A Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy Theory
It’s really shocking how far the right wing will go in its opposition of President Obama’s plans for health care reform.
Case in point are the wild-eyed rumors about so-called “death panels” (a phrase used by Sarah Palin on her Facebook page in a post attacking the president and health care reform) that would determine whether or not “to pull the plug on grandma,” as Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley told a town hall audience earlier this week.
Sarah Palin said the following, if you can believe it:
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.
Really. I’m not kidding. The New York Times has a story on this issue today (“False ‘Death Panel’ Rumor Has Some Familiar Roots”), though I suppose if you believe in the death panels rumor to begin with, you’re probably someone who thinks the Times is in on the conspiracy as well. What conspiracy? Oh, you know, the one where the Obama administration is attempting to replicate the Nazi’s T4 Aktion program, which systematically killed German citizens with disabilities, mental retardation, deaf people, blind people, the senile, the paralyzed, and more.
Don’t believe the Times? How about the AARP, which you would think would be opposed to the Obama plan, what with it being largely a constituency of grandmas and grandpas who surely do not want the plug pulled on them? Nope, wrong again: The AARP is just as mystified as you are. See, for instance, this para from the Times story linked above:
“I guess what surprised me is the ferocity, it’s much stronger than I expected,” said John Rother, the executive vice president of AARP, which is supportive of the health care proposals and has repeatedly declared the “death panel” rumors false. “It’s people who are ideologically opposed to Mr. Obama, and this is the opportunity to weaken the president.”
Again, according to the Times (and later on I will try to find the actual text of these proposals, which is a bit difficult to do, I think, as they are not yet bills and therefore not as readily available for public consumption), “There is nothing in any of the legislative proposals that would call for the creation of death panels or any other governmental body that would cut off care for the critically ill as a cost-cutting measure.”
Want to read more about one of the key architects of these wild-eyed rumors, both now and back in the early 1990s, when the Clintons were trying to pass their plan? James Fallows has a great take-down of her—Betsey McCaughey, a Stepford Wife-looking woman if there ever was one—on his blog for The Atlantic. Here’s a link. Now go forth and tell anyone who thinks otherwise what the truth about the Democrats’ health care proposals actually is.
Finally, there is this:
Now that’s how you get a guy cancelled. Maybe I will force myself to watch some of Mr. Beck in the coming days and make a list of all his remaining sponsors, so that I can organize an email-writing campaign to those sponsors, asking that they pull their ad dollars. Does anyone out there in TV Land know off-hand who advertises on Beck’s show?
As Dan Rather used to say, COURAGE.