Alphonse de Neuville, Count Roland Behaving Insensitively at Roncesvalles, 1894
Or guart chascuns que granz colps,
Que malvaise cançun de nus chantet ne seit!
Paien unt tort e chrestiens unt dreit.
Now must we each lay on most hardily,
So songs of shame shall ne’er be sung of us.
Pagans are wrong and Christians are right.
Chanson de Roland, 1013-1015
————————————————————— Sarah Palin says that burning a copy of the Koran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks is “insensitive and an unnecessary provocation” and reminds us of the Golden Rule.
I don’t think Golden Rule applies to foreign enemies in time of war, and I’d say that Sarah Palin is clearly getting too close to Washington and sounds more and more like a conventional politician.
The FBI is warning that a backlash and retaliation is likely.
Pastor Jones may be a crank, and burning the Koran is neither genteel nor the most attractive choice of gestures, but here we are.
We are in a situation in which the obscure minister of an insignificant local congregation proposes an action insulting to Islam, and consequently find ourselves threatened and warned of bloodshed and massive violence if we don’t stop him.
Meanwhile, the leadership class of the country is responding by urging him to cease and desist, openly acknowledging fear of Islamic violence. Mere squeamishness and discomfort with being placed in the position of defending a gesture which is just not nice is additionally at work in rendering the American leadership class hors de combat.
Most of the same people ran, rather than walked, to defend Imam Abdul Rauf’s project constructing and Islamic Cultural Center, originally named for one of Islam’s most prized European conquests, within the zone of impact of the 9/11 attacks.
Personally, I’m completely fed up with the intelligentsia’s culture of utilitarian calculation and its cowardly inclination to shrink from direct opposition and open conflict with a hostile and insolent alien superstition. At this point, Pastor Jones burning that Koran is just like knocking off the chip that the town bully has placed on his shoulder.
Knock it off and then clean his clock for him, or prepare to bow and scrape and cringe in perpetuity is the real choice. We already have the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and Yale University Press practicing self censorship in response to Saracen sensibilities with respect to the Danish cartoons featuring Mohammed. We have Harvard University introducing sexual segregation in its gymnasium to accommodate Islam.
Where does accommodating and appeasing of Islam stop? With dhimmitude (subjection of non-Muslims to Islam) and with payment of the Jizyah, the Islamic tax on non-Muslims.
[T]he Jizyah shall be taken from them with belittlement and humiliation. The dhimmi shall come in person, walking not riding. When he pays, he shall stand, while the tax collector sits. The collector shall seize him by the scruff of the neck, shake him, and say “Pay the Jizyah!” and when he pays it he shall be slapped on the nape of the neck.
Sarah Palin with husband Todd attending the Belmont Stakes
And some anonymous hatchet-wielder at Wonkette accuses Sarah Palin of surgical enhancement. That’s the left for you. Their mind is always in the gutter and they judge everyone by their own standards.
Watch Andrew Sullivan climb all over this one.
Lori Ziganto notes how the left, as usual, missed the real story while focusing on trivia and spite.
Rachel Larimore, at Slate’s Double X, asked about the primary wins [Tuesday] night, “Where is the rah-rah sisterhood?”
The overriding theme of Tuesday night’s primary coverage was that it was a big night for female politicians. But there is a noticeable dearth of rah-rah sisterhood going on (though the National Review is pretty excited).
She further noted that the only talk amongst the Left, and feminists in particular, regarding this big night for conservative women was rather nasty comments about said women and lamenting that they were conservatives. Icky businesswomen, to boot! One even asked, “Do you still cheer if the ceiling is crashed by two conservative businesswomen?” ...
[A] big part of [the story of ] last night’s primary wins was that Sarah Palin had endorsed most of the winners, indicating that she does, in fact, wield quite a bit of power and has great pull with large segments of the population. Not everyone has to like Sarah Palin, but even those who don’t, should respect her, if only for the fact that she’s changed the national debate at least twice sheerly through her own Facebook postings. She is one of the best spokespeople we have right now. She pulls no punches and talks straight.
