away with hamstringing government and then complaining that it’s useless. It’s about countering the Reagan era lie that the government is always the problem.
Back when he was running for president the first time, President Obama said he wanted to be a transformative president like Reagan. Some people (i.e., PUMAs) pounced on this as evidence that Obama was a closet wingnut, but a reading of the remarks in context revealed that what he meant was he wanted to change the perception of government in a similar way, and swing the pendulum back. Well, now’s your chance, sir. And in October no less.