Conservative pundit Erick Erickson knows just who's to blame for the dearth of research funds devoted to combating Ebola: "fat lesbians."
In a post for his RedState.com blog this morning, Erickson assails a new ad highlighting the GOP's support for budget cuts that crippled the agencies charged with leading the response to Ebola. Over the weekend, National Institutes of Health director Dr. Francis Collins told the Huffington Post's Sam Stein that 10 years of stagnant spending on the agency has "slowed down" critical research. As Stein reports, the NIH's budget in fiscal year 2004 was $28.03 billion. In 2013, it was just $29.31 billion -- "barely a change, even before adjusting for inflation," Stein notes. A Democratic bill to boost the NIH's budget to $46 billion by 2021 isn't likely to advance anytime soon.
But Erickson pooh-poohs the budget cuts to agencies like the NIH and the Centers for Disease Control. All the evidence you need that the agencies have plenty of cash, he argues, is in some of the research items they've funded.
Erickson's post, titled "Fat Lesbians Got All the Ebola Dollars, But Blame the GOP," cites an NIH-funded study examining why lesbians confront higher rates of obesity; the research is in line with other demographic studies examining public health challenges, but Erickson seized on the study to wage a demagogic attack on the agency for frivolously "studying the propensity of lesbians to be fat." He also attacked CDC research on gun violence and smoking cessation.
Erickson ranks among the most obnoxiously homophobic conservative commentators. The Fox News contributor has asserted that gay people are on the "road to hell" and accused businesses that serve LGBT consumers of "aiding and abetting" sin.