Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Fat Fish in a Shrinking Barrel
Wow. Where to begin.
Sarah Palin took to Facebook recently to share some of her thoughts (or whatever you wish to call them) regarding Obama's proposed health care legislation. "The America I know and love," said Palin, "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."
If this scenario sounds more like an episode of the Twilight Zone than the legislation in question, that's because it is very similar to an episode of the Twilight Zone ("The Obsolete Man", original air date June 2, 1961) while it has no factual or even rational connection to the legislation. Worse than securing her position as the fat fish in a shrinking barrel in which many love to fire away, there is an even greater political danger in Palin's wacky proclamations.
She has thrown a red herring into the health care debate that liberals could only dream of. And it worked.
Now an alarming number of conservatives are riled up, railing against provisions that do not even exist. Meanwhile the clear and present dangers of the bill, the cost-cutting smoke and mirrors neatly tucked away, the overwhelming increase in spending (and subsequent necessary tax increases) and bureaucratic sprawl, and the considerable damage all of this will do to an a private health care sector that is poised for one hell of a collapse, are increasingly ignored.
These things may not be as sexy as an imaginary death panel, but for the thinking conservative they should loom as a far more ominous threat. A threat that Sarah Palin either chooses to ignore or fails to see, which seems characteristic of her relentless supporters.
Palin's Facebook page is full of their posted wisdom:
"Thank you Sarah Palin. At last we have someone who speaks for the people!"
"No weapon formed against you shall prosper......rock on!"
And my personal favorite...
Sometimes I get the impression these Republicans are profoundly confused, and perhaps believe they're only following some kind of elaborate reality television program. Does Sarah Palin reflect the Republican Party or does the Republican Party merely reflect Sarah Palin? I can only hope the latter is true, and temporarily so. We're all a little hungover after the Bush Administration, after all (see: the Presidential Nomination of John McCain).
But so long as Sarah Palin remains at the forefront of Republican politics, tossing red herrings into already complex policy discussions, the Republican voice in Washington may grow louder, as it also grows benign.