10 August 2009

It's getting uglier

Conservative Darling and former pin-up girl Governor Sarah Palin on health care reform:

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.


Yes, it would be evil to have a death panel. It would also be evil to require doctors to encourage elderly patients to end their lives. Of course, both are falsehoods concocted by those who continue to oppose health care reform. Both are absolute lies told by people who have no interest in improving health care, and who will be happy to see Obama and the democrats "lose" in the hopes that it will speed their return to power. I initially thought that Steven Pearlstein was being excessively shrill when he wrote:
The recent attacks by Republican leaders and their ideological fellow-travelers on the effort to reform the health-care system have been so misleading, so disingenuous, that they could only spring from a cynical effort to gain partisan political advantage. By poisoning the political well, they've given up any pretense of being the loyal opposition. They've become political terrorists, willing to say or do anything to prevent the country from reaching a consensus on one of its most serious domestic problems.
But the more I see of the opposition, the more right I think he is. Screaming "Socialism!" is no substitute for reasoned debate. Carrying swastikas to defame your opponents is the opposite of searching for common ground. Threatening violence (including death threats to Congressmen), bringing guns (and encouraging others to do so) to political events, brawling, and actively obstructing public debate at the events: these are not the tactics of people who are interested in coming to agreement. They are expressions of blind rage and terror. Worse, this is a time-honored tactic to use fear
as a weapon
to shut down discussion and obstruct action.

I won't deny that there are real concerns held by real people -- this is a genuine movement, not a fake "astroturf" movement. But this movement emulates the tactics of notorious anti-democratic movements in a manner clearly designed to allow a small but passionate minority to intimidate and frighten a much-larger but less passionate electorate. And this is scary: violence lingers just beneath the surface of such unfettered rage.

I have a bad feeling that things are going to get worse before they get better.

12 comments:

  1. The people can be real and the concerns can be real, but if the ideas behind those concerns are falsehoods concocted by AHIP, it's still astroturf to me.

    Of course, there are people with reasonable, real disagreements on health care reform, but they're not the ones threatening violence.

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  2. "pinup girl" ................
    What did you mean by that? Why did you describe a politician like that? How is that relevant to health care policy?

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  3. denigrating a politician's appearance rather than her ideas, is the opposite of searching for common ground

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  4. Shadowfax is getting uglier.

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  5. Duncan,

    Good point.

    JZ,

    A fair point -- it's ad hominem and gratuitous. If you missed the photo it's a reference to the bizarre sexy-governor photo shoot she published in Runner's World a couple of months ago when she was still governor. Weirdest thing I've ever seen from an elected national politician.

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  6. So what's so bad about death panels? It will all be irrelevant when the robots take over anyway.

    Seriously, the idea that anyone would be for a "death panel" is ridiculous. Anyone who believes that hype has already made up their mind. I am sure the Obama administration didn't get together and as:

    "So guys, what should we do to save money?"

    "How about panels that would allow the vulnerable Americans to die?"

    "Sounds great. Let's do it."

    Besides, Home Depot has death panels on sale this week, so the administration doesn't need to make some of its own.

    (My Captca word is "obleed"... hmmm)

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  7. And, ironically, Palin's state is the ONLY one currently accused of allowing the elderly to die under state care...

    http://www.adn.com/life/health/story/864670.html

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  8. This is the latest of the GOP's application of Goldwater's dictum that "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice." It's interpreted by the current GOP as "we can lie like rugs because we're right."

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  9. The New York Times has a "Primer on the Details of Health Care Reform," in their Health section. All this crazy violence and rhetoric on the topic is disheartening, so I couldn't read it. Instead I read "Celebrating the Tomato," which was the article right next to it...Sigh

    BTW, JZ, Sarah Palin is no longer a politician, she is a quitter. She is not relevant to health care policy either, so she should shut her pinup girl pie hole. Just sayin.

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  10. Reality and Shadowfax,
    You each must have missed bizarre sexy-politician-photos shoots such as these:

    http://travisthornton.net/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/obama-and-putin.JPG

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  11. or this

    http://cache.boston.com/resize/bonzai-fba/Globe_Photo/2007/08/22/1187834971_7583/300h.jpg

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  12. jz,

    Um, yeah, because a paparazzi shot of Obama swimming is the EXACT same thing as a carefully posed photo session designed to maximize the governor's, erm, "asets."

    twit.

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