And in that post, I suggested that while conservatives were likely to defend Palin on this, they were unlikely to actually jump on the Death Panel bandwagon. Instead, they'd rewrite what she wrote in order to make it sound more reasonable. Still crazy, but just not Palin crazy. And sure enough, Newt Gingrich is out on the Sunday morning talkshow circuit doing that exact thing.
Via Carpetbagger, the headline of the article is Gingrich defends Palin's 'death panels', yet he did nothing of the kind; at least not in the clip they provided. While Gingrich did defend Palin, he didn't defend the "death panels" at all. In fact, he didn't even mention them in any way. Instead, he kept attacking "communal standards" and gave the standard scare-mongering about the government making healthcare decisions; as if it's much better to have these decisions made by insurance companies. Yet, he never said the word "death panel" or explicitly state that we'd be making Trig Palin stand before it.
It was all the sort of subtle scare-mongering we've come to expect from conservatives on the national stage. He didn't even use the word "evil" and the closest he got was to suggest that the government just can't be trusted and might possibly do such things some day. And that's a far, far cry from Palin explicitly referring to "Obama's death panels," as if this was an established part of the legislation. And so Gingrich was walking the fine line that Palin completely trashed. Sure, what he said was wrong and crazy, but it wasn't Palin crazy. And the difference is that Gingrich knows he's lying, while Palin doesn't.
As I suggested in that last post, every conservative is both huckster and believer. And in this case, Gingrich's Huckster to Believer ratio is far higher than Palin's. Sure, she knows she's exaggerating this at a certain level, but the fact that she went as completely far out as she did just shows how much of a believer she is. Subtlety just isn't her thing.
They've All "Read" the Bill
And something else I mentioned in that post was how conservatives firmly believe that they've read the legislation and that this stuff is in there. And sure enough, a scan of the comments show a commenter saying "Have you read the bill? The provision is in the bill." But of course, this person obviously hasn't read any such thing, because it doesn't exist. But he's been assured by the people he trusts that they read the bill and that's just as good as him having read it.
And here's another such comment:
Amazing. Blowhards here who haven't even read the bill want to claim that no language exists that talks about rationing and "elder consultations" performed by the government. I read it. It's there. Stop treating Americans who ask the questions you won't, as if we are the ignorant ones. You blindly agree with any edict from the progressive liberals and surrender your own common sense and free will. What a waste.
Pot, Kettle, Black. What a waste. And sure, he can't quote us the passage on "rationing and 'elder consultations,'" but he's read it. They've all read it. And sure, the actual bill just says that Medicare will pay for counseling with your doctor, but this guy firmly believes he's read a passage about the government doing it. Geez, and to think that some folks think Mr. False Memory is the ignorant one.
Or here's another one:
I read parts of the Waxman proposal and I have to say, it is scary. By the way, it specifically states "special needs"individuals will not be enrolled in the national plan. Thats on page 354 if you care to check.
And maybe that's correct. Hey, he quoted a page number and everything. So I did a search on this, and while I kept finding people making this claim, I couldn't find any actual reference to the passage. And then finally I found a rebuttal of it, and of course, this dude hasn't ready the proposal. And as I suggested last time, this guy is playing "telephone" with the original claim.
The original claim was that "Government will RESTRICT enrollment of special needs people," and we're supposed to think "restrict" means they won't be enrolled. And so this dude furthers that idea by outright stating that they won't be enrolled. But that's not what the restriction means. The reality is that there are "Special Needs Plans" and that enrollment is restricted to their eligibility period. Yet this guy imagines he's read the bill because his source claimed to have read the bill, so he thinks he's read it. Yet, if he had read it, he'd know that special needs people are not only eligible, but even have their own plan.
Oddly, another commenter quotes from a WaPo editorial in which the guy apparently has read the legislation. But for as much as the columnist still finds a nefarious motive behind this, he at least realizes that it's a doctor who does the counseling; not a government bureaucrat. And his big complaint is that your doctor is allowed to initiate the discussion, which this guy doesn't consider to be "voluntary," because you might feel pressured by your doctor to have the discussion...and he'd be paid by the government to do it! (Cue Scary Music)
And that's it. That's the scariest thing someone who actually read the legislation could come up with. No longer is it a government bureaucrat getting between you and your doctor; now it's your doctor who can't be trusted. And that's nowhere close to Palin's suggestion that a "death panel" would try to deny care to the unproductive.
Crazy Commenters Less Crazy Than Palin
And the rest of the commenters are absolutely crazy. They're ranting about how Stephanopoulos was picking sides because he stated objective truth. One person ranted because the article referred to this as "Palin's death panel," insisting that this is Obama's idea, not Palin's; all evidence to the contrary. Another dude cited an AOL online poll which apparently showed that a majority of people agreed with Palin that Obama's plan is "evil;" which is proof that Palin isn't alone.
Perhaps my favorite was a woman complaining about "government advice" that came from her school, as they said her nephew was "overweight" and wouldn't allow her sick child with TB to come back to school for five days; and this shows how scary it is to "to have a bureaucrat making decisions for you and your family." And yes, the "bureaucrat" in this case was the school nurse. No, it's much better to have this crazy lady make decisions that affect the health of everyone else in the school.
But in all this, I saw no one willing to support Palin's actual claim. Like Gingrich, they're defending her; just not the claim about Obama's death panel. Sure, they're still ranting about healthcare rationing and euthanasia. But of the comments I skimmed, none actually repeated her insane claim. And that's the thing: For as crazy as these people are, none are as crazy as Sarah Palin. And while that's good enough for them to proclaim her their leader, I seriously can't imagine the Republican Party is dumb enough to allow her to be their nominee.