The Republican Caucus Room conspiracy is putting all of our lives at risk.
As the condition of Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man diagnosed with Ebola in Texas, continues to worsen, and as fears over Ebola spreading in the US continue to grow, the right-wing media is lashing out at the US surgeon general.
So who is the surgeon general?
The surgeon general is the United States’ top doc.
He or she gives unbiased information to the American people about health crises and health risks.
It’s the surgeon general’s responsibility to educate the people and help us understand what we do and don’t need to worry about.
The surgeon general helps cut through all of the fear-mongering and misinformation.
But the folks over at Breitbart don’t think that the surgeon general is doing his/her job.
In a recent piece, Breitbart points out that, “The official website of the Surgeon General of the United States has nothing to say about Ebola prevention and detection, other than an old press release about relief efforts in Liberia.”
Well, there’s a good reason for that.
The US doesn’t have a surgeon general right now, and it’s all because of Republicans’ non-stop efforts to sabotage the Obama presidency.
Back in November of last year, President Obama nominated Dr. Vivek Murthy to take over the role of the nation’s top doc.
Murthy is more than qualified for the position, but unfortunately, he did something that many in Washington won’t: he stood up to the NRA.
In a letter sent to members of Congress in his capacity has co-founder of the health-care advocacy group Doctors for America, Murthy wrote that, “As health care professionals who are confronted with the human cost of gun violence every day, we are unwavering in our belief that strong measures to reduce gun violence must be taken immediately. We strongly urge Congress and the Obama administration to put legislation in place now and develop a comprehensive plan to reduce gun-related injuries and deaths.”
Naturally, those strong words against gun violence in the US caught the ire of the NRA, which in turn got its Republican cronies in the Senate, along with some red state Democrats, to put Murthy’s nomination on hold.
For more than a year now, the US has been without a surgeon general.
So, just how big a deal is that, especially in the face of a growing Ebola outbreak?
Well, as former US Surgeon General Regina Benjamin put it, “The surgeon general is America’s doctor, delivering information to the American people in a language they can understand. Not having one right now, you don’t have that face and that person that the American people can identify with as their doctor who’s looking out for them on a large scale.”
And as MSNBC’s Krystal Ball pointed out in a recent op-ed, “This role is exactly what prior surgeons general have filled in times of heightened public health anxiety. When faced with the threat of bird-flu, for example, the surgeon general at the time, Richard Carmona, talked to the public about prevention, pressured drug makers to ramp up production of effective treatments. He also educated us on risks associated with the disease and kept us updated on its status.”
But, thanks to Republicans, the US is without its top doctor, during a time when we need him or her more than ever.
Our lack of a surgeon general traces all the way back to the night of January 20, 2009, the day that President Obama was sworn in as Commander-in-Chief.
At the Caucus Room restaurant here in Washington DC, top Republican lawmakers and strategists held a private dinner, where they hatched a plan to sabotage and undermine the Obama presidency.
In fact, they even pledged to use Taliban-like tactics.
In an interview the National Journal back in March of 2009, Republican Congressman Pete Sessions said that the Republicans would take a page out of the Taliban playbook.
He said, “Taliban Insurgency, we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban. Insurgency is the way they went about systematically understanding how to disrupt and change a person’s entire processes. And these Taliban – is an example of how you go about to change a person from their messaging, to their operations, to their frontline message. And we need to understand that Insurgency may be required when [dealing with Democrats on] the other side.”
The Texas Republican went on to say that -“If they [Democrats] do not give us those options or opportunities then we will then become Insurgency … I think Insurgency is a mindset and an attitude…”
Thanks to this Republican “insurgency” plan, the US is without its top doctor, while a deadly virus continues to grow and spread.
And, it’s that same “insurgency” plan that’s keeping Republican governors across the United States, like Texas’ Rick Perry, from expanding Medicaid coverage to millions of Americans, a move that would also help our country be better prepared for an epidemic.
So, next time you hear a Republican lawmaker or conservative pundit complaining about how we’re not ready to fight Ebola, just remember, they’re not really complaining.
They’re getting exactly what they wanted.
At the risk of all the rest of us.