Joni Ernst hits a new low for anti-science conservatives: waving off germ theory
As Tom Boggioni here at Raw Story reported yesterday, Joni Ernst, whose bugfuck wingnuttery has managed to fly mostly under the national radar this election season, hit a shocking new low in terms of conservative science denial: Claiming that disease transmission is a matter of “opinion”, not biological fact. Charles Pierce of Esquire reported his bizarre encounter with her on this:
“With Ebola, we see he’s very hands-off. He’s not leading. He’s not leeeaaading,” she said, drawing out that last word like a conjurer casting a spell. I suggested to her that, well, at that moment, one person in America — Dr. Craig Spencer — had Ebola. Her eyes went hard, like the wheels of a slot machine fastening on tilt.
“Well, you’re the press. That’s your opinion.”
“But that’s not an opinion. It’s a fact. Only one person in America has Ebola.”
“But he’s not a leeaader,” Ernst said, again. “What he can do is make sure that all of those agencies are coordinating together and make sure that he is sharing that information with the American people, that he cares about their safety.”
It’s worth pointing out that, like with all other aspects of this ridiculous ebola panic, the racism driving it is fairly obvious. Ernst’s entire argument against Obama is a variation on ugly stereotypes about black people being lazy, except she uses a synonym—“apathetic”—and hopes the rest of us don’t notice. It’s a charge that’s so ridiculous, when applied to a man like Obama, that giving it a moment’s thought makes the racism of it screamingly obvious.
Alas, we live in a society where it’s considered impolite to notice even blatant racism as long as the racist manages to do a half-assed effort at coding it, by using a synonym for the racist thing she’s saying, in this case. But blatantly denying incontrovertible facts, like what ebola is and whether or not it can be diagnosed by “opinion”? Needless to say, if Ernst wins, she’s going to be a regular producer of WTF headlines, giving prior contenders like Louie Gohmert and Michele Bachmann a run for their money.
One more observation: One of the oddest things about midterm elections is how frequently politicians, particularly Republicans, will run on issues that the office they’re vying for has little to no power to deal with. Ernst here is running against Obama, not her actual opponent Bruce Braley. But if she wins, guess what? Obama is still going to be in office. Now, running against him isn’t necessarily illegitimate, if the issues were stuff where her vote could sway policy. But how he’s handling ISIS or whether or not he’s panicking over a non-epidemic to your satisfaction cannot be moved by a vote for Ernst. It is utterly irrelevant.