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The Level of Dumb is Astounding (Huckabee on Borders and Ebola Edition)

Ebola Virus And CaduceusAnd I know that the word “dumb” is not especially analytical, but I honestly can’t think of anything else that conveys the appropriate notion (at least without either more vulgarity or vituperation).

So, here’s the quote from the former Governor and candidate for the GOP presidential nomination:

“When the government says it can’t keep people out of the U.S., what it means is that it won’t keep people out. And why should we be surprised? We’ve seen our borders routinely ignored. So if someone with Ebola really wants to come to the U.S., just get to Mexico and walk right in” (Source*).

First, is it too much to note that a grand total of one (the lowest whole number of them all) Ebola infected individual has made it to the US?  We are not seeing a horde of infected persons trying to enter.  Indeed, the evidence would suggest that air travelers are not a major source of infection, else we would likely have seen more cases like Duncan in Europe and elsewhere–the places where most flights from West Africa go on a weekly, if not daily, basis.  See this piece from Nate Silver for some details of flights.

Second, and this what really got my attention:  the notion that people infected with Ebola would be flying into Mexico and just strolling across the southern border.  For one thing that isn’t an easy or uncomplicated thing to do.  But, to cut to the case:  how would someone like Duncan (the fellow who made it to the US with the infection) going to walk down the hall, let along across the border, with an Ebola infection?

The pure xenophobia here is both stunning and unsurprising.  The recent rhetorical increase in concern about diseased individuals crossing the US-Mexican border (as was also the case with the recent wave of minors from Central America) is not a welcome development (for those, such as myself, who think we desperately need a rational discussion on border and immigration policy).

Indeed, it is worth noting the logical and rhetorical shift that Huckabee employs in the quotation insofar as there was no reason to reference the southern border in his complaint save to further tap into existing xenophobia.  After all, if the whole point of his complaint is that the US is not issuing a travel ban of any kind in relation to Ebola then why reference a illegal crossing?

*The level of additional dumbitude quoted in that piece is well beyond Huckabee’s–but I noted Huckabee’s because, at least at times, he is treated as serious, non-crazy.

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About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. beth says:

    If it was just dumb it would be excusable. This is deliberate fear mongering by someone who knows better and that is inexcusable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  2. Pharoah Narim says:

    The Stupid is strong with the Huck-ster. Always has been.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  3. C. Clavin says:

    Well he’s a Christian bible thumper and what is Christianity and the bible about if not fear?
    Spiteful god.
    Spiteful pols.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 7

  4. humanoid.panda says:

    @C. Clavin: Look, I am both an atheist and a big hater of the “both side do it, let’s be friends” rhetoric, but this is just dumb. Huckabee is a hateful idiot because he is preaching to hateful xenophobes. In the meanwhile, there are hundreds if not thousands of Christian missionaries in the jungles trying providing aid and medical care to sick people. Why are you slandering them?

    I mean, seriously, we liberals, and especially secular liberals (and let me remind you there are tens of millions of Christian liberals in this country) rightly insist that ISIS is not Islam and Islam is not ISIS. Why can’t you extend the same courtesy to Christianity and Huckabeeism?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

  5. beth says:

    ndeed, it is worth noting the logical and rhetorical shift that Huckabee employs in the quotation insofar as there was no reason to reference the southern border in his complaint save to further tap into existing xenophobia

    This is actually considered a message failure as he wasn’t able to work in the IRS, Benghazi and the latte salute. He must be out of practice.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  6. michael reynolds says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    I agree. I’m an atheist as well, but there are Christian doctors and nurses in Liberia showing more courage in any given hour than I’ve had to show in 60 years on this planet.

    There’s a definite darkness in a lot of Christianity – I’m an ethnic Jew and don’t need to be lectured on the historical evils of Christianity – but there’s also a hell of a lot of good, and sometimes that good rises to such a level of self-sacrifice and service that it compels in me a degree of awe.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 2

  7. C. Clavin says:

    @humanoid.panda:
    You are right…of course.
    Huckabee is no more a Christian than he is a Conservative.
    That’s the way he self-identifies…and I was lazy to accept it at face value.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3

  8. Gustopher says:

    I think “willfully stupid” is a better choice here than “dumb”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  9. Talk about dumb, Obama hires a leftist political hack as Ebola Czar. His job will be:

    1) Keep as much information as possible about Ebola outbreaks away from the American people until after the election.

    2) If #1 fails, blame Ebola on Republicans and global warming.

