How refreshing to hear something resembling candor in the Obama administration's public pronouncements on the threat from Ebola.
Problem is, the implications of what is being said with this newfound candor are ominous to say the least, a flabbergasted Rush Limbaugh outlined for his radio listeners yesterday. (Audio) --
LIMBAUGH: ... Some of the highlights from the congressional hearing on Capitol Hill today, House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing on the Ebola crisis, Dr. Thomas Frieden .... Oh he's got a new answer here .... I don't believe this, we gotta play this one! I just basically scanned this one. This Frieden guy, he's got to want to be thrown out of office here. You just gotta hear this! I don't want to characterize it before I actually here it. I don't want to tell you what it says and then have it not say that and look like I got egg on my face.
Here's the setup: Fred Upton, Republican (of) Michigan, is asking Frieden, the director of the CDC, this question -- the question I have is, if other countries are restricting travel from these African countries and, as you said, the fundamental job of the US is to protect American citizens, why can't we move to a similar ban on travel from these other countries? The exposure rate of 14 days or 15 days is well within the 21 days of incubation and in fact knowing that there 150 people coming a day from those countries, we have not 94 percent in terms of screening at US airports. It seems to me it's not a fail safe system that's put into place here.
FRIEDEN (testifying before House subcommittee): Right now we know who's coming in. If we tried to eliminate travel, the possibility that someone will travel over land, will come from other places, and we don't know that they're coming in will mean that we won't be able to do multiple things. We won't be able to check them for fever when they leave.
LIMBAUGH: OK, that's one. There's part two, just hang on. I know that sounds confusing but there's a part two. He said, right now we know who's coming in. Don't forget that. Right now we know who's coming in. If we tried to eliminate travel, the possibility that some will travel over land and come from other places and we don't know that they're coming will mean that we won't be able to do multiple things. Do you know what he just said there? .... He just threw amnesty overboard! He, he, he just threw amnesty under the bus. He just threw Obama's precious open borders under the bus. He says if we try to eliminate travel, then they're going to come here illegally -- acknowledging there are others already doing that! If we try to eliminate travel, the possibility that some will travel over land like the Hoof Express through the Rio Grande River. They'll come from other places and we don't know that they're coming in. It'll mean that we won't be able to do multiple things! In other words, what's already happening will continue to happen and yet some of the people coming might have Ebola! Oh no! He can't last much longer! The Chamber of Commerce is having a conniption fit right now. (Democrat congressman) Luis Gutierrez is having a conniption fit right now.
So his answer seems to be, if we don't let them come in on planes, they'll come by land over our porous border.
FRIEDEN: Borders can be porous, especially in this part of the world. We won't be able to check them for fever when they leave. We won't be able to check them for fever when they arrive. We won't be able, as we do currently, to take a detailed history to see if they were exposed when they arrive. When they arrive, we wouldn't be able to impose quarantine as we now can if they have high-risk contact. We wouldn't be able to obtain detailed locating information which we do now including not only name and date of birth but email addresses, cell phone numbers, address, addresses of friends, so that we could identity and locate them. We wouldn't be able to provide all of that information as we do now to state and local health departments so that they can monitor them under supervision.
LIMBAUGH: Well, uh, ladies and gentlemen, it sounds to me like he's saying that if we don't let them come in on planes, what he's saying is -- unbelievable! -- do you understand what he's saying?! If we don't let them come in under our auspices, they're going to come in via illegal immigration and we're not going to know who they are and it's going to be even worse. Like the 300,000 children that came in and might have brought enterovirus and like the 12 million who are already here that we want to grant amnesty ...
This guy, he has swerved into something, folks, that is totally, unless I'm missing something, I didn't see this coming. This guy is acknowledging that we do not have a closed border. He's acknowledging we cannot control who comes into the country. This guy is saying, the Centers for Disease Control director Thomas Frieden is saying, that we cannot close airports. We cannot shut down flights to this country because other parts of our border are wide open with thousands already crossing the border! And we don't know who they are and we don't know what they have and we don't know how sick they might be. And we don't know and will have no way of knowing. Oh man!
You can see it coming how Limbaugh's critics will respond to this. They'll point out that when Frieden said "borders can be porous, especially in this part of the world," he was almost certainly referring to West Africa. And just as predictably, Limbaugh's critics will ignore something else that Frieden said, and repeatedly at that -- "when they arrive" -- as in, when they arrive here. The "porous" borders cited by Frieden clearly aren't limited to Africa.
Typical liberal illogic -- we can't stop people with deadly diseases from flying here because they can cross the border anyway. Compare this to eminently more rational conservative logic -- prevent people with deadly diseases from crossing into the US regardless of how they get here. The only way to do this is with a steadfast commitment to securing all of our borders.
If it doesn't happen now, with the deadly specters of Ebola and ISIS looming on the horizon, when will it ever?
Don't be surprised if Obama caves to public opinion and imposes an Ebola flight ban -- in a desperate attempt to prevent even more Democrats from losing in the midterms. But with 4,500 air passengers arriving in the US from West Africa every week, Obama's action might come too late to stop the epidemic from gaining a foothold in the States. At which point liberals will crow -- see, we told you a flight ban wouldn't make any difference.