So, what is the story circulating among the lefty blogs and now worming its way into traditional media regarding Sarah Palin today? Not the success of the candidates she endorsed, but, rather, her breasts. That’s right. The big question of the day, first promulgated by the always inane Wonkette, is whether or not Sarah Palin had breast implants. I suppose we should just be grateful that it’s not incessant investigation of her uterus again, although I’m sure Andrew “I’ve finally lost my already weak grasp on sanity” Sullivan will work that in somehow.
UPDATE and CORRECTION:
She looks pretty similar to me in this August 2008 issue cover picture
Hmmm. Commenter Funkyphd informs me that the Vogue cover picture I referred to, which is all over the web, is a Photoshop fake. Thanks to Funkyphd.
I fell for it, I expect, because I knew that there really had been a Vogue feature on Palin published about that time.
So what can we find in its place? How about this 1984 Beauty Pageant picture
and the 0:37 video of her apearance in the swimsuit competition?
Bill Hobbs: “If you think Sarah Palin would do better job than Obama re BP and the oil spill, you’re right. In fact she already has.”
As Governor of Alaska, I did everything in my power to hold oil companies accountable in order to prove to the federal government and to the nation that Alaska could be trusted to further develop energy rich land like ANWR and NPR-A. I hired conscientious Democrats and Republicans (because this sure shouldn’t be a partisan issue) to provide me with the best advice on how we could deal with what was a corrupt system of some lawmakers and administrators who were hesitant to play hardball with some in the oil field business. ...
BP’s operation in Alaska would hurt our state and waste public resources if allowed to continue. That’s why my administration created the Petroleum Systems Integrity Office (PSIO) when we saw proof of improper maintenance of oil infrastructure in our state. We had to verify. And that’s why we instituted new oversight and held BP and other oil companies financially accountable for poor maintenance practices. We knew we could partner with them to develop resources without pussyfooting around with them. As a CEO, it was my job to look out for the interests of Alaskans with the same intensity and action as the oil company CEOs looked out for the interests of their shareholders.
The big news of the day (from the perspective of the left blogosphere) was the HuffPo photo taken during her speech at the Tea Party Convention revealing some talking points jotted on the palm of Sarah Palin’s left hand.
This one did not impress many people outside the left, but it did provoke derision from Ann Althouse and a humorous response (see photo above) from Sarah Palin herself.
Morgan Freeberg has a number of personal observations about Palin bashers. Several of his points fit my own experience to a T.
1. They’ve achieved a great deal less in life than she has, even though some are quite a bit older than she is.
2. They don’t want to be called “haters,” although their reaction to her is purely negative and purely emotional; I’m left groping for another word and “bashers,” far from being a perfect fit, ends up being the least-unsuitable. ..
6. They breathe hard and their pulse quickens. I haven’t run into too many people who are ready to calmly explain Sarah Palin’s lack of qualifications. ...
8. Their lofty opinions of the minimal requirements for the offices Palin has sought, or might seek, is selective. When the topic of conversation shifts to Joe Biden, suddenly it seems the Vice Presidency doesn’t demand a whole lot out of anyone.
9. They don’t seem to think it takes a whole lot to govern Alaska, or to even live there. They don’t appear to think very highly of Alaskans. One wonders if they’d back a Constitutional amendment establishing a “geographical litmus test” for future candidates, and if so, how many other states would go in the “No Can Do” column
It seems to me that Palin provokes fury in members of the community of fashion simply by being an outsider. As the Tanenhaus mugging in the New Yorker so effectively demonstrated, to the American elite the possibility that someone from outside their own class and culture and residential regions could possibly aspire to national leadership seems incongruous and insulting.
