Being a political junky, my differences with the current administration are based in philosophy, economics and efficacy. But also, I realize that I’m in the vast minority of citizens who actually study policy from those platforms – rather than the usual “what does it do for me” place that many people consider. The interesting thing today is that, statistically, most Americans view the administration unfavorably as well. This is interesting because that same cohort of “most” Americans don’t know anything about most issues (e.g., don’t know what a Kurd is, can’t find Sierra Leone on a map, or have no idea why it’s important to them that GDP growth exceed population growth). What, then, are they upset about?
It has taken five or six years (as I say, most people don’t pay attention to Washington), but most people now see that government is a mess. They may not see the details, but they see that nothing we are doing is working. And, and this is problematic for the administration, they are beginning to see that they have been systematically lied to. Americans won’t stand for that.
The most recent case in point is the ebola outbreak. When Liberia was daily news fodder for the hundreds dying every day, we were told not to worry – it can’t come here. Then Thomas Eric Duncan showed up at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and tested positive for ebola. Not to worry, our hospitals are well equipped and well trained, we were told. Then it became known that he had shown up three days earlier, told them he was from Liberia, and was presenting with “flu-like symptoms.” They sent him home with some general purpose meds. Not to worry, we were told, Texas Health is a state-of-the-art hospital with a crack staff. Then Mr Duncan died and two of his nurses came down with ebola. By this time, people were getting worried – this is a hemorrhagic fever that liquefies your internal organs and is 70% fatal. This is serious stuff, and nothing government was telling us has turned out to be right.
While agencies and departments were wringing their hands trying to develop enhanced protocols (the ones we started with obviously weren’t working), we find out that Amber Vinson, the second nurse to be transfer-infected, flew commercially from Dallas to Cleveland and back – with a low grade fever! And she had called CDC to see if that was OK, and they said yes!! This was starting to panic the public – what are they doing in Washington? Is anyone paying attention to what is happening?
Finally, we were told not to worry, we were installing a new protocol to monitor passengers’ temperature before they get on a plane in Liberia, Sierra Leon and Guinea, and again when they get off at any one of the five designated airports for travel from those countries – JFK, Newark International, Hartsfield-Jackson [Atlanta], Dulles [Washington] and O’Hare [Chicago]. The only problem there is that it wouldn’t have caught Mr Duncan, and it didn’t catch Dr Craig Spencer, a Doctors Without Borders physician who had been in Guinea working with ebola patients and is now being treated for ebola at Bellevue Hospital in New York – our most densely populated city.
After all the hubbub and scrambling, Washington’s bright idea doesn’t work. Again.
It has gotten so bad that liberal Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York, and conservative Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey, have agreed to quarantine medical workers returning from Liberia, Sierra Leon and Guinea for 21 days upon arrival at one of their airports. If Washington can’t do something meaningful, the states may have to.
It’s this kind of serial incompetence that has normal people worried about the routine operation of government. When Democrats had total control of things, they gave us the stimulus, which turned out to be a massive political payback, and ObamaCare, which has turned out to be a miasma of unintelligible taxes, regulations, requirements and restrictions. People who normally don’t pay attention to what government is doing, are paying attention now, and that doesn’t bode well for Democrats next month.