Saturday, August 15, 2009

"Death Panel" Lies Kill End-Of-Life Provision

Per my post yesterday, I'm becoming somewhat depressed that it's been so easy for Republican lies and smears to dismantle some of the very important provisions of President Obama's health care reform legislation. And it now appears that the end-of-life provision is the latest casualty:

Key senators are excluding a provision on end-of-life care from health overhaul legislation after language in a House bill caused a furor.

Senator Chuck Grassley
of Iowa, top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement Thursday that the provision had been dropped from consideration because it could be misinterpreted or implemented incorrectly.

A health care bill passed by three House committees allows Medicare to reimburse doctors for voluntary counseling sessions about end-of-life decisions. But critics have claimed the provision could lead to death panels and euthanasia for seniors.
I guess what's bothering me the most about all of this is that Obama and the Democrats haven't lost control of the debate because their proposals are unpopular with the majority of Americans or even because their plans are unrealistic or unworkable. The president is legitimately trying to institute the change that the American people asked for back in November (although the value of the contributions from some of his fellow Democrats is questionable at this point). No, they've lost control because the Republicans are just so good at spreading lies and fear mongering that the Democrats have been forced back onto their heels for months now and no matter how many times they present the actual facts to refute these untruths the lies have still been able to maintain a great amount of traction. Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic sums it up thusly:
[F]or those Democrats and liberals who'll be angry about this: the response to Palin's remarks about "death panels" as well as to Sen. Chuck Grassley's repetition of the idea was swift and fairly unequivocal: it's not as if the pro-reform side didn't quickly rebut the issue with better facts. My sense is that fear-based emotional appeals set in more quickly than reason-based emotional appeals -- always have.
So once again fear trumps reason in the battle for the soul of American politics. Maybe I'm being a bit naive here but is anyone else as disturbed as I am by the fact that the American people are so susceptible to this type of blatantly transparent emotional manipulation? I mean, I know we're not a nation of rocket scientists or anything but when a vapid political opportunist like Sarah Palin can so easily sway the argument by simply making up crazy shit about murdering old people and the mentally handicapped, what hope do we have of ever actually thinking our way out of any of the serious problems we face? I've actually been making a real effort to curtail my intake of alcohol lately but it's things like this that make me truly want to crawl into a bottle and not come out again for a very long time.


JoeBama "Truth 101" Kelly said...

I've been a low level hack since I was 13 JBW. One recurring theme to winning elections in my view is that lies and distortion win more than they lose.

I can't go into it here but the ones I worked on that lost, most of them we ran positive campaigns.

I wouldn't lose any sleep if the DNC or Move On or something else decided to make the scumbags that lie about health care pay. Fighting the good fight isn't doing any good against these assholes. Losing this with dignity is not going to insure 47 million people without and the millions more that will be added as business decides it can't afford the expense.

I don't know how much experience you or your readers have with politicing and working elections. But this my friend is "nut cutting time."

I regret if I your opinion of me has been diminished.

Leslie Parsley said...

Sad to say, Truth, you have a point. The lunatic fringe had a lot of help from the backers of these well padded right wing organiztions; Fox, Beck, etc.; so-called representatives of the people who've deliberately help dpread the lies; the insurance lobbies; and even the MSM.

But the Dems weren't organized and didn't get their show on the road soon enough. Maybe they should get down and dirty but will that really work in their favor in the end? I keep hoping that there's a huge backlash beginning to surface.

And I keep hoping that we don't have some awful tragedy. But these people are so base, so crass and so stupid it scares me. It's no longer just about health care. Are we resorting to a country of bad manners where no one with a different view can be heard?