The first we heard about Sarah Palin’s “death panels” comment was in a conversation last Friday with an acquaintance who was appalled by it. Our interlocutor is not a Democratic partisan but a high-minded centrist who deplores extremist rhetoric whatever the source. We don’t even know if he has a position on ObamaCare. From his description, it sounded to us as though Palin really had gone too far.
A week later, it is clear that she has won the debate.
President Obama himself took the comments of the former governor of the 47th-largest state seriously enough to answer them directly in his so-called town-hall meeting Tuesday in Portsmouth, N.H. As we noted Wednesday, he was callous rather than reassuring, speaking glibly–to audience laughter–about “pulling the plug on grandma.”
The Los Angeles Times reports that Palin has won a legislative victory as well:
A Senate panel has decided to scrap the part of its healthcare bill that in recent days has given rise to fears of government “death panels,” with one lawmaker suggesting the proposal was just too confusing.
The Senate Finance Committee is taking the idea of advance care planning consultations with doctors off the table as it works to craft its version of healthcare legislation, a Democratic committee aide said Thursday.
Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, ranking Republican on the committee, said the panel dropped the idea because it could be “misinterpreted or implemented incorrectly.”Â .Â .Â .
The Palin claim about “death panels” was so widely discredited that the White House has begun openly quoting it in an effort to show that opponents of the healthcare overhaul are misinformed.
You have to love that last bit. The fearless, independent journalists of the Los Angeles Times justify their assertion that the Palin claim was “widely discredited” with an appeal to authority–the authority of the White House, which is to say, the other side in the debate.
One suspects the breathtaking inadequacy of this argument would have been obvious to Times reporters Christi Parsons and Andrew Zajac if George W. Bush were still president. And of course this appears in a story about how the Senate was persuaded to act in accord with Palin’s position–which doesn’t prove that position right but does show that it is widely (though, to be sure, not universally) credited.