Politicians Try to Make Ebola a Partisan Issue for the Upcoming Election … But BOTH Parties Dropped the Ball

Both Parties Are Responsible

The Dallas Morning News notes:

The political blame game over the deadly Ebola virus is in full swing just weeks before the November elections — with each side ignoring the facts.

In reality, both sides have dropped the ball.


For example, Democrats are trying to blame Republicans for budget cuts to the Centers for Disease Control.  The CDC has had its budget slashed.

But Huffington Post notes that Obama also pushed for CDC cuts.  And McClatchy points out that both parties cut budgets for health.

Obama also largely ignored CDC’s recommendations for setting up Ebola centers around the world.

In addition, the health agencies have squandered money. For example, the Federalist notes:

A 2012 report on federal spending including the following nuggets about how NIH spends its supposedly tight funds:

  • a $702,558 grant for the study of the impact of televisions and gas generators on villages in Vietnam.
  • $175,587 to the University of Kentucky to study the impact of cocaine on the sex drive of Japanese quail.
  • $55,382 to study hookah smoking in Jordan.
  • $592,527 to study why chimpanzees throw objects.

Last year there were news reports about a $509,840 grant from NIH to pay for a study that will send text messages in “gay lingo” to meth-heads. There are many other shake-your-head examples of misguided spending that are easy to find.

The Daily Mail adds:

  • The NIH budget included $2.4 million for a new condom design whose inventor is now being investigated for fraud [The article explains:  ” ‘Origami Condom’ creator Daniel Resnic is accused of spending NIH grant dollars on cosmetic surgery, a Playboy Mansion party and exotic trips, and using his friends as informal research subjects instead of holding a controlled human trial”]
  • Another $939,000 taught scientists that male fruit flies prefer younger females
  • $257,000 went to create a companion website for first lady Michelle Obama’s White House garden
  • It cost $592,000 to determine that chimpanzees with the best poop-flinging skills are also the best communicators, and another $117,000 to learn that most chimps are right-handed

Indeed, some worry that the head of the Centers for Disease Control is more focused on stopping soda than deadly diseases.

This is very similar to all of the wasted defense spending.


Republicans blame the Democratic president and his Democratic CDC director for their failure to stop Ebola. And they have been doing an absolutely horrible job.

However, private healthcare – championed by Republicans – has been an absolute train wreck in dealing with Ebola.

Additionally, managers of the private hospitals are gagging the nurses, so they can’t say what’s really going wrong.  For example:

In a Washington Post story on October 12, about how many US hospitals seem not well prepared for Ebola infected patients, appeared this from Bonnie Castillo, director of Registered Nurse Response Network, part of the union, National Nurses United,

Castillo said the union has been trying to contact nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man diagnosed with Ebola, died Wednesday.

‘That hospital has issued a directive to all hospital staff not to speak to press,’ Castillo said. ‘That is a grave concern because we need to hear from those front-line workers. We need to hear what happened there. … They have them on real lockdown. There is great fear. This hospital is not represented by a union. Our sense is they are afraid to speak out.’

The Los Angeles Times story included,

The Dallas nurses asked the union to read their statement so they could air complaints anonymously and without fear of losing their jobs, National Nurses United Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro said from Oakland.


The AP story of October 15 stated,

The Presbyterian nurses are not represented by Nurses United or any other union. DeMoro and Burger said the nurses claimed they had been warned by the hospital not to speak to reporters or they would be fired. ***

Covering up information vitally needed by health care professionals, other institutions, the government, etc to better manage a potentially fatal disease that is already epidemic in other countries appears completely unethical.  Doing so to preserve the reputation of managers seems reprehensible.  But the implication of the recent stories is that is what happened. 

Moreover, health experts say that local governments have the ultimate authority to make decisions on handling Ebola and overseeing hospitals in their area.  The CDC can set protocols – which are widely followed.  But it is the local governments which have the power to actually issue orders.

Conservatives are against big government, and think that power should devolve to state and local governments.  But so far – at least in dealing with Ebola – local governments like Dallas have done a horrible job.

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