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“Death Panel” Lie Reveals Republican Paranoia

Cameron TurnerRepublican Sen. Chuck Grassley is not stupid. He may be a political opportunist who is willing to pour the gasoline of misinformation onto the brushfi re of paranoia, but he is not stupid.

Sen. Grassley knows that the White House sanctioned health care reform proposals will not create government “death panels” that would force Americans to euthanize elderly and seriously ill loved ones. Grassley understands that the so-called “end-oflife provision” simply allows patients to use Medicare to pay for voluntary meetings with their doctors to discuss options in case of a terminal illness. Grassley realizes that all this talk about the government forcing people to “pull the plug on grandma” has no basis in fact. But, despite that awareness, Chuck Grassley used his infl uence as Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee to get the end-oflife provision deleted from its version of the health bill.

In announcing the committee’s decision last Thursday (August 13), Chuck Grassley basically admitted that there is nothing wrong with the intent of the legislation – he just feels it’s poorly worded. "We dropped end-of-life provisions from consideration entirely because of the way they could be misinterpreted and implemented incorrectly," the Senator said.

So, Grassley killed the provision not because it was a bad idea (certainly not “evil” as Sarah Palin contends) but because somebody, somewhere, might some day be confused about how to apply out the law. Well, if that was really the issue Grassley could have simply inserted some clarifying language into the Senate bill spelling out explicitly what the end-of-life provision allows and does not allow. But Grassley didn’t do that because he, like most conservative Republicans, is dedicated to defeating the health care overhaul at any cost – because doing so would mean defeating President Obama.

But Grassley and other conservative opinion-makers in government and the media know they can’t beat President Obama’s health care plan by discussing the facts. There are too many provisions in the reform plan that could appeal to everyday Americans. So, once again, the GOP leadership is trampling over the facts in order to ignite mob hysteria and the fears of whites who believe that America’s fi rst Black President is stealing their way of life.

The frenzy over health care isn’t really about health care at all. It’s about our President. Republican Party leaders fear Obama because of his broad and resilient personal popularity and because his agenda appeals to a large, diverse cross-section of Americans. Obama’s election was a denunciation of the GOP, its policies and of conservative ideology in general.

The Republicans have lost their control over American politics and they’re desperate to get it back. So desperate, in fact, that the GOP leadership has spread lies (like the mythological “Death panels”) and stoked the paranoia, rage and racism among their angry white voter base in an effort to derail anything and everything that President Obama tries to accomplish.Sarah Palin (Left) - Sen. Chuck Grassley (Right)

But the GOP should be careful. Whenever they stir up the mob, they expose themselves as hypocrites and extremists. That tactic backfired during the Presidential campaign, it backfired when President Obama was pushing the stimulus package and I expect it will backfi re in the health care battle.

But Grassley and other conservative opinion-makers in government and the media know they can’t beat President Obama’s health care plan by discussing the facts.

Political CartoonSo, they’re using the same tactic they used during the Presidential election campaign last fall: let loose the crazies!

Conservatives and liberals have legitimate philosophical differences when it comes to a complex issue like health care. But political opposition can hardly explain the hyperbole, rancor and belligerence that conservative politicians, pundits and everyday people have been expressing over health care reform. People don’t shout others down at town halls and throw around words like “evil,” “fascist” and “Nazi” because they disagree politically. They do that when they’re enraged, in a panic and want to rile folks up. They do that when they want violent emotion to replace reasoned discussion.

Thanks for listening. I’m Cameron Turner and that’s my two cents. THINK! IT AIN’T ILLEGAL…YET!


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