Well, at least it's not about vaccines

Like the Spanish Inquisition, nobody expects an outbreak of swine flu. That being said, I'm glad I'm not Maine's own Susan Collins just now.
"I think everybody in the room is concerned about a pandemic flu," Collins told MSNBC on Feb. 5 during stimulus negotiations. "But does it belong in this bill? Should we have $870 million in this bill? No. We should not."
I actually think Collins is getting kind of a raw deal, since (as Collins' spokesman Kevin Kelley put it):
There is no evidence that federal efforts to address the swine flu outbreak have been hampered by a lack of funds. Senator Collins does, however, believe that it is a problem that the Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Health and Human Services still do not have top positions filled. She hopes the Senate will move promptly to confirm Governor Sebelius for HHS Secretary.
Fair enough, Mr. Kelley. About that last point, however, I think you should start guarding your right flank. From the Washington Independent:
I was just talking to Wendy Wright, the president of the conservative group Concerned Women for America, about the nomination of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D-Kans.) to run the Department of Health and Human Services. The group opposes the nomination, and Wright is raising some questions about the timing of the swine flu crackdown so close to tomorrow’s cloture vote.

“Some people think that declaring a state of emergency about the flu was a political thing to push the Sebelius nomination through,” said Wright. She pointed to news stories that ask whether the slow-walking of the Sebelius choice will hurt the response to the flu. “If there’s even a hint that [Department of Homeland Security] is manipulating the health situation to push a political appointee through, well, it almost defies imagination that they’d be willing to that.”

Wright said that she’d heard the speculation “on talk radio,” and wanted to be skeptical, but “there’s too much of a basis in that argument to easily dismiss it.”

I... see. "Too much of a basis," Ms. Wright? (Why do I suspect that the president of the Concerned Women of America hates to be called "Ms."?) Am I crazy, or is she suggesting that the World Health Organization, along with the governments of Mexico and various EU nations, is part of some grand conspiracy to get Kathleen Sebelius confirmed over her objections?

Wait!! Maybe she thinks Collins cut the funding in the stimulus bill as some kind of prelude to ramming through the Sebelius nomination by weakening our resistance to swine flu! That would be a great conspiracy, pitting die-hard conservatives like Ms. Wright against moderate GOP collaborationists like Sen. Collins. Someone let me know if Glenn Beck rants about it on his show.


  1. Those damn GOPers! Here's Senator Schumer (R-NY)

    "All those little porky things that the House put in, the money for the [National] Mall or the sexually transmitted diseases or the flu pandemic, they're all out," Schumer said.Why, that low-down, scoundrel Republi... what? He's not an R? Oh, sorry, never mind. Forget what he said.

  2. Ah, John! It seems you missed something. Let me help by pointing it out to you.

    "I actually think Collins is getting kind of a raw deal."

    I wrote that because I think Collins is getting kind of a raw deal.

  3. Dan, I seem to have been unclear. My apologies. Sen. Snowe is getting a raw deal not because of her position, but because she is a Republican. Ds don't get raw deals these days in the broadcast media.

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    Open question of vaccines implies the world is making a stride in reverse in the battle against savage yet preventable infectious maladies, caution specialists.