Tag Archives: George H.W. Bush

Palin: I’m Not the Biggest Liar of the Year

Sarah Palin at a recent book signing for "Going Rogue"

Sarah Palin continues to draw negative attention to herself.

There’s an old story that occasionally makes the rounds in Washington. In the 1970s, a magazine (now long defunct) named New Times reported that Sen. William Scott, a Virginia Republican, had been ranked the “dumbest” senator in a survey conducted by a public interest group. Subsequently, Scott held a press conference to deny the charge — thereby proving he was pretty darn dumb. After all, he only called more attention to the accusation.

Sarah Palin has taken a Scott-like position.

Earlier this month, PolitiFact.com, a project of the St. Petersburg Times, awarded Palin the not-so-coveted “lie of the year” award for claiming last summer that President Obama‘s health care reform initiative would set up “death panels” run by bureaucrats who would decide if seniors and disabled citizens “based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society’ ” would be “worthy of health care.” PolitiFact.com explains:

On Aug. 10, PolitiFact rated Palin’s statement Pants on Fire [its highest — or lowest — rating]. In the weeks that followed, health care policy experts on both the right and the left said the euthanasia comparisons were inaccurate. Gail Wilensky, a health adviser to President George H.W. Bush, said the charge was untrue and upsetting.

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Lie of the Year: ‘Death Panels’

And the "Lie of the Year" winner is ... Sarah Palin!!

Of all the falsehoods and distortions in the political discourse this year, one stood out from the rest.

Death panels.”

The claim set political debate afire when it was made in August, raising issues from the role of government in health care to the bounds of acceptable political discussion. In a nod to the way technology has transformed politics, the statement wasn’t made in an interview or a television ad. Sarah Palin posted it on her Facebook page.

Her assertion — that the government would set up boards to determine whether seniors and the disabled were worthy of care — spread through newscasts, talk shows, blogs and town hall meetings. Opponents of health care legislation said it revealed the real goals of the Democratic proposals. Advocates for health reform said it showed the depths to which their opponents would sink. Still others scratched their heads and said, “Death panels? Really?”

The editors of PolitiFact.com, the fact-checking Web site of the St. Petersburg Times, have chosen it as our inaugural “Lie of the Year.”

PolitiFact readers overwhelmingly supported the decision. Nearly 5,000 voted in a national poll to name the biggest lie, and 61 percent chose “death panels” from a field of eight finalists. (See the complete results.)

This is the story of how two words generated intense heat in the national debate over health care.

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Sarah Palin’s Brand of Populism is Dangerous and Deceptive

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin

Writing about Sarah Palin in Newsweek last month, I pointed out the crude way in which she tried to Teflon-ize herself when allegations of weird political extremism were made against her. Thus, she had once gone to a Pat Buchanan rally wearing a pro-Buchanan button, but only because she thought it was the polite thing to do. She and her husband had both attended meetings of the Alaskan Independence Party—he as a member—but its name, she later tried to claim, only meant “independent.” (The AIP is a straightforward secessionist party.) She didn’t disbelieve all the evidence for evolution, only some of it. She hadn’t exactly said that God was on our side in Iraq, only that God and the United States were on the same side. She says that she left Hawaii Pacific College after only one year because the climate was too sunny for an Alaskan; her father (whom she considers practically infallible) tells her most recent biographers that she quit because of the preponderance of Asian and Pacific islanders: “They were a minority type thing and it wasn’t glamorous. So she came home.” And so on. As I tried to summarize the repeated tactic:

So there it is: anti-Washington except that she thirsts for it, and close enough (and also far enough away to be “deniable”) to the paranoid fringe element who darkly suggest that our president is a Kenyan communist.

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Palin Once Favored End-Of-Life Counseling

Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Portland, Oregon's 3rd District, sponsored the end-of-life counseling amendment characterized by conservative politicians as the formation of 'death panels' to euthanize seniors.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Portland, Oregon's 3rd District, sponsored the end-of-life counseling amendment characterized by conservative politicians as the formation of 'death panels' to euthanize seniors.

Portland, Ore. – Health insurance reform continues to grip both chambers of Congress and the Obama administration; it also remains a focal point of former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, whose criticism of Portland’s contribution to the House health reform bill fueled a conservative uprising.

President Obama this week noted that the end-of-life counseling amendment, sponsored by Portland’s U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, had been used by conservatives and a “prominent politician” to spread “cynical and irresponsible” charges. Obama referred to Palin and her claim that the amendment would lead to so-called death panels for senior citizens.

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FACT CHECK: No ‘Death Panel’ in Health Care Bill

Demonstrators in Lincoln, Neb., last week argued about the Democratic-led push to overhaul the health care system.

Demonstrators in Lincoln, Neb., last week argued about the Democratic-led push to overhaul the health care system.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin says the health care overhaul bill would set up a “death panel.” Federal bureaucrats would play God, ruling on whether ailing seniors are worth enough to society to deserve life-sustaining medical care. Palin and other critics are wrong.

Nothing in the legislation would carry out such a bleak vision. The provision that has caused the uproar would instead authorize Medicare to pay doctors for counseling patients about end-of-life care, if the patient wishes. Here are some questions and answers on the controversy:

Q: Does the health care legislation bill promote “mercy killing,” or euthanasia?

A: No!

Q: Then what’s all the fuss about?

A: A provision in the House bill written by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., would allow Medicare to pay doctors for voluntary counseling sessions that address end-of-life issues. The conversations between doctor and patient would include living wills, making a close relative or a trusted friend your health care proxy, learning about hospice as an option for the terminally ill, and information about pain medications for people suffering chronic discomfort.

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