Left: Republicans love swine flu or something

Via the boss, the dopey slow-news-day meme du jour. This line of attack is familiar to all fiscal conservatives — X opposed spending on Y, ergo X hates Y — but I can’t figure out which prefab lefty narrative Collins’s opposition to putting flu prep in the stimulus is supposed to vindicate. Is it that conservatives don’t take biological threats seriously? The meta-narrative about us for the past eight years was, I thought, that we take threats too seriously and spend our days in the icy grip of hysterical fear (except over global warming, natch). Is it that Collins symbolizes the GOP’s mindless “party of no” opposition to spending? Can’t be — she voted for the stimulus, of course, and in any case, Chuck Schumer shed no tears about the flu money being stripped out. Is it that we’ve now been left dangerously short-handed by the lack of funding? I’m guessing not, since the program ended up being funded later anyway:

In December 2008, Collins, along with several of her Republican and Democratic colleagues, signed a letter in support of a $905 million increase for the public health and social service emergency fund, which was sent to Senate leadership.

“These additional funds are needed to enhance the nation’s preparedness against a bioterrorist event or an influenza pandemic,” said the letter.

The omnibus appropriations bill recently signed by President Obama included $156 million for pandemic flu preparedness, an increase in funding from last year, Kelley said.

Her issue with flu prep, in other words, wasn’t that we were spending money on it, only that she didn’t think it was sufficiently “stimulative” to warrant inclusion in the stimulus bill rather than in the general appropriations bill. In which case, what exactly is the objection here? Is there some oblique, lefty boilerplate “Collins is a racist” nuance to all this that we’re just not getting?

Be honest, though. As dumb as this attack is, you’re simply glowing at the poetic justice of her having to squirm over one of the few, tiny, token cuts she demanded from the final bloated stimulus package. A lesson to congressional moderates: If you give the left only 99 percent of what it wants instead of the full 100, expect to be punished later. Exit question: The boss senses the JournoList crowd is trying to distract us from something with this meme. She’s just being cynical, right?