I wasn't in favor of shutting of travel to Ebola countries until Rwanda and Tanzania started screening travelers from Texas. You never know what kind of crazy viruses could spread. The last thing developing nations need is an epidemic of Yee Haw conservatism from the likes of Texas congressman Louie Gohmert.
People have gone a little nuts in Texas over Ebola, even though more people have played quarterback for the Washington Redskins this year than have died from Ebola in the United States. Navarro College in Texas refused to admit a Nigerian student over Ebola worries even though there is no Ebola in Nigeria, which is more than Texas could say. If this is an epidemic, it's one of fear, and it presents as an aggressive strain of stupidity.
And when it comes to dumb in Texas, Louie Gohmert is Patient Zero. The Texas congressman raised the alarm that "undocumented Democrats"—AKA, Central American refugees—were bringing Ebola across the border. His reasoning is that Obama wants all these refugees to come, so a bunch of terrorists are going to sneak in with them, and they had Ebola. Because Obama.
"And, gee, since they're coming across our border, and you know, they don't get checked, and most of them don't get really thoroughly checked, they could be coming in with disease that we simply do not need," he said. "It's silly not to be more careful."
Well, he's not completely wrong about it being silly.
When the President didn't immediately adopt the Gohmert Doctrine and impose a travel ban from countries from which there were no direct flights, Gohmert detected partisan motives, which is where he reached Peak Gohmert.
Obama, Gohmert speculated, sent 3,000 troops to the Ebola zone as part of a secret deal to intentionally import Africans infected with Ebola. Because Obama.
"I can't help but believe, just based on the way we've got all these nebulous excuses why not to have a travel ban. This president, I guarantee you, we're going to find out, he has cut a deal with African leaders. They're going to bring people in," he said.
Gohmert, who is perhaps most famous for lecturing CNN's Anderson Cooper that terrorists were sneaking in pregnant women into America to give birth to anchor babies, was not completely unaware that the midterms were nigh. After all, he did say that the two nurses infected with Ebola in Dallas were victims of the Democrats' "War on Women."
And it wasn't all Ebola for Gohmert. He also warned us how gay backrubs can lead to terrorism.
"I've had people say, 'Hey, you know, there's nothing wrong with gays in the military. Look at the Greeks,'" he said. "Well, you know, they did have people come along who they loved that was the same sex and would give them massages before they went into battle. But you know what, it's a different kind of fighting, it's a different kind of war and if you're sitting around getting massages all day ready to go into a big, planned battle, then you're not going to last very long. It's guerrilla fighting. You are going to be ultimately vulnerable to terrorism."
You probably thought I was kidding about the link between gay backrubs and terrorism, didn't you? I don't joke when it comes to Louie Gohmert. The man gets a vote in Congress just like any other United States Representative, just like Sam Rayburn, "Good Time" Charlie Wilson, and Abraham Lincoln once did. So I treat Gohmert with the respect due his office, and when I want to make fun of him I just write down what he says and put it in the newspaper.
Nowhere in anything Gohmert said during the Great Ebola Freakout of last week displayed the leadership we need during a crisis. All we got from Gohmert was a fountain of partisanship and conspiracy theories. Despite muddling bureaucracies, we are dealing with Ebola in the United States. The epidemic we can't handle is one of fear and ignorance.
© Copyright 2014 Jason Stanford, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
Jason Stanford is a regular contributor to the Austin American-Statesman, a Democratic consultant and a Truman National Security Project partner. You can email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JasStanford.