Sarah Palin, I have noticed, also provokes a special animus on the part of the lavender left. Andrew Sullivan, for example, seems about to tear himself into pieces à la Rumplestiltskin by an excess of negative passion inspired by Sarah Palin’s very existence. My guess is that the authentic femininity of a beautiful woman when associated with traditional cultural values unfriendly to sexual inversion has roughly the kind of impact on the likes of Andrew Sullivan that the crucifix has on vampires. The volume of the hissing and the screeching is directly proportionate to the frustration of the faux female confronted by what he recognizes as his definitive nemesis and rival. For those of us who had Roman Catholic childhoods the image of those ubiquitous statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary treading on the head of the serpent always come to mind when reading Andrew Sullivan on Palin. It’s all very Jungian: the serpent does not like the idea of the feminine principle, the Mother Goddess Creatrix, which can crush him into the earth with ease.
Palin even attracted a favorable review from liberal Bay Area critic Sandra Tsing Loh, and now, even more remarkably, we find kind words from postmodernist literary critic Stanley Fish.
When I walked into the Strand Bookstore in Manhattan last week, I headed straight for the bright young thing who wore an “Ask Me” button, and asked her to point me to the section of the store where I might find Sarah Palin’s memoir, “Going Rogue: An American Life.” She looked at me as if I had requested a copy of “Mein Kampf” signed in blood by the author, and directed me to the nearest Barnes and Noble, where, presumably, readers of dubious taste and sensibility could find what they wanted.
A few days later, I attended a seminar on political and legal theory where a distinguished scholar observed that every group has its official list of angels and devils. As an example, he offered the fact (of which he was supremely confident) that few, if any, in the room were likely to be Sarah Palin fans. By that time I had begun reading Palin’s book, and while I wouldn’t count myself a fan in the sense of being a supporter, I found it compelling and very well done. ...
For many politicians, family life is sandwiched in between long hours in public service. Palin wants us to know that for her it is the reverse. Political success is an accident that says nothing about you. Success as a wife, mother and citizen says everything.
Do I believe any of this? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that she does, and that her readers feel they are hearing an authentic voice. I find the voice undeniably authentic (yes, I know the book was written “with the help” of Lynn Vincent, but many books, including my most recent one, are put together by an editor). It is the voice of small-town America, with its folk wisdom, regional pride, common sense, distrust of rhetoric (itself a rhetorical trope), love of country and instinctive (not doctrinal) piety. It says, here are some of the great things that have happened to me, but they are not what makes my life great and American. (“An American life is an extraordinary life.”) It says, don’t you agree with me that family, freedom and the beauties of nature are what sustain us? And it also says, vote for me next time. For it is the voice of a politician, of the little girl who thought she could fly, tried it, scraped her knees, dusted herself off and “kept walking.”
In the end, perseverance, the ability to absorb defeat without falling into defeatism, is the key to Palin’s character. It’s what makes her run in both senses of the word and it is no accident that the physical act of running is throughout the book the metaphor for joy and real life. Her handlers in the McCain campaign wouldn’t let her run (a mistake, I think, even at the level of photo-op), no doubt because they feared another opportunity to go “off script,” to “go rogue.”
But run she does (and falls, but so what?), and when it is all over and she has lost the vice presidency and resigned the governorship, she goes on a long run and rehearses in her mind the eventful year she has chronicled. And as she runs, she achieves equilibrium and hope: “We’ve been through amazing days, and really, there wasn’t one thing to complain about. I feel such freedom, such hope, such thankfulness for our country, a place where nothing is hopeless.”
The message is clear. America can’t be stopped. I can’t be stopped. I’ve stumbled and fallen, but I always get up and run again. Her political opponents, especially those who dismissed Ronald Reagan before he was elected, should take note. Wherever you are, you better watch out. Sarah Palin is coming to town.
Alas! Barack Obama is sinking in the polls, populist critics like Glenn Beck have had a field day exposing the controversial aspects of his appointees, the progressive impetus is faltering in the halls of Congress, and prospects for the kinds of champions of “the civic sector” that Tanenhaus admires are looking dim in upcoming elections.
With characteristic even-handedness, the liberal New Yorker turned to Conservatism expert Tanenhaus for its “review” of Sarah Palin’s memoir “Going Rogue.”
