Fishy doesn’t begin to describe it. I mean the president’s plan, not the critics who point to disconcerting facts within the plan. Sarah Palin’s “death panel” rhetoric isn’t helpful (to stay nothing of the idiots who show up to town hall meetings with “Death to Obama” signs). But I deliberately write “isn’t helpful” rather than “blatantly false.” There is the provision that divides the amount of money a particular procedure will cost by your life expectancy to arrive at a formula that tells government officials whether or not you get the procedure. For a deviated septum, not so bad. But for a heart condition? Okay, so it’s not a “death panel;” it’s one step removed. Feel better?
The president’s answer to this is …humor. The Wall Street Journal‘s James Taranto points to a creepy passage at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire. Obama ridicules those with very legitimate concerns about end-of-life issues by joking they’re paranoid he’ll “pull the plug on Grandma,” to laughter from the audience. No. 5 on the list of Rules for Radicals (Saul Alinsky’s 1971 seminal how-to for community organizers) is “ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” The president’s more than familiar with Alinsky’s work. But do we really want to reduce questions of life and death to this?