IF OBAMA HAD DONE WHAT CONSERVATIVES DEMAND ON EBOLA, THEY WOULD HAVE DEMANDED SOMETHING ELSE
Right-wingers criticize President Obama for not imposing tough restrictions on people seeking to come to the U.S. from Ebola-stricken countries. But what if Obama's first response to Ebola fears had been exactly what conservatives are demanding?
I think they'd be denouncing the very policies they're now supporting.
Right-wingers hate Obama. To them, by definition, everything he does is wrong. Why would a tough policy from his administration -- a flight ban, or exclusion of those with West African visas, or mandatory quarantines even for the asymptomatic -- have been any different?
If he'd responded with tough policies, I think I know what would have happened. Recall that the first Ebola patient in America was Dr. Kent Brantly, a volunteer for Samaritan's Purse, a charity whose president is Franklin Graham, Billy Graham's son. The next Ebola patient in the U.S. was Nancy Writebol, a missionary with Samaritan's Purse.
Graham was disinvited from the National Prayer Breakfast in 2010 after a series of anti-Islam statements over a number of years (for instance, calling Islam "a very evil and wicked religion"). He's questioned whether Obama is really a Christian. He's claimed that the IRS targeted Samaritan's Purse as part of a crackdown on conservative group. Earlier this year, he said that members of the Obama administration "are anti-Christ in what they say and what they do."
So imagine if President Obama had decided to prevent the return of Brantly and Writebol to America. Imagine if he'd imposed strict rules on travel into America by those who live or have worked in Ebola-stricken countries.
The right-wing noise machine, which carefully calibrates a negative message in response to everything Obama says and does, would have said that the policy was directed at an Evangelical enemy of the president. We would have been told that it was part of the president's "war on Christianity." Even now, thanks to right-wing propaganda, the face of Ebola volunteerism wouldn't be what it is now -- a hipster doctor gallivanting in a trendy Brooklyn neighborhood, a nurse who's a registered Democrat. Instead, Fox News wold be flooded with images of noble Christian volunteers lamenting the fact that Obama won't let them come home for Christmas. (Christmas!)
Instead of portraying the federal government as a collection of bumblers, the right would portray it as the instrument of big-government totalitarianism. Oh, but it would be selective totalitarianism -- Obama won't seal the Mexican border, but he's turning away Christian missionaries who were born here.
I can't prove that this is what would have happened. But I've watched the right for two long to be in any doubt: nothing Obama did about Ebola would have satisfied them.