I knew Democrats would start flipping on travel restrictions soon but I didn’t expect O’s own mouthpiece to lead the charge. We’re still in the early stages, though, so Carney’s statement here is carefully qualified: He mentions “flight restrictions,” which may or may not mean an outright travel ban, and he suggests that as only one of a variety of “substantive actions” that might be taken, like, say, moving sick patients to a hospital that can better handle Ebola.
Which, it so happens, is exactly what the CDC is going to do.
BREAKING: Nina Pham to be transported to NIH center in Bethesda, MD
— Varney & Co. (@Varneyco) October 16, 2014
Everything I’ve read lately about Pham says she’s been improving so I’m not sure why they’d want to move her cross-country now. Is it a courtesy to staff at the Dallas hospital, who’ve already seen two colleagues go down with the disease and don’t want any more exposure? Or has she taken a turn for the worse and needs advanced treatment at the NIH facility? Either way, not something that Americans want to hear when they’re wondering whether their own local hospital is up to this challenge.
One sort of obvious thought on flight restrictions/travel bans: The intensity with which the public supports them is probably inversely proportional to some degree to the public’s confidence in the government to effectively manage new cases of infection. Right? If the CDC had been johnny-on-the-spot about all this, sending a rapid response team to Dallas once Thomas Duncan was diagnosed and then diligently supervising the staff as they treated him, thus preventing further infections, more Americans would be chill about allowing people from western Africa in. The less competent government seems in preventing an outbreak, the more you’re going to see drastic measures, like a ban, gain support. And government seems awfully incompetent at the moment: Not only did the CDC tell Amber Vinson it was okay to fly with a mild fever, apparently they didn’t start encouraging airline personnel to ask sick travelers if they’ve been to western Africa lately until, er, yesterday. It tells you a lot about where we are right now vis-a-vis public confidence in Obama that Jay Carney is ready for some drastic measures to keep O from farking anything else up.
That said, let me give you a little reality check about all the “Is Ebola sinking Obama’s presidency?” stories circulating today. Here’s how his job approval looks since September 30th, the day the CDC confirmed Duncan as the first Ebola case in the United States:
Almost no change, and what change there is has been towards lower disapproval. He’s budged only a point or two in Gallup’s daily tracker since then as well. Maybe that starts to change now that there have been two Ebola transmissions and plenty of media coverage of the CDC seeming out of its depth, but I wouldn’t bet on it. O may have lost all the Hopenchange bandwagoners by now but that Democratic base is awfully loyal; 40 percent approval seems to be his absolute floor. At this point I figure you could have a Walking-Dead-style zombie outbreak in America and he might drop to 38 percent. It’ll take more incompetence than this for Dems to abandon him.