What Tanenhaus really delivers is an in-print liberal temper tantrum, trashing Palin up, down, and sideways, sinking frequently to the level of the high school “in crowd” savaging the non-cool kid from the not-rich family who got above herself. Carried away by his indignation at the nerd Palin, from the wrong side of the nation’s geography and class structure, daring to sit down at the lunch table reserved for the cultural equivalent of cheer leaders and football players, Tanenhaus openly reveals what liberals really think (in their most secret little hearts): Sarah Palin represents the erasure of any distinction between the governing and the governed.
Unlike our liberal friends, we conservatives think the American Revolution erased that distinction. In today’s America, the successors to Jefferson and Madison and Jackson, the people who really believe in the equality of the individual before the law, the people who believe that people from outside the ranks of the national Establishment may be worthy and capable of holding high office, are Republicans.
Today’s liberals are a strange combination of the Secret Six, the Narodnaya Volya, and every high school’s ruling clique. Like the 19th century radical Abolitionists with whom they explicitly identify, Liberals believe they are morally and intellectually more enlightened than Americans generally, and perceive grave and fundamental sins (retrospectively, Slavery and segregation and other forms of inequality; contemporaneously, the absence of National Health Care and the profanation of the Natural World) blemishing America, which they feel entitled to correct regardless of what any or all of the rest of us happen to think about it. Like the 19th century underground radical conspirators, and despite the Fall of the Soviet Union, they still consider themselves a Vanguard of the Left, empowered by History to bring society as it currently exists forcibly into a Utopian future, characterized by an enormously expanded Statism benificently presided over by an elite intelligentsia (i.e. themselves).
On a more mundane level, like any high school clique, they feel entitled to rule, and they demand deference, on the basis of status. Tanenhaus refers to “distinction,” which he summarizes as consisting of skill, experience, intellect but, as we saw in the 2008 campaign, in which the record of the most popular and successful governor in the nation was compared disfavorably by every liberal evaluator of “distinction” to a candidate whose only meaningful accomplishments were a (possibly ghost-written) post-Law School memoir and the campaign then still underway, that skill, experience, and intellect tend to be qualities varying greatly in the eye of the beholder. A captious critic could easily observe that the election of Barack Obama proves just how easily the top lunch-table clique can be seduced by such superficialities as glibness and a good announcer’s voice.
Matthew Dowd has some very bad news for liberals. Sarah Palin, he argues, has a real shot at winning the presidency in 2012.
Gallup polls over the past 60 years show that no president with an approval rating under 47 percent has won reelection, and no president with an approval rating above 51 percent has lost reelection. (George W. Bush’s approval rating in the weeks before the 2004 election hovered around 50 percent.) The 2012 election will be primarily about our current president and whether voters are satisfied with the country’s direction.
Who the Republican candidate is, and his or her qualifications and abilities, will matter only if Obama’s approval rating is between 47 and 51 percent going into the fall of 2012. Interestingly, in the latest Gallup poll Obama’s approval rating was at a precarious 49 percent.
Second, America is still (unfortunately) politically divided and polarized, and Palin benefits from this dynamic. While Democrats love Obama, Republicans look on him with real disfavor. The gap between Obama’s approval rating among Democrats and among Republicans is nearly 70 percentage points—a higher partisan divide than either Bill Clinton or George W. Bush experienced. Obama’s agenda and actions this year, and some mistakes, have solidified this divide.
Polls show that Palin’s favorability numbers are a mirror image of those of Obama. She is respected and loved by the Republican base, while Democrats despise her. Granted, independent voters have significant reservations about her capability to be president, and this would be a hurdle in the general election. But to win the Republican nomination, Palin needs only to get enough support from the base to win early key states. Already, in nearly every poll today, she has a level of support that makes her a viable primary candidate. Just look at the crowds and the buzz her book tour is drawing. ...
Like it or not, if Sarah Palin decides to seek our nation’s highest office, she has a shot.
