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The Politics of “Tick. Tick. Tick.”

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From the WSJ.com’s Avian Flu News Tracker:

7:00 p.m.: Sen. Clinton (D., N.Y.) said the U.S. isn’t ready to handle a widespread outbreak of avian flu. “The president’s strategy is underfunded and poorly constructed,” the former first lady said during a visit to Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Telling Cornell researchers the work they are doing on avian flu is “absolutely essential,” Clinton said that experts with whom she has spoken “think it’s only a matter of time before it hits our shores.”

I find this item both amusing and alarming.

Amusing because I have spent some time the last two days defending the push by the Orange County Children’s and Family Commission, of which I am a member, to assist in pandemic prevention planning. I have been defending this program and the O.C. Commission generally against the charge by lefty LATimes’ columnist Michael Hiltzik that this is an inappropriate effort by our local commission and that the Orange County Commission’s work and consultants are somehow engaged in partisan posturing on the issue.

It is alarming because Senator Clinton’s attack is so obviously partisan, which diminishes the general believability of the warning she goes on to issue.

If H5N1 aarives in the United States, and the country is not appropriately prepared, it will not be the fault of the Bush Administration which is laboring to sound the alarm but to do so without suggesting panic. Against this effort are arrayed the usual suspects, like Hillary and Hiltzik, who are again willing to put everything aside in the interest of partisan advantage.

The solution may be in naming Bill Clinton the avian flu preparedness czar.

Just joking. Well, maybe not. At least then the press would begin to follow the story.

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