About those asthma inhalers…

Some fairly high-profile conservatives got pretty worked up on Friday about the FDA’s phase-out of certain types of asthma inhalers. For conservatives, this is evidence of President Obama’s oppressive government bureaucracy doing … something nefarious.

But the hullabaloo quickly faded once the right got a closer look at the policy they were complaining about.

The conservative media today attacked the Obama administration by attempting to link them to the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to phase out “over-the-counter asthma inhalers containing chloroflouorocarbons (CFCs).” The Weekly Standard published a piece by Mark Hemingway headlined “Obama Administration Set to Ban Asthma Inhalers Over Environmental Concerns,” which claimed that the “Obama administration would rather make people with Asthma cough up money than let them make a surely inconsequential contribution to depleting the ozone layer.”

But it turns out that the FDA was simply following through with plans put in place when George W. Bush was president.

Yes, as the AP report explained, the FDA “finalized plans to phase out the products in 2008,” before Obama became president.

Alas, that didn’t stop The Weekly Standard from going after the Obama administration, and its item led others on the right to do the same. A top aide to Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) seemed especially outraged, until she realized this was a Bush administration decision, at which point she scrambled to try to appear less foolish.

Ron Chusid, a medical doctor, has some interesting background on the differences between the inhalers, but the bottom line remains the same: plenty of conservatives were all set to push the latest in a series of manufactured outrages, right up until they realized Obama had very little to do with it, at which point their attention waned.

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.