The latest news from Sarah Palin's mouth is that Section 1233 of bill HR 3200 (please correct me on the numbers and/or terminology if they are wrong) calls for "death panels" in which ill or disabled people must stand before a set of government experts (among whom may be President Obama himself) to determine whether or not they will be able to continue living (by having or not having access to life-saving medications, machines, or other treatments).
Now, I am no expert on health care. I know SQUAT about it. You definitely know more about it than me. That's why I'm keeping this rant short.
That said, I did read the section in question, and the part that Ms. Palin characterized as mandating "death squads" actually says that if patients at or above age 65 choose to consult with a physician every 5 years or so about end-of-life medical services, then it must be covered under Medicare. There's no mandate involved unless the patient so chooses. It isn't really a mandate at all.
Here's the thing: Sarah Palin (as far as I could understand, because it was (no sarcasm here) truly tough to parse her resignation speech) decided to quit because she felt it would further Alaska, and by extension, America. The best I could make is that she felt that she could be more constructive and helpful outside of a government position. This seems to be true insofar as she can make more speeches and be more outspoken about her views now that she is technically a private citizen. However, she and other Republicans have not been constructive at all in this debate. Democrats are trying to put together an honest effort at fixing the system, and while it's far from perfect, it's also much better than the status quo. Even conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats genuinely want to fix the system, but their main concern is keeping costs down, which is totally understandable. Republicans, on the other hand, have no interest whatsoever in anything except loyally opposing any Democratic proposal, and this includes Ms. Palin. They know their position is not substantiated in any way, so all they can do is hurl insults and other epithets at the opponents. My question to those Republicans who claim to want reform is, aside from blindly opposing Obama, what would you do? Their answers probably wouldn't please me, but what would displease me more is them dodging the question.
If anyone remembers their mid-19th century US history, they would remember the history of the formation of the Republican Party, which at the time of its formation was the ideological equivalent of today's liberal Democratic Party (Blue Dogs notwithstanding). The Whigs were fading into obscurity and the Democrats were becoming more conservative; this meant that there had to be (under the Constitution and the system it has created which has essentially mandated only 2 major parties) a major relevant liberal party to compete with the conservative Democrats. Most Whigs became Republicans as the Whig party itself faded from existence, and liberal Democrats quickly became Republicans. I figure a somewhat similar thing will happen to the Democratic Party. The Republican Party has become so conservative that it is no longer ideologically or practically relevant, while the Democratic Party has expanded to include many ideologies ranging from very liberal to moderate/slightly conservative (as opposed to the Republican Party which consists simply of extreme conservatives). The moderate/conservative wing of the Democratic Party has had a lot of splits with the more mainstream liberal Democrats, probably necessitating in the future a permanent split. Thus, the Republican Party can once again include the moderates that it has badly needed.
Here's the other big problem: Sarah Palin continually rails against the very media she uses to communicate her rants. Yes, she has every right to say what she does, and I will not vote for a law that prohibits speech of her kind even if I am completely repulsed by it. However, others also have a right to not listen; they are not obligated to listen to her, and that is true of the media as well. So long as the media keep featuring her as front page news articles or top-of-the-program TV segments, she will retain relevance. Only when they start to ignore her will she lose the relevance she never deserved in the first place. This may be a bit extreme, but is it any wonder that the media do not cover KKK meetings/rallies unless they turn violent? Sarah Palin is not a hate group, but her ideas are getting awfully close to it.
On a side note, regarding all of the supposed discontent and shout-downs at rallies held by members of Congress, can any of the supporters explain to me why the demographics of the opponents look suspiciously more white on the whole than the communities in general where such events (the shout-downs, not the rallies) are occurring? Basically, it's not actual discontent/unease (because if it was, the multiple polls on approval for the health care plan would be much lower) but simply a series of (admittedly well-)orchestrated attempts to make Obama look bad. I have a feeling that the manufactured anger is going to backfire and make Republicans look bad, even though there are myriad issues with the current reform proposal.
Oops, that was a bit longer than I thought it would be. My bad!