From Mike Papantonio at the Pensacola News Journal:
In recent weeks, Democrats have made progress with their leadership management skills. Here is what they have figured out: When your opposition is burning down, don’t get involved. Sit back and allow it to happen.
For example, when the GOP floats the story that Obama is building concentration camps to house conservative critics, just hush, sit quietly and let them tell that story. When Glenn Beck goes on the air to tell us about those new Obama concentration camps, don’t interrupt him even when it’s clear that those buildings he’s afraid of are probably mental health facilities.
Or when their party leader, Sarah Palin, suggests that Obama’s health care reform plan includes a death panel that will condemn elderly Americans to die if they require too much medical care, remember: Sit quietly and let the lunatics loose on themselves.
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From THE HILL:
Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), the powerful Republican who has spent weeks working on a healthcare reform compromise, is urging Democrats not to abandon bipartisan talks despite growing pressure from liberal activists and White House officials.
Grassley reacted Wednesday to news reports of growing sentiment among White House officials that Democrats should pass a partisan healthcare reform package, relying entirely on Democratic votes.
Grassley, the senior Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over paying for a healthcare overhaul, struck a conciliatory tone a day after Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.) called on Democrats to scrap their proposals and start over.
Kyl’s statement and earlier statements from Grassley have led Democratic leaders to more carefully weigh the prospect of passing a reform package without any Republican votes — going alone, just as many liberal activists have demanded.
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From Joan Walsh at Salon:
I’ve said this before: It’s getting past time for President Obama to spell out specifics about which healthcare reform plan he supports, given the five House and Senate bills and umpteen other proposals circling Washington. And unfortunately for Obama’s dreams of bipartisanism, it’s way past time for him to give up his hopes that he can bring “sensible” Republicans on board with a smart, fair bill.
I’ve suspected that was true for a while, but today is the day to, well, pull the plug on that project. Unbelievably, one GOP senator who’s been held up as a paragon of reason and bipartisan comity, Iowa’s Chuck Grassley — one of three Republicans negotiating with three Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee — trashed Obama’s plan today in terms that went beyond Sarah Palin’s ignorant rant.
“There is some fear because in the House bill, there is counseling for end-of-life,” Grassley told a town hall crowd. “And from that standpoint, you have every right to fear. You shouldn’t have counseling at the end of life. You ought to have counseling 20 years before you’re going to die. You ought to plan these things out. And I don’t have any problem with things like living wills. But they ought to be done within the family. We should not have a government program that determines if you’re going to pull the plug on grandma.”
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From Joan Walsh at Salon:
I’ve been writing about “town hells” and anti-health care reform hysterics, as well as the crazy Birthers, for a few weeks. Every few days, I think: Maybe we’re giving these fringe folks the oxygen they need; maybe we should ignore them. But it all got even loonier today, and it can’t be ignored.
Alex Koppelman wrote about it immediately: Sarah Palin (or her handlers) posted a message on Facebook decrying the “death panels” she says – wrongly, bizarrely, viciously — Obama’s health care reform will establish. She also claimed such panels might well have ended the life of her son Trig, born with Down’s Syndrome.
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