This hardly counts as news, at least not to anyone who paid attention to Sarah Palin’s antics as Governor of Alaska and even less so for those of us who watched her as John McCain’s running mate, but Sarah Palin has a remarkable tendency to just make shit up. Palin posted a much-touted statement on Facebook, her first foray into the public spotlight since quitting as Alaska’s Governor.
The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.
Of course that would be evil. So evil that it would only exist in some sort of work of dystopian fiction or a horror scifi flick. It has zero basis in, you know, reality.
I think it’s worthwhile to post a rebuttal to such a blatantly false and absurd statement, simply because the person issuing the rebuttal in this case is the ultra-conservative Senator from Georgia, Johnny Isakson. Isakson smacks down Palin’s fear-mongering in an interview with Ezra Klein:
How did this become a question of euthanasia?
I have no idea. I understand — and you have to check this out — I just had a phone call where someone said Sarah Palin’s web site had talked about the House bill having death panels on it where people would be euthanized. How someone could take an end of life directive or a living will as that is nuts. You’re putting the authority in the individual rather than the government. I don’t know how that got so mixed up.
You’re saying that this is not a question of government. It’s for individuals.
It empowers you to be able to make decisions at a difficult time rather than having the government making them for you.
I think the answer of how this got so mixed up is that Sarah Palin, once again, threw out facts in an effort to drive her divisive brand of Us-vs-Them politics straight onto the fairway of the healthcare debate. She has a stated desire to be a bigger player in national politics and her strategy seems to be to rush towards the Glenn Beck-Michelle Bachmann segment of the Republican base and play towards their worst fears. How long before Palin starts posting her objections to Obama’s efforts to institute one world currency or a North American superhighway? When will Palin post a straight-to-camera plea for Americans to just say no to the Democrats’ plan to make all fire arms and purity balls illegal?
Nothing coming from the Palin-Beck-Bachmann wing of the Republican Party should be taken as grounded in any semblance of reality other than the one fabricated within the confines of their delusional sense of persecution. Comments like this about fake “death panels” should immediately preclude Palin from ever being given a platform to speak to the country again. Sadly, I think this is just the first of what will be many efforts to rile up her supporters in the lead-up to a run for the Oval Office.
I think Josh Marshall is right here:
I don’t think the Democrats have lost the message war because I see no evidence that even close to a majority of Americans believe completely preposterous things like this. But journalists have no capacity to deal with this stuff. In any sane civic discourse Sarah Palin’s comments about ‘death panels’ would have permanently written her out of any public debate about anything. But even though very few people actually believe this stuff, the entire debate gets knocked off the rails by this sort of freak show which allows the organized interests who want to prevent reform to gain the upper hand.
This is why the divisive work of the radical right, particularly through astroturfing that brings out high levels Palin/Beck craziness to public light, is so effective. That the people speaking out are often times lower-income people who stand to benefit the most from massive healthcare reform is only a sad coincidence that falls in line with the work of the Republican Party for years. While the low wage workers support conservative policies, the Republican corporate elite is the cohort that actually stands to benefit. Oh well, it shows that at least for the GOP elite, Palin, Beck, and Bachmann are useful idiots.