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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine fools

We're less than one week into the 24-7 coverage of swine flu and the media has apparently started running out of things to write about. How else to explain two major league non-stories that punched through the fog today.

At one point, ABCNews.com was bannering Vice President Joe Biden's "gaffe" in suggesting people stay off airplanes and subway cars as a way avoid potential encounters with the virus. "Off message," they shouted because Barack Obama had only counseled hand washing and cough control as contingencies.

Off message? Perhaps. How many of you plan to get on an airplane, notorious for its poor air circulation in the best of times, anytime soon? And do you really relish the thought of sitting next to a sneezing, wheezing Green Line passenger?

But "gaffe" is a much better angle than "common sense."

Far more venal are the remarks from the remarkably clueless Republican representative from Minnesota, Michele Bachmann. I can recall a litany of asinine comments from her over the course of the 2008 campaign, but I really don't feel like chasing the links.

Ratter, I want to present her with the Massachusetts Liberal Award for being the first person I am aware of to fulfill my prediction that someone on the right would attempt to blame Obama for the outbreak.

Ms. Bachmann obviously didn't read my blog (or anything else for that matter) in putting the 1976 outbreak on Jimmy Carter, quickly adding the weasel words "I’m not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it’s an interesting coincidence.”

Except for the fact the swine flu follies took place under Carter's predecessor, Gerald Ford. The first death occurred in February 1976, when Carter was an unknown Georgia peanut farmer about to pull off a surprise in Iowa.

I'm not blaming Ms. Bachmann for being a clueless, idiotic partisan. But it's not not just an interesting coincidence.

Can we focus on what is actually happening out there and leave politics out of this medical story?

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