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August 17, 2009

Andy McCarthy: Hey, What's All This Nonsense about Criticising Sarah Palin for her "Death Panels" Formulation?

This is the sort of argument we've had here a lot. I'm with McCarthy on this.

I don't see what makes her formulation particularly egregious when the White House is engaging in daily demonizations. "Death panels" is particularly evocative, and maybe a bit under-subtle. So what? We are talking style points at this point, and I hardly think that style is the most important concern.

Further, what Obama envisioned is a "death panel." I think the real objection here is that some think "death panels" are useful and proper, and they don't like Palin's lack of "nuance" in branding them as wholly bad.

Well, that's an argument that can be made. But it should be made, rather than just shrieking about Palin's word choice.

I think Palin was right to argue her point aggressively. Largely because she did, a horrible provision is now out of this still horrible Obamacare proposal. To the contrary, if the argument had been made the way the editors counsel this morning, "end-of-life counseling" would still be in the bill. We might have impressed the Beltway with the high tone of our discourse and the suppleness of our reasoning, but we'd have lost the public. I respectfully dissent.

He's dissenting from NRO's editorial, incidentally.

This is dumb, too:

The editors further suggest that Palin could be wrong not that she is wrong, but she could be. After all, they reason, "it may well be that in a society as litigious as ours, government will err on the side of spending more rather than treating less."

Well, look old chums: Palin can only criticise the bill proposed, not some alternative bill that might emerge after years of being modified/amended by court intervention. She is criticizing the bill that is, not some hypoethetical one that might be.

Further, it's Obama's rationing that is the whole basis for his (ludicrous) claim this will actually cost less than the current system. So, it's Scylla and Charybdis: Either Obama gets his way on bending the curve, in which case it's rationing care for those near the end of life; or he loses those provisions, whether by legislative amendment or court order, in which case the deficit explodes.

It's one or the other, and both are bad. Palin's fault is, what? That she focuses on Obama's stated plan (bad) rather than the one which might eventually emerge (also bad)?

I could see, certainly, criticism of her forumaltion if it were dishonest. But it's not dishonest -- it's merely stark.

I think a lot of GOP pundits overly share liberals' fears that whole swaths of the conservative movement are corncob-smokin' banjo-strokin' cousin'-pokin' inbred mutant redneck race warriors. And so they get all upset that, here, Sarah Palin is filling these dopes with images of ICU Stormtroopers literally barging into grandma's room to smother her with a pillow.

Well, look: we cannot take all the life out of our rhetoric to tailor to the 0.00001% of the populace who might take it "the wrong way." Pretty much no one thinks "death panels" means actual face-smothering murder. And it seems to me an inordinate amount of worry-worting is going on here that Palin's term will be misinterpreted by her drooling subcretious supporters.

Liberals worry about that an awful lot. Liberals worry about that far too much, in fact, and are doing all the worrying on that score that is necessary. We don't really need to cater to their fears of Rethuglicans.

"Nice" is Overrated: In politics, at least.

Just three weeks ago, I was writing in the Ottawa Citizen against niceness. I have pursued the theme recently with praise (sometimes backhanded) not only for the politics, but for the tone, of such as Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin in the United States. They are by no means the only practitioners of what we'll call the "not nice" style in contemporary politics. Newt Gingrich is usually mentioned in such dispatches; and I could list a selection of Barack Obama's "policy czars" with demonstrated shoot-from-the-lip propensities. But I would like to preserve a "nice" (in the logical sense) distinction between candour and thuggery.

Candour is when you tell a truth that is disturbing, in language so unambiguous that persons in polite company will not want to hear you. It is a way to lose the respect of the genteel -- of those who are "respectable" in the shallowest sense. Rude language is quite unnecessary to this end: the hard truth itself, spoken plainly and publicly, will give sufficient offence.

That's about right.

Indeed! I was trying to think of a specific Obama scare-tactic, and came up short. Slublog reminds:

I love how the media and pundits are jumping ugly all over Palin for "death panels" but completely ignoring the fact that the president of the United States accused doctors of lopping off body parts for cash.

Right. Let's kill Palin for "death panels," while giving Obama a pass for entrepreneurial amputations and "predatory tonsillectomies." (I think I saw that latter phrase first used by Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.)


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posted by Ace at 01:57 PM

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