Hold on to your hats. Sarah Palin’s book has actually garnered a positive review from San Francisco liberal democrat Sandra Tsing Loh, and in Salon no less. Tsing Loh concedes that Palin’s opus has “surprising charms.”
Now hold your horses, you snarky, lefty, NPR-listening, New York Times-subscribing readers of Salon. I haven’t jumped ship to declare Sarah Palin herself “great.” I’m from California, after all; I am not a creationist, I am not pro-life, I have never shot a moose. Nor is my culinary specialty an Alaskan dish called “moose chili.” Here on the Left Coast, along with our hummus, we prefer “turkey chili,” which is perhaps less gamey and lower in fat but in the end, I ask you, is it really more humane? (Who killed the turkey? Was it a person or a corporation? This Trader Joe’s we speak of—is he union? Is his name actually “Joe”? And what is his relation to Big Oil’s manipulation of the rising price of Bristol Bay canned fishery salmon to 27 cents a pound?) These are the complexities one ponders at night while falling asleep under the gristly if at times oddly tasty caribou stew that is Sarah Palin’s new 400-plus-page memoir….
(W)hat’s refreshing is that Palin seems unafraid to express herself, warts and all—informal campaign motto: “Heels on! Gloves off!”—and the book just goes where it goes. Much has already been made of her freewheeling critiques, not just of Democrats but also of Republican Party insiders and McCain 2008 campaign managers, particularly in the gloomy waning days of the run. (“Schmidt leveled his eyes at me. ‘We don’t have the money Obama does and the numbers don’t look good. We’ve got to change things up.’ I AGREE. I was eager to hear a new strategy. ‘So,’ he continued, ‘headquarters is flying in a nutritionist.’” Ba-dump-bump!) She is forthcoming enough about her personal failings. Belying her shellacked outer shell, more reminiscent to me of Anita Bryant than Tina Fey, Palin confesses a not-ready-for-prime-time horror at Trig’s Down syndrome diagnosis and relates at least one fairly satisfying campaign trail fight with husband Todd. As opposed to Bush’s post-Yale reinvention of himself as a Texas cowboy, Palin doesn’t seem to be making this folksy stuff up. And really, who would want to? While courting Palin as a teen, Todd gave her “gold nugget earrings”; with only one phone line in the house, she and Todd yapped at night on their back porches on fishing boat radios, until they realized every commercial trucker trundling through town could hear them; the wedding rings were each $35, the post-nuptial dinner was at Wendy’s. All this in the town of Wasilla, which, due to stratospheric sales of this particular product, Wal-Mart has deemed “the Duct Tape capital of the world.”
In Palin’s “Little House on the Tundra” (her own coinage), the very state of Alaska seems to have its own sound, its own language, its own quaint patois. There are so many more colorful sayings than that “pit bull with lipstick” quip! Things grow “faster than fireweed in July”; bench warming during sports games is known as “riding the pine.”
There is the truly startling tale of their neighbor Doc. A private bush pilot, he was electrocuted and fell off a ladder while hand-draping fluorescent flagging over power lines so he could more safely land his Citabria at home. Never one to give up, after the accident Doc “retrained himself to be a left-handed, one-armed dentist”! Writes Palin of her huntin’ dad (who is known for palming balmy, just-removed moose eyeballs and warming fish eggs in his mouth), “So a lot of what Alaskans ate, we raised or hunted: moose, caribou, ptarmigan, and ducks. Dad and his friends became their own small-game taxidermists. Even today, my parents’ living room looks like a natural history museum. And when an earthquake hits, Dad can tell the magnitude by how fast the tail wags on the stuffed cougar.” As Frontier literature, I believe “Going Rogue” compares favorably to the Natty Bumpo stories of James Fenimore Cooper. And who wants to argue with me?
Indeed, by the end of this book, I thought, Never mind the hundreds of thousands of reasons the fiery Republican femme fatale is hated in, for instance, my oh-so-blue state of California. Honestly, a fair amount of what makes Sarah Palin weird is the very same stuff that makes Alaska weird.
