- - Friday, October 31, 2014

When did Ebola turn into a Left vs. Right political cage match? All of a sudden we’ve got an Ebola nurse, Kaci Hickox, reinventing herself as the new lefty “in your face, you stupid hayseeds” Internet scold. She’s got lawyers - the kind of lawyers who visit the White House on occasion - and liberals are rallying around her, insisting that her words must be accepted without question, and anyone who criticizes her in any way is an anti-science boob.

No surprises that liberals would look for any excuse to scream “SHUT UP!” at people they don’t like. This all began as a spat between Ms. Hickox and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who insisted Ms. Hickox be placed in mandatory quarantine after she returned from treating Ebola victims in West Africa. Of course, liberals are happy to have an excuse to beat up a Republican governor, especially one with a confrontational style who might have presidential aspirations.

The reporting on the New Jersey quarantine flap was horrible. Practically no one in the mainstream media bothered to mention that Ms. Hickox was running a fever when she was ushered into quarantine. She was tested with a forehead thermometer - the very same test the CDC has been assuring us, for most of the past year, would be our front line of defense against Ebola carriers arriving at airports. Later she was tested again, and it turned out the original reading of a fever was inaccurate. Hickox claims her body temperature read high because she was upset and flushed during the test. Why the heck is an Ebola nurse who works for the CDC upset by the test she had to know was coming?

The media also relayed her claims about the horrors of her quarantine in New Jersey without noting that she was clearly exaggerating the story. State authorities quietly pointed out that she had access to food, entertainment, and the Internet that she claimed not to have. The media just kind of ignored that, so the country got a story about a brave woman humiliated by wrapping her plastic and stuffing her in a closet.

There’s also a movement by liberals to attack anyone who asks questions about Nurse Hickox’s political background, or her relationship with the CDC. I guess we’re not supposed to know anything about her, or ask what her motivations could be. We’re just supposed to accept her as the new symbol of Science. When did “news” become more about not asking questions than asking them?

But let’s say New Jersey officials didn’t handle that quarantine as well as they could have. Let’s say Mr. Christie didn’t handle public relations very well. As soon as Hickox was out of Jersey, she was picking a fight with her home state of Maine, which politely asked her to observe a voluntary 21-day isolation period, which should be good enough to clear her of infection risk. She told them to go to hell, hopped on a bicycle and took a ride with reporters chasing her. She might not have Ebola - let’s hope not, for her sake, and everyone she’s come into contact with - but she’s got a really bad case of media hunger. Maybe she should go into isolation until her 15 minutes of fame are over.

This whole story is ridiculous. There’s nothing unreasonable about asking people directly exposed to Ebola in Africa, while treating people who died from it, to observe a few weeks of isolation after they get back. It doesn’t have to be some horrible ordeal in a plastic tent with a portable potty. But we’ve also seen that it needs to be more than doctors and nurses isolating themselves for as long as they see fit. We just watched a doctor named Craig Spencer have a big night on the town, with a stop at the bowling alley, on the night before he started showing Ebola symptoms. It’s not “panic” or “hysteria” for the public to say, “let’s encourage that 21-day isolation a bit more vigorously, just to be on the safe side.”

It’s also not insulting to Ebola doctors and nurses. That’s got to be one of the weirdest, dumbest talking points in history. Nobody, but nobody, thinks less of Ebola doctors because they isolate themselves for three weeks. It’s not a gesture of contempt. It’s not an insult. And for the love of God, it’s not even remotely comparable to putting people in concentration camps.

The last thing Americans nervous about Ebola needed was a bully, but that’s what we got. People wanted reasonable reassurances that the government and medical establishment, which dropped the ball over and over again during the first Ebola incident in Texas, had their act together. Instead, we get liberals screaming at us to forget everything that happened over the last three weeks, because criticizing the CDC is a shameless Republican plot to use Ebola as a way to steal the election. We get a nurse hiring lawyers and going to battle against state governments that think the official CDC guidelines might not be stringent enough. Weren’t those guidelines supposed to be, you know, guidelines? I guess now they’re mandatory, enforced by every kind of bullying President Obama and his supporters can think up.

For your unimaginable gall, selfishness and your complete inconsideration for the health of literally the entire nation, you, Kaci Hickox ,are the hands down Liberal Bully Of The Week!

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