Politics is so alienating, even Ebola is political

Posted at 1:28 PM, Oct 15, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-15 13:28:22-04

It was inevitable, I suppose. Ebola has become yet another Stupid Politician Trick.

A liberal group calling itself the Agenda Project Action Fund has released a ridiculous TV ad basically saying Republican budget cuts caused Ebola.

We have come to expect such things from the political class. What is more disappointing is our own attitudes.

If you’re a Democrat, you think the government is doing a good job of handling the Ebola breakout; if you’re a Republican, you don’t.

Remember the Bird Flu scare in 2008? George W. Bush was president. If you were a Republican, you thought the government was doing a good job; if you were a Democrat, you didn’t.

Here are the numbers, assembled by the Pew Research Center:

Shifting Partisan Views of Federal Government's Handling of Health Crises

See the pattern?

Americans seem to have a fairly rational and only slightly alarmist take on the threat of Ebola itself and perhaps that is a silver lining. Here is how the Pew polling breaks down:

Ebola Concern Higher among Non-Whites, Women, Less Educated

But when it comes to whether the government is responding, the poll is simply a partisan Rorschach test. It is a rare to find issue where there isn’t a predictable partisan split. 

This will now play out in a wonky and loud argument about whether the Republicans forced budget cuts in the relevant public health programs, cuts that now have “dire consequences.”  And there will be more TV ads – just the tonic to stir up more fear and bile.