Obama’s spec­tac­u­lar in­com­pe­tence turns deadly

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - BY JOSEPH CURL

It was only a mat­ter of time. Pres­i­dent Obama, a short-term col­lege pro­fes­sor and failed com­mu­nity or­ga­nizer who be­came a mostly ab­sen­tee state se­na­tor and then an all­but-in­vis­i­ble U.S. se­na­tor, has Pe­tered out. Per the Peter Prin­ci­ple, he has risen to his level of in­com­pe­tence — some would ar­gue far beyond it.

The pres­i­dent — and the pres­i­dent alone — let Ebola into Amer­ica. He could have made one phone call (even on Satur­day, when play­ing his 200th round of golf as pres­i­dent) and said one sen­tence to pro­tect all Americans from the usu­ally fa­tal dis­ease: “No one from West Africa gets into the coun­try.”

Done. That sin­gle sen­tence would have kept Thomas Eric Dun­can, a Liberian who had car­ried an Ebola suf­ferer back into her home after she was turned away at a hos­pi­tal, out of Dal­las. While he lied on an air­port ques­tion­naire about whether he had had con­tact with any­one suf­fer­ing the dis­ease, and while hos­pi­tal work­ers blun­dered badly even though they knew he has been in Liberia, the bot­tom line is Dun­can would not have been in Amer­ica had the pres­i­dent banned vis­i­tors from Ebola-stricken coun­tries. Sim­ple.

Many African coun­tries have in­sti­tuted such bans, and most Americans think such a ban would be a good idea, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent survey. But Team Obama and his band of in­com­pe­tent min­ions ar­gue that shut­ting off flights from af­fected coun­tries would “harm” the econ­omy. Ab­surd.

Mr. Obama’s stun­ning in­com­pe­tence fil­ters down to all who work for him (and in many cases, were hand-picked by him). His di­rec­tor of the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion, the in­com­pe­tent Dr. Tom Frieden, has spent the last few weeks not — as one would ex­pect — ramp­ing up re­sponse to the deadly virus, but re­peat­edly say­ing there is vir­tu­ally no threat to Americans.

Then, of course, Ebola landed in the U.S., first at Dulles air­port, then DFW. De­spite as­sur­ances, a nurse con­tracted the dis­ease, although we were told health care pro­fes­sion­als were fol­low­ing the strictest pro­to­col.

On Wed­nes­day, another nurse tested pos­i­tive. While the CDC claims hos­pi­tals are ready for the cri­sis, the sec­ond nurse had flown on a com­mer­cial plane the day be­fore she re­ported de­vel­op­ing symp­toms of in­fec­tion. Now, another 132 peo­ple may have come into di­rect con­tact with the virus — and those peo­ple have no doubt had con­tact with hun­dreds of oth­ers.

Mean­while, back at the White House, Team Obama is in full panic mode — but only for po­lit­i­cal rea­sons. Although the pres­i­dent flew to a fundraiser in Colorado on Sept. 12, 2012 — just hours after four Americans were slaugh­tered by ter­ror­ists — Mr. Obama on Wed­nes­day sud­denly can­celed plans to at­tend two fundrais­ers. He hastily sched­uled a meet­ing on Ebola.

That move fol­lowed another on Satur­day, when The First Golfer, al­ready in his limo pre­par­ing for yet another round of golf, de­layed his out­ing so he could take a phone call from Health and Hu­man Ser­vices Sec­re­tary Sylvia Bur­well. The move was pure pol­i­tics: He couldn’t very well take that call on the way to the course, and by stay­ing at the White House, he was able to call in the pho­tog­ra­phers, who moved pho­tos of him “work­ing.”

Ebola is now Mr. Obama’s Ka­t­rina. But where Pres­i­dent George W. Bush was try­ing to mo­bi­lize thou­sands of res­cue work­ers and tons of sup­plies for a sur­pris­ingly dam­ag­ing hur­ri­cane, Mr. Obama could have pre­vented the ar­rival of a cat­a­strophic ill­ness that had been stomp­ing across Africa for months. With three words: “No one in.”

Dur­ing Au­gust, when Ebola was emerg­ing as a world­wide threat, Mr. Obama was play­ing golf daily on Martha’s Vine­yard. He did not di­rect his top ad­vis­ers and Cab­i­net sec­re­taries to leap into emer­gency mode. No Drama Obama made it all sound like ev­ery­thing was peachy (while throw­ing salt in the wound that was Fer­gu­son, Mis­souri).

But with an elec­tion just three weeks away, the pres­i­dent is sud­denly en­gaged. Ev­ery day brings more an­nounce­ments of blue-rib­bon meet­ings on Ebola, more pic­tures of him hard at work solv­ing the world’s prob­lems (no re­porters, so no ques­tions). There was even sud­den talk of him go­ing to Dal­las to make it all OK.

The White House has re­peat­edly used one word to de­scribe the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s re­sponse to the Ebola cri­sis: “Tena­cious.”

The real word that ap­plies though is “men­da­cious.” Or “fal­la­cious.” Any other claim is au­da­cious.

Joseph Curl cov­ered the White House and pol­i­tics for a decade for The Wash­ing­ton Times. He can be reached at josephcurl@gmail.com and on Twit­ter @josephcurl.



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