Former Florida Governor and possible future Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) has joined the chorus of politicians jumping on the Ebola bandwagon, and trying to run President Obama over with it.
Even as controversy continues to swirl around quarantine orders issued by governors from both parties, and political and media figures demand travel restrictions, public health experts remain unanimous in their opposition to either measure. On Tuesday, Obama remained in the science camp, delivering a 10-minute update on the Ebola response that was heavy on thinly-veiled shots at measures like Governor Chris Christie's imprisonment of a perfectly healthy nurse. Here's a taste:
"When we have volunteers who are taking time out from their families, from their loved ones and so forth, to go over there because they have a very particular expertise to tackle a very difficult job, we want to make sure that when they come back that we are prudent, that we are making sure that they are not at risk themselves or at risk of spreading the disease, but we don't want to do things that aren’t based on science and best practices. Because if we do, then we’re just putting another barrier on somebody who’s already doing really important work on our behalf."
Also on Tuesday, Jeb Bush slammed President Obama's response to the Ebola crisis, apparently because the President is simultaneously causing unnecessary fear, and failing to be fearful enough:
Bush said Obama should have been more "clear and concise" about his plans, and lent more credibility to health officials leading the response.
"It looked very incompetent to begin with, and that fueled fears that may not be justified," Bush said. "And now you have states that are legitimately acting on their concerns, creating a lot more confusion than is necessary."
So, the fears aren't justified, but the responses to the unjustified fears are legitimate, and it's all Obama's fault. Got it. That's pretty standard blame-Obama-no-matter-what boilerplate. Here's the interesting part: Bush, who says he supports travel restrictions for the affected nations, also compared President Obama's response, unfavorably, with his own response to the 2001 anthrax attacks:
"We gave people a sense of calm, what the plan was," Bush said. "We talked in plainspoken English. We were totally engaged."
That's a pretty stupid comparison on its own, and his criticism of President Obama's response is so vague that it can't really even be evaluated on the merits (if anything, Obama is too engaged on the topic of a disease that currently inhabits one American), but since he brought it up, what, exactly, was Jeb Bush's response to the 2001 anthrax attacks? Stop me if you've heard this one:
Gov. Jeb Bush came to South Florida today, urging calm in a community that for weeks has been on the verge of panic about exposures to anthrax.
''I think while people have to be vigilant and they have to be aware to the new realities, they cannot be paralyzed into not traveling, or not going out to a restaurant or not driving down Yamato Drive,'' the governor said, referring to one of the main thoroughfares here.