    Actually, this is pretty smart. It’s his low information constituents who swallow this BS that are stupid.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 31

  10. michael reynolds says:

    @Angel Artiste:

    Yes, none of that is true. We are not suffering from a lack of information on ebola, we’re suffering from a lack of information on everything else happening in the world because the only news is ebola.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  11. steve q says:

    “Angel Artiste says:
    Saturday, October 18, 2014 at 14:49

    Talk about dumb, Obama hires a leftist political hack as Ebola Czar.”

    I know, right? He shoulda picked someone from the Arabian Horse Association.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  12. Gustopher says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    I mean, seriously, we liberals, and especially secular liberals (and let me remind you there are tens of millions of Christian liberals in this country) rightly insist that ISIS is not Islam and Islam is not ISIS. Why can’t you extend the same courtesy to Christianity and Huckabeeism?

    I really don’t understand the “ISIS isn’t Islam” argument, and I am not willing to separate Huckabee from Christianity. Religions generally have modern, liberal sects, moderate sects, borderline secular sects, conservative sects, God-bothering sects, and fundamentalist crazy sects — with different flavors being mainstream at any point in time.

    Historically, Huckabee would be more tolerant and inclusive than Christianity at its worst. He does not support the methods of the Spanish Inquisition or the Crusades. Meanwhile, ISIS is pretty much Islam at its worst.

    Both Huckabee and ISIS pick and choose the parts of their religious texts that they emphasize, but this is true of the most moderate and the most liberal sects as well. There are lots of Christians with tattoos, divorce is commonplace, charity for the poor is given only lip service, and they desperately try not to give unto Caesar.

    No one follows any religion without massive levels of interpretation and selectivity. ISIS has selected and interpreted to the point of being repugnant, violent and expansionary, and Huckabee is just kind of a dick.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  13. Ken_L says:

    America’s enemies must be watching with open mouths at a country that manages to terrorise itself even without any external stimulus. The extent of hysteria and stupidity on display over recent months has been staggering. It’s been very sad to watch the moral collapse of a nation but the process now seems irreversible. Another 9/11 would be likely to tear the place apart.

    Even in his wildest dreams, Osama bin Laden could not have imagined the damage he would cause his sworn enemy to inflict upon itself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  14. al-Ameda says:

    The Ebola “Crisis” is but the latest evidence of just how dumbed-down America has become. Clearly we love to scare ourselves to death, but this Ebola episode is especially depressing given that many of our political and opinion leaders have gone all in on the Chicken Little approach. It is almost as if the media, our politicians, and half the people believe that the only solution is to be as stupid and scared as possible.

    Disgraceful.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  15. michael reynolds says:

    @Ken_L:

    I made this point on another thread: somehow it has become not only okay to be a coward, but okay to flaunt your cowardice. These people are proud of their gutlessness, proud of their panic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  16. steve says:

    Then there is this from the evangelical right.

    “On Yesterday’s Hagee Hotline broadcast, John issued a warning to America that the Ebola virus was God’s punishment judgment on America for President Obama’s failure to support Israel. ”

    I think what you have is that the older, more conservative evangelicals really believe this stuff, but the younger ones are the people that are actually going over there and trying to help.

    Steve

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  17. So if someone with Ebola really wants to come to the U.S., just get to Mexico and walk right in

    Because if there’s one activity that’s perfect for people suffering from multiple organ failure and uncontrolled bleeding, diarrhea, and vomiting, it’s cross-country hiking.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  18. ernieyeball says:

    “…So if someone with Ebola really wants to come to the U.S., just get to Mexico and walk right in”

    I’m surprised Huckleberry has not accused the administration of forcing Ebola victims at gunpoint to “…walk right in.”
    Forcing people “at gunpoint” is the Huckster’s approved method of getting things done after all.

    I almost wish that there would be something like a simultaneous telecast and all Americans would be forced, forced — at gun point no less — to listen to every David Barton message. And I think our country would be better for it. I wish it’d happen.

    Mad Mike
    http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2011/03/31/154984/mike-huckabee-david-barton/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. ernieyeball says:

    @ernieyeball: Afterthought. Huckabee is not only dumb, his penchant to force feed his dogma down the throats of American Citizens “at gunpoint” means he is also dangerous.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. Lenoxus says:

    @steve: If I believed in a powerful, vindictive God, I might be downright insulted at the implication that when God uses disease as punishment against a nation, the best he can do is infect one or two of them.

    Now, if Hagee had said that the Ebola hysteria was God’s punishment, that would be much more interesting, and I might appreciate the notion that God could be such a devious chessmaster.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  21. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @Gustopher: I would have to disagree with the notion that “no one follows any religion without…” because I have known and seen many examples to the contrary. However, I will admit that the number with respect to the total practitioners of any particular religion is small enough to make it seem as though no one does.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0