Heaven knows, Andrew Sullivan is a prolific and occasionally intelligent blogger. Andrew combines a rather wide ranging curiosity with a penchant for enthusiastic argument. But… Andrew has turned into a textbook case demonstrating how sexual deviants, though often extraordinarily talented, are too frequently irrational, irresponsible, and abusive of positions of authority and trust.
A number of prominent bloggers marveled back in 2005 and 2006 as Andrew Sullivan magically transformed himself from a fervent supporter of the invasion of Iraq into a constant complainer about detainee treatment and enhanced interrogations. Frankly, it was impossible to fail to notice that Andrew Sullivan’s emotionalism on the subject of harsh treatment of jihadist detainees had the intensely subjective character of a hysterical sissy mentally projecting a grotesquely exaggerated version of detainee sufferings upon himself and then protesting accordingly. I believe it was Micky Kaus, around that time, who dubbed him “Excitable Andrew.”
Unfortunately, the psychosexual perversity just keeps happening.
Beyond the big salty tears that pour down Andrew’s hirsute cheeks over the sufferings of those poor little Jihadi terrorists, his next major insanity focuses on Sarah Palin, and Andrew’s behavior in relation to Palin is not a pretty sight.
It’s not easy to understand exactly why, but it is clear that an attractive, charismatic woman with conservative views has an enormous emotional impact on Andrew Sullivan. He has been blogging about crazed theories of his own about her family and publishing an endless series of attacks and accusations directed at Sarah Palin ever since she first appeared on the national political stage last year. The appearance of Sarah Palin’s book recently drove Andrew right around the bend. He published a lengthy list of alleged inaccuracies, and had to take a day off from blogging in order to obsess over how much he hates Sarah Palin.
It is more than a little unseemly for a major magazine like the Atlantic to offer a platform for Andrew Sullivan to use to throw the homosexual tantrums in which he lashes out so viciously and unrelentingly at Sarah Palin. The reader becomes uncomfortable, reluctantly recognizing in Sullivan’s rants the bitter jealousy of the pansy for the beauty and sexual attractiveness of the real woman, the obsessive hatred of the inverted and the sexually diseased for someone so conspicuously normal and healthy.
When you come right down to it, we Americans do not need the political advice of a non-citizen British subject, endless lectures on morality from a sexual pervert, or disquisitions of the proper limits of violence from a sissy. We also do not need Sullivan’s exhibitions of sexual hostility toward Sarah Palin.
He was recently arrested for drug law violations in Massachusetts. He is HIV positive, and consequently ineligible for naturalization. He has apparently admitted that accusations of attempts on his part to expose US residents to potentially fatal sexually transmitted disease are true.
Robert Stacy McCain is perfectly correct in his suggestion that the US should DEPORT ANDREW SULLIVAN! Do it.
Andrew Malcolm, at the LA Times, sits on the sidelines, marveling at the enormous avalanche of leftwing abuse prompted by the publisher’s release of Sarah Palin’s new book, Going Rogue.
Wow, for somebody who’s supposed to be such a political joke, an Arctic ditz and eminently dismissable as a serious anything except maybe a stay-at-home hockey mom, Sarah Palin is sure drawing an awful lot of attention from Democrats and eager critics.
The launch of her “Going Rogue” interviews Monday on “Oprah,” of her book today, of her on-air chat today with Rush Limbaugh at 10 a.m. Pacific and of her mid-America bus book tour Wednesday ignited a surprisingly large blizzard of derogatory Democrat dis-missives.
Every few minutes another note from Democratic National Committee operatives and others dropped into electronic mailboxes across the media-verse, helpfully passing on even the tiniest tidbit of negative news about Palin.
You know how sometimes a friend tells you how much he/she doesn’t really care about….
...someone else. Really doesn’t! And repeats it a sufficient number of times that you become convinced of precisely the opposite?
