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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Because after all, what's the need for someone to coordinate health policy in a possible flu pandemic compared to scoring cheap political points?
Posted by Jill | 5:25 AM
Yesterday I was walking around saying to anyone who was talking about the swine flu, "It's Captain Trips, man!" -- a reference to Stephen King's mammoth tome The Stand, about the battle between good and evil that results after a "superflu" project hatched in a government facility goes awry and kills off most of the world's population. It's still possible to joke now, and I was actually surprised last night to see that the coverage of the problem on network news programs was surprisingly responsible and not at all hysterical -- a small miracle given the breathless coverage given every time a pretty, young white woman goes missing. I suppose this eschewing the temptation to hype the story for ratings means the swine flu is going to be a very serious problem, perhaps on a 1918 level, before it's all over, and it's certainly a cause for some concern at this point.

But among Washington Republicans, the flu isn't a huge public health threat. Perhaps they believe it's one of the tribulations that's inevitable before Jesus comes back. Or maybe it's that the potential for a pandemic pales before the need to score cheap political points with the Palin/Wurtzelbacher crowd by continuing their already-lost culture war against abortion in their filibuster of Kathleen Sibelius' nomination to head HHS.

Greg Sargent:

So Kathleen Sebelius will get her confirmation vote as Health and Human Services secretary tomorrow in the Senate — but even with the flu outbreak, her confirmation will still have to clear a big hurdle, requiring 60 votes.

So says the office of GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell, anyway.

As you know, Senate Republicans have been filibustering Sebelius over lingering questions about her views on late-term abortions and some campaign contributions she received from an abortion doctor. Late last week, the Senate Dem leadership announced that in the face of GOP opposition, they had agreed with Republicans to bring Sebelius’ confirmation to the floor for a vote tomorrow that would indeed require the 60 votes.

An update to the post indicates a tip from a Senate Republican aide who predicts passage when the vote comes up today, but don't underestimate the Republicans' willingness to do their lunatic base's bidding, even at the cost of just plain common sense.

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Blogger Jayhawk said...
An outbreak of a communicable disease is monitored by the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, which is not part of HHS, is not under the oversight of the Secretary of HHS, and is not even fully part of the US Government. It is fully staffed and its management staff is fully in place. It is monitoring the outbreak and is releasing public statements on a regular and as-needed basis.

Blogger Jayhawk said...
I withdraw part of that, CDC is under the HHS, but it does have a current director. Whether Sibelius will replace remaims to be seen.

Blogger WenD said...
Regardless of whether or not the CDC is hampered without a Sec, I think the larger point is the predictable behavior of the political gang that hides behind
"The Children" whenever they're called upon to fulfill larger goals for their base (i.e. Big Churches, etc.)

I just finished Jimmy Breslin's book about the Catholic Church. He cites several cases of the Church going out of it's way to bully members over abortion while ignoring, discrediting, and finally blaming rape victims. The actions of the priests/rapists and their defenders have bankrupted the Church. Sound familiar?

Having the HHS nom spin on a link to a medical procedure that * isn't * torture seems asinine at best.

Anonymous Anonymous said...