August 20, 2009

Blame the Betcha Gal

Justin Katz

When the Pawtucket Times' Jim Baron lobbed Congressman Langevin the "death panel" volley ball to smack down during the pre-town hall presser, it occurred to me that if (and I repeat: if) some monstrosity of a socializing healthcare bill becomes law, at least some of the blame with fall to Sarah Palin.

When she initially waded onto the ice with the notion of the government's making healthcare decisions, she was on reasonably solid footing:

The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce the cost of health care, but as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. 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.

This is an argument that can be made as a natural progression from the first principles of the reform, and with evidence from other countries to boot. But when the administration responded, the Palin camp saw the opportunity to declare "got 'im" and jumped on provisions concerning end-of-life decisions. Suddenly, the Democrats could dodge questions on the gravity of government healthcare controls by insisting that a "living will" is not a death panel.

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A transparent diversion tactic, the same way libertarians and small-government conservatives are frequently characterized as a loony mob of "truthers" and "birthers." While cowardly and intellectually dishonest, it is convenient to be able to collectivize a diverse group of individuals and equate them all with the nuttiest or scariest few of the bunch. See also: video clips of supposedly representative "tea-baggers" or "conservatives" on When one has little merit or moral ground to stand on for for one's own arguments, it is easier to simply characterize the other side as insane or irrational and walk away.

Posted by: Dan at August 20, 2009 2:45 PM

The whole "death panel" concept is another idea that is being spun by the media to suit their agenda. In fact, this idea is straight from Tom Daschle's book, as well as the musings of Dr. Ezekial Emmanuel. It was not "made up" just recently with HR 3200 or by SP. Everyone is worried because these ideas are consistent with the writings the dems are using to frame their legislation!

Posted by: R. Hance at August 20, 2009 3:49 PM

Many of our citizens live with rationed health care, rationed by lack of money to pay for essential services. My diabetic friend can see the shelf containing the form of insulin that would be best for him, but it is rationed out of his reach by its cost. He would also profit from the use of an insulin pump, but again, it is rationed away by its expense. So please, you may want to recognize that there are many types of rationing: coupons being only one way of many to restrict access.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at August 20, 2009 11:35 PM

Living will = death panel? I'd have to huff three cans of Sarah Palin's hairspray before reaching that conclusion.
We know a little something about living wills in our family. My liberal wife and my conservative sister-in-law, both health care professionals, would beg to differ.

Posted by: rhody at August 20, 2009 11:41 PM
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