Sarah Palin’s new book Going Rogue will not be released by its publisher until November 17, but it is already the Number 1 best selling title on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
A hit piece in the New York Post sneers over the fact that Sarah Palin had the assistance of a collaborator (Lynn Vincent) in producing her book. The press never talks that way about books (all written with—or by—collaborators) published by democrats like the Clintons.
I suppose the difference is that Palin identified her collaborator publicly, rather than denying one existed.
JWF reports that Palin is having the last laugh over the Post attack piece’s “blithering idiot” insult. Apparently, she is getting hundreds of speech requests at her new $100,000 speaking fee. On top of her $7 million book advance, those speeches will quickly pay off the legal expenses that caused her to relinquish the Alaska governorship, and will give her a platform to use to make an impact on the political issues of the day.
Leftists characteristically avoid openly advocating their goals. They don’t call themselves Marxists or socialists. These days they even avoid the label of liberal, and prefer to speak of themselves as “progressives.” Their reliance on deception, their preference for seeking power not via an open fight, but rather by a gradual process of subversion, have made traditionally the favored zoological metaphors for leftists, not major predators like wolves, but small and sneaky vermin like rats or roaches. Winston Churchill once even described Lenin (being transported to Russia from Switzerland in a sealed train by Germany) as resembling a plague bacillus.
This morning, however, Maureen Dowd is a bit more denunciatory than usual, accusing Sarah Palin of turning back country Alaska major predator control tactics on Rahm Emanuel’s brother, medical ethicist Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel.
At the moment, what she wants to do is tap into her visceral talent for aerial-shooting her favorite human prey: cerebral Ivy League Democrats.
Just as she was able to stir up the mob against Barack Obama on the trail, now she is fanning the flames against another Harvard smarty-pants — Dr. Zeke Emanuel, a White House health care adviser and the older brother of Rahmbo.
She took a forum, Facebook, more commonly used by kids hooking up and cyberstalking, and with one catchy phrase, several footnotes and a zesty disregard for facts, managed to hijack the health care debate from Mr. Obama.
Sarahcuda knows, from her brush with Barry on the campaign trail, that he is vulnerable on matters that demand a visceral and muscular response rather than a logical and book-learned one. Mr. Obama was charming and informed at his town hall in Montana on Friday, but he’s going to need some sustained passion, a clear plan and a narrative as gripping as Palin’s I-see-dead-people scenario.
She has successfully caricatured the White House health care effort, making it sound like the plot of the 1976 sci-fi movie “Logan’s Run,” about a post-apocalyptic society with limited resources where you can live only until age 30, when you must take part in an extermination ceremony called “Carousel” or flee the city.
Painting the Giacometti-esque Emanuel as a creepy Dr. Death, Palin attacked him on her Facebook page a week ago, complaining that his “Orwellian thinking” could lead to a “death panel” with bureaucrats deciding whether to pull the plug on less hardy Americans.
When democrats go ballistic like this, and pull out all the stops on denial, you can tell that someone has struck a nerve. For several days now, democrats everywhere have been screaming in pain over this one. Even my liberal classmates have been faithfully repeating the Gospel According to Talking Points Memo and Daily Kos: “Palin is lying about ‘Death Panels.’”
Was Palin lying? Let’s see.
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.
Palin was repeating a point made in a House speech, Monday, July 27, 2009 (5:18 video), by Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-6th district Minn.)
Much of Michelle Bachmann’s speech consisted of her reading a July 24th column from the New York Post by Betsey McCaughey. McCaughey quoted Dr. Emanuel repeatedly:
Emanuel bluntly admits that the cuts (produced by democrat so-called health care reform) will not be pain-free. “Vague promises of savings from cutting waste, enhancing prevention and wellness, installing electronic medical records and improving quality are merely ‘lipstick’ cost control, more for show and public relations than for true change,” he wrote last year (Health Affairs Feb. 27, 2008).
Savings, he writes, will require changing how doctors think about their patients: Doctors take the Hippocratic Oath too seriously, “as an imperative to do everything for the patient regardless of the cost or effects on others” (Journal of the American Medical Association, June 18, 2008). ...
