Breaking Political Stories and Commentary. "We're at the height of the Roman Empire for the Republican Party, but the tide slowly but surely goes out." --Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham, South Carolina
This is a followup to an earlier post that linked to an article condemning the way the Bush administration responded (or didn't respond) when it learned there be a problem with the production of this year's flu vaccine. While that post was focused on what has happened over the last few months, some of the readers understandably wanted to talk about the deeper issues that have developed over years.

Some of the Bush supporters have argued that the shortage is Clinton's fault. I have trouble following the logic there. Clinton hasn't been president for nearly four years, and was constantly constrained by a Congress controlled by the opposition. On the other hand, Bush is the current president, and has had four years -- working with a Congress controlled by the party he leads -- to deal with this issue. Isn't there a point where Bush supporters don't get to blame Clinton anymore? Are they still going to be blaming Cinton in four years? Eight? The buck stops with George Bush.

Okay, so the conservatives might respond: yes, maybe it's not Clinton's fault, but Bush couldn't have known this was a problem... nobody saw this coming.

Except that's not true. In fact, the General Accounting Office has been warning the Bush administration about this for over three years.

This is from the Houston Chronicle:
With such a high level of competition and so much presidential encouragement, it was not surprising that Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, one of the more garrulous members of the Cabinet, entered the contest this week by claiming that the shortage of flu vaccine "is not a health crisis."

Tell that to the 36,000 people who die annually in the United States, or the 200,000 who are hospitalized, from causes associated with influenza. Those are yearly averages from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as reported by the Government Accountability Office, the agency formerly known as the General Accounting Office.

Formal name changes aside, it's the same GAO that has warned repeatedly over the last four years about the perilous state of vaccine production and distribution. Academics and health professionals outside the government have been as pointed in their periodic alerts. The government response has been anemic.

In May 2001, four months into the Bush administration, Janet Heinrich, director of GAO's health care division, testified before the Senate Special Committee on Aging. The title of her statement could not have been clearer: "Steps Are Needed to Better Prepare for Possible Future Shortages."

Heinrich's testimony was an eerily exacting guide to what is now afoot.

"Manufacturing difficulties could occur in the future and again illustrate the fragility of current methods to produce a new vaccine every year," she said. "Compounding the problem is that when the supply is short, there is no system to ensure that high-risk people have priority for receiving flu shots."
I understand that health problems are complicated, but when Bush supporters deny that the Bush administration contributed to this, they're sticking their heads in the sand.

Comments
on Oct 20, 2004
Bush Ignored 3 Years of Warnings -- Flu Vaccine Shortage II

By: blogic
Posted: Wednesday, October 20, 2004 on The Tide Goes Out
Message Board: Politics
This is a followup to an earlier post that linked to an article condemning the way the Bush administration responded (or didn't respond) when it learned there be a problem with the production of this year's flu vaccine. While that post was focused on what has happened over the last few months, some of the readers understandably wanted to talk about the deeper issues that have developed over years.

Some of the Bush supporters have argued that the shortage is Clinton's fault. I have trouble following the logic there. Clinton hasn't been president for nearly four years, and was constantly constrained by a Congress controlled by the opposition. On the other hand, Bush is the current president, and has had four years -- working with a Congress controlled by the party he leads -- to deal with this issue. Isn't there a point where Bush supporters don't get to blame Clinton anymore? Are they still going to be blaming Cinton in four years? Eight? The buck stops with George Bush.

Okay, so the conservatives might respond: yes, maybe it's not Clinton's fault, but Bush couldn't have known this was a problem... nobody saw this coming.

Except that's not true. In fact, the General Accounting Office has been warning the Bush administration about this for over three years.

This is from the Houston Chronicle:
With such a high level of competition and so much presidential encouragement, it was not surprising that Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, one of the more garrulous members of the Cabinet, entered the contest this week by claiming that the shortage of flu vaccine "is not a health crisis."

Tell that to the 36,000 people who die annually in the United States, or the 200,000 who are hospitalized, from causes associated with influenza. Those are yearly averages from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as reported by the Government Accountability Office, the agency formerly known as the General Accounting Office.

Formal name changes aside, it's the same GAO that has warned repeatedly over the last four years about the perilous state of vaccine production and distribution. Academics and health professionals outside the government have been as pointed in their periodic alerts. The government response has been anemic.

In May 2001, four months into the Bush administration, Janet Heinrich, director of GAO's health care division, testified before the Senate Special Committee on Aging. The title of her statement could not have been clearer: "Steps Are Needed to Better Prepare for Possible Future Shortages."

Heinrich's testimony was an eerily exacting guide to what is now afoot.

"Manufacturing difficulties could occur in the future and again illustrate the fragility of current methods to produce a new vaccine every year," she said. "Compounding the problem is that when the supply is short, there is no system to ensure that high-risk people have priority for receiving flu shots."
I understand that health problems are complicated, but when Bush supporters deny that the Bush administration contributed to this, they're sticking their heads in the sand.

So who's right some Huston Cronicle reporter or the secretary of Health and Human services?

on Oct 20, 2004
Hi drmiller,

I see you're not contesting that the GAO first warned the Bush administration of this potential problem over three years ago, and closely predicted the characteristics of the current shortage.

Thank you for your comment.
on Oct 20, 2004
I see you're not contesting that the GAO first warned the Bush administration of this potential problem over three years ago, and closely predicted the characteristics of the current shortage.


The GAO warned Congress, blogic. And don't give us any more of that controlled crap.

You are nothing but a shameless demagogue, getting more desperate by the day. You can't manufacture this into anything. You are wasting your time.

Cheers,
Daiwa
on Oct 20, 2004
blogic, blogic, blogic. this story was a "dead on arrival." and yet you keep trying the mouth to mouth.

even Kerry has abandoned this tactic.

get a clue, eh?
on Oct 20, 2004
Daiwa,

Two things. (1) Are you really claiming that the executive branch wasn't aware of this, when the GAO was repeatedly testifying in the Senate about this, and academics were warning the administration?

(2) Bush does lead the party that controls Congress, and nearly every proposal that Bush has prominently supported has passed.

I enjoy your comments, but I wouldn't mind it if you left out the personal attacks. I'm fairly sure I've never personally attacked you, or anyone else at JoeUser.
on Oct 20, 2004
Hi Myrrander,

I encourage debate with the discussions of my posts, and appreciate your comments. I am somewhat surprised that you dropped your normally civil tone. I think I've seen you talk elsewhere about the importance of civility in how we talk about other writers at JoeUser.

Once again, thank you for your comments.
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