Tag Archives: Newt Gingrich

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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The Irrefutable Stupidity of Sarah Palin (Video)

Sarah Palin is the personification of America's anti-intellectualism and seems to be determined to exploit her intellectual limitations at the expense of the nation's best interests.

From time to time, I’ll get into a debate with a right-winger about whether Sarah Palin is actually stupid or if liberals are just hopelessly biased against her. They claim this bias comes from the fact that liberals are scared of her electability, her charm, her looks, her femininity, her Christianity, her ability connect to the common man and her overall wonderfulness. So, the theory is that we have all collectively decided that she is the best Republican candidate in some secret liberal meeting and are conspiring against her because we are afraid of how brilliant and electable she really is.

Now, there are a couple of problems with this theory. There are no opinion leaders on the left with Rush Limbaugh-like authority who can command all other progressives to think the same thing and use the same arguments against one person. In other words, we all think she is stupid because she is in fact stupid, not because some liberal cabal told us to think that.

How come we don’t call Newt Gingrich stupid? Or Dick Cheney or Kay Bailey Hutchinson or Elizabeth Dole or Dennis Hastert? And the list goes on and on of heinous and deplorable right-wingers who are not stupid. We don’t make those charges against those people, because as much as we might not agree with them or like them, we know that they are not dullards. They’re all clever in their own way. Mitt Romney is greasy, Michael Steele is a clown and Tom DeLay is dirty, but we don’t go after their mental acuity like we do with Sarah Palin because they’re not as dumb as her (not even Steele).

So, finally we get to the evidence. I thought I’d just do it here and be done with it. Then I can just point people to this post from now on and end this senseless argument.

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The GOP Stalinists Invade Upstate New York

The GOP have gotten into a tangled mess with the ultra-conservative fringe battling the more moderate centerists for control of the Republican Party.

The GOP is in a tangled mess with the ultra-conservative fringe lead by Sarah Palin battling the more moderate centerists for control of the Republican Party.

Barack Obama‘s most devilish political move since the 2008 campaign was to appoint a Republican congressman from upstate New York as secretary of the Army. This week’s election to fill that vacant seat has set off nothing less than a riotous and bloody national G.O.P. civil war. No matter what the results in that race on Tuesday, the Republicans are the sure losers. This could be a gift that keeps on giving to the Democrats through 2010, and perhaps beyond.

The governors’ races in New Jersey and Virginia were once billed as the marquee events of Election Day 2009 — a referendum on the Obama presidency and a possible Republican “comeback.” But preposterous as it sounds, the real action migrated to New York’s 23rd, a rural Congressional district abutting Canada. That this pastoral setting could become a G.O.P. killing field, attracting an all-star cast of combatants led by Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, William Kristol and Newt Gingrich, is a premise out of a Depression-era screwball comedy. But such farces have become the norm for the conservative movement — whether the participants are dressing up in full “tea party” drag or not.

The battle for upstate New York confirms just how swiftly the right has devolved into a wacky, paranoid cult that is as eager to eat its own as it is to destroy Obama. The movement’s undisputed leaders, Palin and Beck, neither of whom has what Palin once called the “actual responsibilities” of public office, would gladly see the Republican Party die on the cross of right-wing ideological purity. Over the short term, at least, their wish could come true.

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Sarah Palin can see China from Hong Kong

Former U.S. vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, holding a local newspaper with her picture printed on, arrives at the check-in counter at Hong Kong airport Thursday, Sept. 24, 2009 as Palin is leaving Hong Kong for the U.S.

Former U.S. vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, holding a local newspaper with her picture printed on, arrives at the check-in counter at Hong Kong airport Thursday, Sept. 24, 2009 as Palin is leaving Hong Kong for the U.S.

Ex-Gov. Sarah Palin made a decorous debut on the international stage Wednesday with a long speech to investors in Hong Kong.

As politicians like ex-President George W. Bush prefer when they leave public office, the event was closed to the evil, distorting media that’s probably too cheap to buy a ticket anyway. And as with teenage dating, there’s nothing the pursuer wants more than something he can’t have.

So, of course, some details always leak out. Palin was reportedly well-received and folksy at times, but gone was any hard-edged partisanship so familiar from the campaign a year ago. She did not mention what’s-his-name in the White House who clobbered her Republican presidential ticket last November.

”I’m going to call it like I see it,” she said, according to the Associated Press, “and I will share with you candidly a view right from Main Street, Main Street U.S.A.”

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Huckabee Beats Palin in Straw Poll at Values Voter Summit

Sarah Palin didn’t do herself any favors with conservative Christian voters by not accepting their speaking invitation this weekend, judging by the results of a Republican presidential straw poll at a Washington confab for political activists.

It was former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee who creamed the competition in the highly unscientific contest, which was conducted at the two-day Values Voter Summit, sponsored by the Family Research Group.

Huckabee, who has been hosting a talk show on Fox News, garnered 28.4% of nearly 600 votes cast. With 12% of the vote, Palin was in a virtual tie for second with three others — former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney,  Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Indiana Rep. Mike Pence.

Was Huckabee’s victory a surprise? Not really, said Family Research Council head Tony Perkins. After all, unlike Palin, he showed up Friday and gave a warmly received speech. Plus, evangelicals who mistrusted his record as a fiscal conservative and felt he lacked foreign policy experience feel that he’s made strides in both areas, Perkins said.

Palin’s poor showing said Perkins, was probably due to “people questioning the decisions she’s made lately. And she wasn’t here. You’re not going to get support here just based on your reputation.”

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Sarah Palin’s New Death Panel

The GOP is slowing down healthcare reform to a snail's pace.

The GOP is slowing down healthcare reform to a snail's pace.

Sarah Palin popped up again today on the Wall Street Journal’s Op-Ed page to renew her accusation that President Obama was advocating “death panels.” Never mind that lawmakers have already abandoned the proposal that gave rise to the original “death panel” hysteria, namely, a provision allowing Medicare to pay doctors no more than once every five years to counsel patients about their options for “end of life” care. (Some top geriatricians think such counseling would actually give the elderly more control by encouraging them to declare their preferences while they’re still capable of doing so. But I digress.) This time, Palin attacked Obama’s proposal to beef up MedPAC — the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. The 17-member MedPAC makes recommendations to Congress about how much doctors and hospitals should be paid for the services they provide. To insulate these decisions from political pressure, Obama has proposed giving a new version of MedPAC the power to set reimbursement levels, with Congress retaining the power to veto those decisions before they take effect. To Palin, though, this amounted to giving “an unelected, largely unaccountable group of experts” the power to make life-and-death decisions about care.

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Will The Media Take the Sarah Palin Bait?

Sarah Palin at the Republican Governors Association conference on November 13, 2008.

Sarah Palin speaking at the Republican Governors Association conference.

Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice presidential candidate, has every right to submit an opinion piece on health care to the Wall Street Journal’s op-ed page, and they’ve got every right to print it. But Palin’s existence in this debate does not (a) lend her voice any credibility and, beyond that, even if you believe that her experience as a state governor does give her at least a modicum of credibility, it does not follow that, because her voice is credible, it ought to be influential. Newt Gingrich is influential by rights; he’s done the work, come up with original ideas, and been in the trenches. (Replacing Medicare with vouchers…not new or remotely plausible, even if GOPers do well in the next two elections. Quoting Ronald Reagan talking about that type of proposal…not new. Etc.) Continue reading