Emanuel wants doctors to look beyond the needs of their patients and consider social justice, such as whether the money could be better spent on somebody else.
Many doctors are horrified by this notion; they’ll tell you that a doctor’s job is to achieve social justice one patient at a time.
Emanuel, however, believes that “communitarianism” should guide decisions on who gets care. He says medical care should be reserved for the non-disabled, not given to those “who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens . . . An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia” (Hastings Center Report, Nov.-Dec. ‘96).
Translation: Don’t give much care to a grandmother with Parkinson’s or a child with cerebral palsy.
He explicitly defends discrimination against older patients: “Unlike allocation by sex or race, allocation by age is not invidious discrimination; every person lives through different life stages rather than being a single age. Even if 25-year-olds receive priority over 65-year-olds, everyone who is 65 years now was previously 25 years” (Lancet, Jan. 31).
Cornell Law Professor William A. Jacobson observes that the argument Sarah Palin quoted from Rep. Bachman certainly is important and central to the debate of proposed health care reform.
The article in which Dr. Emanuel puts forth his approach is “Principles for Allocation of Scarce Medical Interventions,” published on January 31, 2009. A full copy is embedded below. Read it, particularly the section beginning at page 6 of the embed (page 428 in the original) at which Dr. Emanuel sets forth the principles of “The Complete Lives System.”
While Emanuel does not use the term “death panel,” Palin put that term in quotation marks to signify the concept of medical decisions based on the perceived societal worth of an individual, not literally a “death panel.” And in so doing, Palin was true to Dr. Emanuel’s concept of a system which
considers prognosis, since its aim is to achieve complete lives. A young person with a poor prognosis has had a few life-years but lacks the potential to live a complete life. Considering prognosis forestalls the concern the disproportionately large amounts of resources will be directed to young people with poor prognoses. When the worst-off can benefit only slightly while better-off people could benefit greatly, allocating to the better-off is often justifiable….
When implemented, the complete lives system produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuated.
Put together the concepts of prognosis and age, and Dr. Emanuel’s proposal reasonably could be construed as advocating the withholding of some level of medical treatment (probably not basic care, but likely expensive advanced care) to a baby born with Down Syndrome. You may not like this implication, but it is Dr. Emanuel’s implication not Palin’s.
The next question is, whether Dr. Emanuel’s proposal bears any connection to current Democratic proposals. There is no single Democratic proposal at this point, only a series of proposals and concepts. To that extent, Palin’s comments properly are viewed as a warning shot not to move to Dr. Emanuel’s concept of health care rationing based on societal worth, rather than a critique of a specific bill ready for vote.
Certainly, no Democrat is proposing a “death panel,” or withholding care to the young or infirm. To say such a thing would be political suicide.
But one interesting concept which is central to the concepts being discussed is the creation of a panel of “experts” to make the politically unpopular decisions on allocating health care resources. In a letter to the Senate, Barack Obama expressed support for such a commission:
I am committed to working with the Congress to fully offset the cost of health care reform by reducing Medicare and Medicaid spending by another $200 to $300 billion over the next 10 years, and by enacting appropriate proposals to generate additional revenues. These savings will come not only by adopting new technologies and addressing the vastly different costs of care, but from going after the key drivers of skyrocketing health care costs, including unmanaged chronic diseases, duplicated tests, and unnecessary hospital readmissions.
To identify and achieve additional savings, I am also open to your ideas about giving special consideration to the recommendations of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), a commission created by a Republican Congress. Under this approach, MedPAC’s recommendations on cost reductions would be adopted unless opposed by a joint resolution of the Congress. This is similar to a process that has been used effectively by a commission charged with closing military bases, and could be a valuable tool to help achieve health care reform in a fiscally responsible way.
Will such a commission decide to curtail allocation of resources to those who are not deemed capable of “complete lives” based on prognosis and age, as proposed by Dr. Emanuel? There is no way to tell at this point since we do not have a final Democratic proposal, or know who would be appointed to such a commission.