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Obama's Ebola Dilemma

An Ebola plague would decimate Obama's staunchest supporters.

By Petrarch  |  October 8, 2014

Even the furthest left pundits are beginning to notice that Obama is having a rather bad year in which just about everything is going wrong.  We've got a still-flatlined economy after 6 "summers of recovery," a new terrorist state in Iraq conquering all using our own weapons, and now we even have a Biblical plague in the form of Ebola.  As the Dallas Weekly accidentally but memorably put it, "Taste of Africa Comes To Dallas!"

Which raises some pretty fundamental questions.  Ebola is, at this point anyway, an African disease, just as terrorism is 99% a Muslim disease.  America is blessed by not being in Africa and by not being Islamic.

Why, then, haven't we taken the obvious precaution of shutting our borders to people coming from the afflicted parts of the world?  If the FAA has the power to summarily forbid American flights to Israel, one supposes it could do the same to Africa or anywhere else.

But no.  No less than the director of the CDC made the hair-raising claim that quarantining the countries which are the source of the Ebola virus wouldn't help:

"Though we might wish we can seal ourselves off from the world, there are Americans who have the right of return and many other people that have the right to enter this country," Dr. Thomas Frieden told a press conference. "We're not going to be able to get to zero risk no matter what we do unless we control the outbreak in West Africa."

Frieden added that a travel ban could make it difficult to get medical supplies and aid workers to the affected regions in West Africa. 

"We really need to be clear that we don't inadvertently increase the risk to people in this country by making it harder for us to respond to the needs in those countries," he said, "by making it harder to get assistance in and therefore those outbreaks would become worse, go on longer, and paradoxically, something that we did to try and protect ourselves might actually increase our risk."

This statement is a masterpiece of apparent logic that falls apart if you look at it closely.  Dr. Frieden is absolutely right that sealing the borders would not get us to zero risk, but simply reducing the risk is not a sufficient justification?  Isn't that the exact opposite of the "precautionary principle" that we see so often applied to the most extreme regulatory assaults on liberty, such as the manifold rules and taxes that have been proposed to address so-called "climate change"?

We also see that favorite of politicians, the straw-man argument.  Yes, it would be a bad and immoral idea to hamper the efforts of the affected countries to attempt to deal with the disease "by making it harder to get assistance in" - which of course is why exactly nobody is suggesting anything of the sort.  The world is pretty much unanimous about wanting to send aid and experts into the danger zone.  The question is about letting potentially infected people out.

When Politics Blinds You To Reality

It might almost seem that the Obama administration has an ironclad dedication to the principle of open borders no matter what, even at the risk of permitting an apocalyptic epidemic to kill countless Americans.  The train of thought might be that closing our borders to Ebola would inherently demonstrate that our borders can be closed, and then Americans would quickly learn to like the good effects of finally getting rid of the problems that illegal immigration brings, thus preventing any more "undocumented Democrats" from flooding our body politic and our polls.  For any political leader to risk the deaths of his citizens for his own personal political gain is grotesque if not treasonous.

Certainly, some pundits are making this accusation.  We can't speak to what's in Obama's heart, but if that's what he's thinking he's even more deluded than he seems because it won't work out that way.

Consider the facts on the ground.  Ebola spreads like wildfire in places which are poorly educated, badly governed, and technologically unsophisticated.  It can spread to some degree in places like Spain with modern healthcare systems where most people exercise reasonable personal hygiene, but not nearly so quickly and with a tiny fraction of the death toll.

Ebola has been brought to this country by highly educated missionary doctors as well as by ordinary Africans.  The results could not be more different.

The missionary doctors were brought back to America with every possible precaution and taken straight to the world's most advanced medical center.  So far as we know, nobody else has been exposed to their infection.  At least one of them is now cured.

Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who traveled from Monrovia to Dallas, actively lied on his immigration paperwork so as to be allowed into the country, didn't seek medical treatment until he was already very sick, then lied again at the hospital when asked if he'd been anywhere near Ebola.  Where the doctors risked their lives to help the needy, Mr. Duncan risked the lives of countless thousands for his own convenience.

What happened when Mr. Duncan got sick?  He infected his entire neighborhood, and quite understandably many of their neighbors want nothing to do with them.

It gets worse: His bodily filth was left in his apartment where other people were living for most of a week.  Forget Ebola; what sort of people leave blood, feces, and sweat-stained linens lying around their home?  People who have not been properly trained in modern First World hygiene - in other words, Third Worlders and the poor.  Put another way: Obama voters.

Is Ebola going to be the scourge of the country-club set?  Of course not; they'll hole up in their mansions surrounded by bottles of every possible disinfectant, which the CDC says should make them safe enough.

Is Ebola going to ravage the great American middle classes?  For the most part, no: they know enough to stay clean, keep away from the sick, and seek medical treatment immediately if they develop any symptoms.  As we've seen, when promptly and thoroughly treated, Ebola can be cured.

Illegal immigrants and inner-city slum dwellers won't have those advantages.  They may even resist offers of help; there have been reports of attacks on medical teams trying to combat the plague in Africa and it's not unheard of for ambulances to come back with bullet holes in them from ghetto runs in American cities.

In short: the end result of an American Ebola epidemic would mainly affect the Democrats' core constituencies.  Mr. Obama ought to be doing everything within his power to keep Ebola out, out of nothing more than rational self-interest for future elections!

Unshakable Faith in a Lie

Yet he's not.  Does he somehow trust that the CDC can handle anything that might happen?  This faith is touching but the past decade or two would raise concerns about government confidence in the heart of the staunchest socialist.  For sure, a clear majority of Americans don't trust government to protect them.

Even the President of the United States himself has ample cause to doubt the competence of his own guardians.  Has Mr. Obama paid no attention to the recent security scandals with his own Secret Service, in which armed nuts repeatedly ran rings around America's Finest?  If the Secret Service can't effectively protect Mr. Obama from lone gunmen, how can they possibly protect him from an invisible virus?

No, Mr. Obama is not refusing to quarantine Ebola-infested countries as part of some sinister plot to further illegal immigration.  There's no conspiracy here.

There's just that hallmark of the Obama administration for the past six years: total, mindboggling incompetence and not the slightest grasp on reality.  Which, in its own way, is just as bad if not worse: to pull off an effective conspiracy, you have to be competent.  We could do with some competence right now, but the "response" of the Obama administration to both ISIS and Ebola simply demonstrate more of their signature cavalcade of failure.