Sarah Palin, getting in her two cents on the healthcare overhaul debate, has been of two minds lately.
The former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee turned up the volume late last Friday with a posting on her Facebook page that suggested that President Obama's plan would lead to a "death panel" that would ration care.
"And who will suffer the most when they ration care?" she wrote. "The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil."
That claim was immediately and loudly disputed by Democrats. (A fact-checking website, Politifact.com, also disputes Palin's characterization.)
"She just made that up,” Howard Dean, the former Democratic National Committee chairman and Vermont governor who is a doctor, said Sunday on CNN. “Just like the ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ that she supposedly didn't support.
“There's nothing like euthanasia in the bill," he added. "I practiced medicine for a long time, and of course you have to have end of life discussions — the patients want that.”
Later Sunday, Palin posted another comment on her Facebook page, urging opponents of Obama's healthcare proposals to be civil at the town hall meetings that members of Congress are having, lest their message be lost in the controversy.
"There are many disturbing details in the current bill that Washington is trying to rush through Congress, but we must stick to a discussion of the issues and not get sidetracked by tactics that can be accused of leading to intimidation or harassment," Palin wrote. "Such tactics diminish our nation’s civil discourse which we need now more than ever because the fine print in this outrageous health care proposal must be understood clearly and not get lost in conscientious voters’ passion to want to make elected officials hear what we are saying. Let’s not give the proponents of nationalized health care any reason to criticize us."
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.