Pilfering her best moves from Sarah Palin's playbook, Betsy McCaughey arrived at The Daily Show last night unprepared, unrepentant, and desperately attempting to hype the audience. I'm surprised she didn't start winking and giving shout outs.
The architect of the "Death Panels" idea, McCaughey didn't miss a beat when Daily Show host Jon Stewart pointed out the text of the bill mandates "life-sustaining" procedures - which seems a bit far from a death panel.
Instead, McCaughey ducked the actual language of the bill and continued to push her agenda, which includes telling seniors that the cuts to Medicare means they will no longer be able to get hip replacements and bypass surgery.
Our best fake newscaster hit the nail over the head again and again. There are legitimate things to be discussed about this health care plan and what it actually does and does not grant. But time and time again, the people who get the most airtime and have the most to say about health care are not the people who are the best informed - instead the focus falls to people like Betsy McCaughey, who is so serious about her message being delivered that she walked onto the show with the first half of the health care bill in a binder with no markings, tabs, or post-it notes to access certain sections. She won't acknowledge that she may have gotten her facts mixed up or that she may be making leaps of logic that have no actual basis in legislation. She doesn't acknowledge that some of the issues she is against were actually in the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act (MMA) of 2003.
Instead, McCaughey, like the Dark Ex-Governor during the Vice Presidential debates, focused on winning over the crowd, not producing any factual basis for her claims. She smiled and searched the audience for support. She said cute things about Jon Stewart and made it seem like they were two friends in on a big joke, just like Palin did during the Vice Presidential debates. And she actively pandered for sympathy from the crowd, in the same way we have seen Palin do in so many of her public appearances.
It's the Palin model for public discourse.
And it is going to be the death of intelligent political discussion.
Exclusive - Betsy McCaughey Extended Interview Pt. 1 [The Daily Show]
FACT CHECK: No 'Death Panel' in Health Care Bill [The Caucus]
The New Medicare Prescription Drug Law [BNET]
Related: I Was Wrong [James Fallows]