Who’s to Blame for Ebola Hysteria?

E.J. Dionne writes that national fears about Ebola have been unduly politicized by Republicans. Dionne contends that Republicans are turning “fear into a closing argument.”

“It’s something else again to stoke alarm and to set up an unrealistic policy demand as a test of ‘toughness.’ (Yes, those quotation marks are intended to convey the cynicism involved.)”

But Paul Waldman, in the Washington Post, places an equal amount of blame on Democrats, who, he contends, are lacking in courage.

“Wouldn’t it be nice if a Democratic candidate or two had the guts to stand up and say: ‘Look, everybody needs to calm down?'”

“It isn’t as though it would be outlandish for a Democrat running for Senate or governor to look for some political advantage in being the level-headed one.”

“I won’t bother going over all the reasons why we shouldn’t be terrified of a disease that has to date infected two out of 316 million of us. But Democrats might consider the possibility that being rational might actually turn out to be politically smart.”

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  • avahome

    Pointing fingers helps no one….fix the problem. And to boot, I heard no mention of all the thousands of non-insured in TX….ole Ricky most likely did not want to go there….dodged a bullet.

    I do seem to remember a scenario in the past about a biological threat and people were advised to buy plastic sheeting and duct tape…go shopping baby!

    • Kenneth Streiff

      That scenario involved an airborne biological agent as well as numerous other uses for plastic sheeting and duct tape in a variety of other situations including hurricanes, floods and tornadoes. Having said that, in an emergency it is entirely conceivable that a makeshift protective suit could be fabricated from such basic items.

      I don’t suppose it is very popular that many major metro areas’ plans for emergency evacuation suggest abandoning vehicular transport in favor of walking away, but it is probably in your best interests. Gridlock is not a plan that enhances outcomes, but planners know enough about the behaviors of panicked human beings to have a rational alternative picked out that at first glance appears primitive and without foresight or insight while it is actually intensely debated and discussed.

      It is of course quite easy to criticize various entities for a perceived lack of planning and contemplation, until you have had to consider such things as mass evacuation and major outbreaks and attacks of every conceivable type up to and including nuclear, chemical, and biological. Then the cheap shots are no longer an option, the gravity of the responsibility takes a toll few ever know, and we all either pray or otherwise hope for the outcome to be something workable for everyone. If you want a challenge, go get hired as the emergency management official for a major metropolitan area. These people get nowhere near the credit they deserve.

  • wildthumb

    The media and Republicans make a nice collusion on this hysteria. They both make me furious.

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