Taking the “Challenge to Sarah Palin’s Advocates”

A contributor for Nice Deb by the name of “geoff” posed a challenge to Palin supporters on Monday. In a piece he titled “A Challenge to Sarah Palin’s Advocates,” geoff writes:

Here’s the real problem, Palin advocates. NiceDeb says she’s wondering whether Palin is truly electable: her fans are passionate, but so are her critics. Can she tip the balance?

Not without full-fledged support from the conservative base, she can’t. And she doesn’t have it yet. For instance, she doesn’t have my support. As I mentioned in the thread below, I like a lot of things about Sarah Palin. But I’m not convinced that she’s Presidential material, particularly with regard to her grasp of policy.

So, here’s your challenge. Convince me. Explain to me why she is in fact a qualified candidate for President – why her understanding of policy is strong and coherent, and why her vision for America is practical and promising. Or, if you’d rather, explain why it doesn’t matter. But don’t waste your time talking about how:

  • “She’s the only real conservative”
  • “She’s genuine and a straight shooter”
  • “She’s tough and strong”
  • “She gets things done”

I already know and appreciate these things. My concern lies with her handle on policy. I’ll give you an example.

Sarah Palin used the term “death panels,” and the liberal press (and administration) went nuts. It was fun to watch, but I was troubled by the way she handled it. When she first wrote about it, she said:

The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce the cost of health care, but as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

OK, Thomas Sowell is correct – care rationing and limiting care to the cheapest options (per the Comparative Effectiveness “Advisory” Panels) are inevitable consequences to the Obamacare system. People will certainly die as a result of the Comparative Effectiveness Panels’ “recommendations” (which will quickly become de facto mandates), so there are your “death panels.” So far so good – even the very controversial “level of productivity in society” makes some sense.

But when Palin was challenged, she started talking about the Advance Care Planning Consultation provision in the bill (which was recently wished to the cornfields). That provision certainly had the potential to be abused, but it had nothing to do with care rationing or decisions on treatments. And that gave the Left enough ammo to declare that Palin was either ignorant or a liar.

She had them dead to rights, and then wandered off message, as if she never really understood what the message was. And that really, really troubles me.

So. Teach me. Comfort me. Make me believe.

I’ll get to the “why she is in fact a qualified candidate for President – why her understanding of policy is strong and coherent, and why her vision for America is practical and promising” in a moment. For now, let me focus on the example he provided. He claims that Governor Palin “wandered off message” after being “challenged” (although he doesn’t provide a name or link for reference to who challenged her) because “she started talking about the Advance Care Planning Consultation provision in the bill.” I believe geoff missed a few things in his analysis.

Governor Palin never wondered off message at all. She has stayed consistent for a very long time with her criticisms of the various provisions within Obamacare that would have put some of America’s most vulnerable citizens, at the mercy of federal bureaucrats. As Whitney noted awhile back, Governor Palin provided a written statement to the New York Senate Aging Committee during the Fall of 2009, which said:

I have been vocal in my opposition to Section 1233 of H.R.3200, entitled “Advance Care Planning Consultation.”[1] Proponents of the bill have described this section as an entirely voluntary provision that simply increases the information offered to Medicare recipients. That is misleading. The issue is the context in which that information is provided and the coercive effect these consultations will have in that context.

To understand this provision fully, it must be read in context. These consultations are authorized whenever a Medicare recipient’s health changes significantly or when they enter a nursing home, and they are part of a bill whose stated purpose is “to reduce the growth in health care spending.”[4] Is it any wonder that senior citizens might view such consultations as attempts to convince them to help reduce health care costs by accepting minimal end-of-life care? As one commentator has noted, Section 1233 “addresses compassionate goals in disconcerting proximity to fiscal ones…. If it’s all about obviating suffering, emotional or physical, what’s it doing in a measure to ‘bend the curve’ on health-care costs?”[5]

Whitney added:

Essentially what such legislation would do is provides physicians with a potential financial incentive to initiate end of life counseling discussions with patients. The argument against this counseling is if patients were to opt not to seek certain treatments at the end of their life, it would save Medicare money. This would be due to potential coercion rather than autonomous or solely family influenced decision making.

Later when summarizing, Whitney addressed what Governor Palin had actually spoke out against, versus the media’s depiction of such:

Governor Palin was right in her opposition to both rationing via “death panels” or Medicare funded end-of-life counseling, and the media continues to fail to understand her opposition, nor the truth that lies in it. Her initial opposition and continued opposition is against undue influence by government who willingly admit that rationing is desired at the expense of quantity of care. However, her influence and truthful statements proved to have an impact on end of life counseling regulation and continues to be at forefront of everyone’s mind when health care reform and rationing are discussed.

To get bogged down in slogans or the single issue of government rationing alone, is to miss Governor Palin’s broader point. Which is that the federal government involving itself in the life and death decision-making process of Americans, is flat-out wrong. Especially since the main concern of bureaucrats is rooted in budgetary matters. Make no mistake, Governor Palin understands the various facets that make up the health care debate, very well.

Now, back to “why she is in fact a qualified candidate for President – why her understanding of policy is strong and coherent, and why her vision for America is practical and promising.”

She is qualified because she has spent the greater part of the last two decades in public service. She didn’t spend those years hobnobbing with the political elite in Washington D.C. Instead, she spent her time in a local municipality, and serving the constituents as the executive of one of America’s most unique states. To become governor, she beat a corrupt incumbent, who just so happened to be a member of her own party. Governor Palin also had an 80% approval rating, 19 months after being elected as Alaska’s CEO -which should tell you something about her governing abilities.

I could go on and on listing in detail all the various aspects on why her understanding of policy is “strong” and “coherent.” Governor Palin has provided a great number of detailed policy statements, on a wide variety of issues that I could highlight. From energy, to health care, to taxes, to crony capitalism, to national security, to foreign relations, to quantitative easing, etc… However, I think I’ll spare the readers. I do suggest taking the time to become familiar with her policy positions by reading her Facebook statements, Google her op-ed’s, purchase one of the books she has written, or one of the many written about her. The information is out there, you just have to know where to look.

Governor Palin has unstoppable optimism. She believes in America and in Americans. She has the ability to fight hard for what is right, while taking on the most vile attacks in the form of slander and libel against her character. To be able to stand up to this with a smile on her face, requires the sort of inner strength only great leaders posses. When you add her character, her motivation, her ethics, and her stance on the issues, you end up with the caliber of person almost unseen in the realm of politics today. She is not perfect, nobody is. But she’s good and she fights, and that my friend is “promising.”

So, I would like to thank geoff for this opportunity to address some of his concerns in regards to Governor Palin. If he is having them, then he is probably not alone. There is no question that the media have distorted almost every aspect of who the governor is. Therefore, it doesn’t surprise me that good conservatives like him may start to believe some of the narratives Obama’s press agents have created. I look forward to more dialog with our ideological peers in the near future.

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