In an op-ed on health care reform for the Wall Street Journal, Sarah Palin comes right out and says what we've long suspected she thinks: Facts are optional if enough people will believe a lie.
"[I]s it any wonder that many of the sick and elderly are concerned that the Democrats' proposals will ultimately lead to rationing of their health care by—dare I say it—death panels?" she writes, before taking a turn for the positively Colbertian: "Establishment voices dismissed that phrase, but it rang true for many Americans." Oh, well, then!
Other things that ring true for many Americans: Alien abduction narratives, professional wrestling, forged Kenyan birth certificates, the idea that we live in a meritocracy, our president's secret commitment to Islam, our president's secret commitment to socialism, our first lady's secret commitment to black separatism, reality television, the promises of commercial weight loss programs, "post-racial America." Just off the top of my head.
Beyond that, Palin merely regurgitates Republican talking points on healthcare reform, and tired old talking points at that. As the Atlantic's Marc Ambinder puts it, "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." She talks a lot about "common sense," then throws out lines like, "Instead of poll-driven 'solutions,' let's talk about real health-care reform: market-oriented, patient-centered, and result-driven" — as if anyone with a lick of common sense could believe that those three goals are remotely compatible. But you know, "market-oriented, patient-centered healthcare" probably rings true for many Americans.
Ambinder's issued a challenge to the media: Don't take the bait. Don't pretend she's a credible policy analyst. Don't bow to her desperate desire to resuscitate the phrase "death panels"; just let it go peacefully.
The media — by which I mean the cable news networks, primarily, will determine whether Palin's view on health care becomes influential. There are many Republican, conservative health care spokespeople who have earned the right to speak for their party's principals, and, truth be told, can recite the talking points (complete with Ronald Reagan quote) better than Palin and her writer can. They're the ones who should be offended if Palin's op-ed becomes the voice of the opposition tomorrow, because Palin isn't seen by most Americans as a particularly trenchent analyst of policy.
Oh, I'm pretty sure we should all be offended if that happens. The question is, will the cable news networks acknowledge the truth here — that Palin is not "a particularly trenchant analyst of policy," to say the very effin' least — or is truthiness enough for them, too?