By Mark Green
Thousands of AIDs cases but POTUS40 does nothing. Three Ebola patients in Dallas and POTUS44 sends 4000 troops/medical personnel to WAfrica, creates CDC SWAT teams, appoints Czar -- NOT ENOUGH says GOP! Ebola Derangement Syndrome? Rons Reagan and Christie debate U.S. response to virus and the Gaffes of 2014.
On Ebola. Three Americans have contracted Ebola as of this writing -- the same number that died from lighting in September, from guns in pat 40 minutes, from cancer in last four minutes -- yet there seems to be a collective shriek in the US as fear overtakes facts.
RReagan talks about the reality that a) Dallas Presbyterian was obviously caught short by country's first case of Ebola, making a series of mistakes (misdiagnosis, wrong protective gear) and b) the CDC, probably the most respected health agency in the world, misadvised a nurse with a temperature that she could travel. But he thinks that the White House is now getting on top of the problem and that an outbreak here is very unlikely.
RChristie, however, hits the Obama administration hard for not appearing to know what they are doing and not communicating accurately or confidently. "Why hasn't he given a national address on his plans? There's a question of competence and expediency before the midterms." All acknowledge that it's hard hitting the right balance between panic and candor... but it's somewhere between the local mayor saying everything was honkie dorie in Jaws as body parts were washed ashore and Richard Dreyfuss on his relentless mission.
Also, Christie criticizes "Czar" Ron Klain: "he might be a fine lawyer but he's essentially a political operative and not a doctor." Reagan says that we don't need a doctor since there are plenty at CDC and NIH but we do need a manager to coordinate our best response to this virus's worst outbreak...not to mention the quadruple hypocrisy, according to the Host, of the GOP opposing "czars" at the White House, blocking Obama's pick for Surgeon General for over a year, then urging a Czar for Ebola, then attacking Klain within minutes of being named it. And despite Gov. Jindal's early post-2012 admonition that the GOP should stop being "the stupid party," he and many colleagues are using the crisis to argue against immigration reform.
The Rons bicker about who's to blame for reduced public health budgets (in real dollars) that hamper our response to Ebola and a cure as well as whether a travel ban would help contain or spread the disease. Christie's for it citing Ellis Island a century ago; Reagan wonders what RC and other Republicans know that all health professionals and Obama -- and Bush43, refusing a similar travel ban because of swine flu -- don't. That is, a ban would impede treatment and containment there, make it harder to detect and treat infected people who could still get to the US because of "broken travel."
Christie predicts that Obama will give in to pressure and allow some kind of travel ban. The Host thinks he won't because someone needs to be adult and who better than a reelected, term-limited, science-focused President...and he predicts, to himself, that Ebola will shortly join Obamacare/Fast-Furious/BP Spill/Benghazi/IRS/"you-didn't-build-that" on a list of faux scandals that served their political purpose awaiting the next one on CLNs (Chicken Little News Networks).
On Student Debt. We talk with Suzanne Martindale of Consumer Reports about exploding student debt, at $1.2 trillion greater than credit card debt, as 7 of 10 students graduate college with an average debt of some $30,000. What to do about students getting squeezed between tuition hikes far above inflation and lower per capita income? Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) urges halving the interest rate charged (now 6.8 percent) to be financed by the Buffett Rule, imposing a tax rate on multi-millionaires and billionaires no lower than the one paid by their secretaries.
While that financing mechanism obviously divides Democrats and Republicans, the Rons acknowledge, they also agree that this is one area where government should significantly subsidize the social good of educating qualified students. This could be an area of bipartisan agreement in Obama's final two years or the next Congress since Republican members too have children and friends with children who need a lending hand. But how does the GOP agree to anything with a Tea Party framing everything into Makers-Takers framework?
The Rons agree that Gov Rick Scott might have lost his reelection bid when he balked, initially, at coming out for his debate with former Gov. Charlie Chris because he objected to the latter's use of fan under the podium. Left-and-Right voters don't like trivial pursuits. Late-night comedians have had a field day with Scott's gaffe and Chris may have a good election day as a result.
There's also consensus that, even though Obama has a 31 percent favorable rating in Kentucky, Democratic Senate nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes would have been smarter to have said that, "sure, I voted for the party best representing the working people of Kentucky even though I disagree with its president on x,y,z."
Christie and Reagan split on Wendy Davis's ad using the image of a wheelchair to attack Greg Abbott's alleged hypocrisy in using tort law to get millions in restitution while denying access to courts for others with injuries. RChristie objects to the image of signaling that the Republican is a "cripple" while RReagan replies that it's simply a well-known fact that Abbott is in a wheelchair and believes in "tort deform."
Mark Green is the creator and host of Both Sides Now.
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