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“Paging Dr. Christie, Dr Cuomo”: When Did Chris Christie And Andrew Cuomo Go To Medical School?

Just when you thought the Republican slime-ballers had run out of muck, you discover, no, they have more mud to throw at honorable people. And they are not just smearing Barack Obama. This time, they are disparaging the doctors and scientists at the National Institutes of Health and depicting them as weak-willed tools of the Democratic Party. If Americans fall for this, they may get the government they deserve—stripped of honest science and trustworthy decisions.

Republicans are not stupid, but they are shameless. They know people are rattled by the stealthy emergence of Ebola and that media hype has reflexively pumped up the danger and public confusion. NIH experts calmly explained what has to be done to defeat the disease and assured nervous citizens that healthcare teams are on the case. The GOP saw opportunity in unfolding tragedy and rushed to exploit it.

A political hack named Ed Rogers, corporate lobbyist and White House insider under Republican presidents, chortled gleefully over the political twist. His op-ed in The Washington Post hailed the brave governors of New York and New Jersey—Democrat Cuomo and Republican Christie—for intervening with a common-sense response. Any doctor or nurse who had gone to West Africa to treat Ebola victims should be automatically locked up in quarantine when they return home.

Rogers boasted, “If there is a Republican wave in the elections next Tuesday, pundits may well claim that it fully formed when Christie and Cuomo decided to go their own way with an Ebola strategy, despite objections from the White House.” People will be reassured by their common-sense intervention, he said, because “voters don’t trust the president to do the right thing and they are less likely to vote for those who echo the president’s blasé response.”

Actually, this know-nothing attack was launched by two well-known cynics of politics, both of whom lust after presidential ambitions. What Ed Rogers left out of the slime ball aimed at Obama is that it actually smeared some of the most experienced, knowledgeable and principled employees of the federal government. The real question at stake is whether the GOP demagoguery will succeed in destroying yet another citadel of advanced science and public values.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who played a significant role in the successful war against AIDS/HIV, has explained patiently and repeatedly why rigid quarantines of healthcare workers would actually increase the dangers. “The best way to protect the US is to stop the epidemic in Africa and we need those healthcare workers so we do not want to put them in a position where it makes it very, very uncomfortable for them to even volunteer.”

If political pollsters were more devoted to the public interest than their political clients, they would ask people this question: Whom do you most trust to handle the battle against Ebola—Dr. Fauci, the longtime leader of the national Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, or Chris Christie, the author of political vendettas against Jersey mayors who failed to support him? Or do people think Andrew Cuomo knows more than Anthony Fauci about how to organize the global counterattack against this dread disease?

The questions sound ludicrous, but they need to be asked. Once these guys finish with New York and New Jersey, they want to run the country. Let me restate the question in a harsher way people can understand: Who do you think will manage to kill more people with Ebola—Dr. Fauci or Governors Cuomo and Christie, the political twins?

Senator Elizabeth Warren, as she often does, is pushing back hard against the irresponsible politicians. On CBS This Morning, she said Christie “should bring out his scientists who are advising him on that because we know that we want to be led by the science. That’s what’s going to keep people safe—science, not politics.”

She went further and suggested the Republican party may have blood on its hands because it has pushed hard to cut NIH spending and thus research on the Ebola virus. “So now we’re in a position where instead of making those investments upfront, we wait until people die and now we’re going to spend billions of dollars and some real risk to our country.”

Good question. Why don’t reporters ask Dr. Christie and Dr Cuomo?

 

By: William Greider, The Nation, October 29, 2014

October 31, 2014 Posted by | Andrew Cuomo, Chris Christie, Ebola | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The GOP Conundrum: An Aversion To ‘Too Many Facts’

Republican pollster Ed Rogers recently reflected on “the psychology of GOP activists,” most notably in the context of the presidential nominating contest. (via DougJ)

Our team wants someone authentic, creative, fresh, bold and likeable. And we don’t have much tolerance for too many facts or too much information. In politics, a bumper sticker always beats an essay. Cain’s 9-9-9 is a bumper sticker; Romney’s economic plan is an essay. Perry’s rationale for giving the children of undocumented workers in-state college tuition rates is an essay. No hand-outs for illegal aliens is an effective bumper sticker.

It may seem rather insulting to rank-and-file Republican voters to hear a prominent GOP pollster say they have an aversion to “facts” and “information,” but that only makes Rogers’ candor that much more refreshing. His assessment may be mildly impolite, but it seems fair given what we’ve seen in Republican politics of late.

My larger concern, though, isn’t limited to Republican voters’ discomfort with evidence. The real problem, it seems to me, is that these voters are represented by Republican policymakers who also “don’t have much tolerance for too many facts or too much information.”

I continue to believe the radicalization of the Republican Party is the most important political development in recent decades, but it’s accompanied by a related trend: GOP officials who simply don’t take public policy seriously.

With Rogers’ assessment in mind, it’s tempting to think Republican lawmakers in Congress, for example, simply dumb things down for public consumption. They avoid depth of thought because these officials know their supporters “don’t have much tolerance for too many facts or too much information.”

But are they dumbing things down or are the shallow sound-bites a reflection of their own limited understanding of contemporary debates?

It would seem this dynamic contributes to the “wonk gap” — which has been evident for quite some time — leaving us with conservative “experts” who don’t even fully appreciate the details of policy debates in their own fields.

I’m reminded of something Jon Chait wrote in January, after National Review published a defense of a health care policy argument that was, on its face, ridiculous.

Most people are not policy wonks. We rely on trusted specialists to translate these details for us. This is true as well of elected officials and their advisors. Part of the extraordinary vitriol of the health care debate stems from the fact that, on the Republican side, even the specialists believe things that are simply patently untrue. As with climate change and supply-side economics, there isn’t even a common reality upon which to base the discussion.

Paul Krugman added at the time the wonk gap goes well beyond health care: “Monetary policy, fiscal policy, you name it, there’s a gap…. [T]o meet the right’s standards of political correctness now, you have to pass into another dimension, a dimension whose boundaries are that of imagination, untrammeled by things like arithmetic or logic.”

The issue is not just someone on the left thinking those on the right have the wrong answers. Rather, the issue is the lack of intellectual seriousness on the right, making it impossible to get beyond the questions. Much of this, I suspect, is the result of an entire party that doesn’t “have much tolerance for too many facts or too much information.”

By: Steve Benen, Contributing Writer, Washington Monthly Political Animal, October 31, 2011

November 1, 2011 Posted by | Elections, GOP Presidential Candidates | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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