Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 11, 2009

PAWLENTY CONSIDERS 'DEATH PANEL' NONSENSE REASONABLE.... We talked earlier about the lengths Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) will go to pander to the GOP's right-wing base in advance of his presidential campaign. Yesterday, that included support for fringe "Tenther" rhetoric, a throwback to 18th-century conservatism.

This morning, on MSNBC, Pawlenty went a little further still, expressing some support for "death panel" nonsense. As Greg Sargent reported, "Asked the first time if there are death panels in the bills, Pawlenty dodged the question and said that the proposal could 'incentivize end of life counseling,' which raised 'legitimate' questions and concerns that are 'not irrational.' Asked a second time, Pawlenty suggested that the death panel 'label' was a side issue.

"Asked a third time, Pawlenty dodged again, saying that in 10 years, ballooning costs could lead to a scale-back of care and suggested it's legit to fear that the government would be 'empowered to do that.' Finally Pawlenty acknowledged that the bill doesn't contain death panels and won't give government authority to tell people whether they live or die -- and then still added that 'indirect concerns' are 'not irrational'"!

Note, in the video, after Pawlenty stumbled along the death-panel road, Mike Barnicle graciously offered the governor a chance to walk it back, noting how crazy his earlier comments were. Instead of setting the record straight, Pawlenty ironically said "facts matter," baseless fears are "not irrational," and we should all have a "reasonable debate about that without one side or the other just calling each other names."

Right. Pawlenty, spiraling quickly into a hackish oblivion, wants to suggest to a national television audience that the government may let bureaucrats kill seniors and the disabled. The real problem, though, is that someone might call him a lunatic for saying something so ridiculous.

If I had to guess, I'd wager Pawlenty knows how insane his own rhetoric is. It's why I almost feel sorry for him -- he feels compelled to be a deliberate fool in the hopes that it'll make him president. It's tragic, in a way, to see an adult humiliate himself in the hopes of placating unhinged activists.

Steve Benen 2:10 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (36)

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i dont know who this guy is and i dont wanna know who this guy is... i can already tell... too much aftershave...

Posted by: neill on September 11, 2009 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

Who say's he's an adult.

If he was he wouldn't have fell to the peer pressure to be an imbecile on national TV.

The first Republican to stand up to the mob will be there leader.

If the mob doesn't kill him first.

Posted by: langx on September 11, 2009 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

It's tragic, in a way, to see an adult humiliate himself in the hopes of placating unhinged activists.

Like, in the way the entire Republican congress sat on their hands when the President denounced this Death Panel silliness in his speech? THAT kind of humiliation?

Truly embarrassing. And the cherry on top... "You Lie!" Nice right-wing leadership, there.

Posted by: JJC on September 11, 2009 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

" he feels compelled to be a deliberate fool in the hopes that it'll make him president"

And why not? It almost worked for Sarah Palin. . .

Posted by: DAY on September 11, 2009 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

If a journalist wants to show real responsibility about 'deathers'; The journalist should remind any Republican that it is the Republicans who placed that in the 2004 M'Care Part D and voted en masse for it. So the conclusion could be made the Republicans placed this in the legislation for exactly what they claim it is for? Euthanasisa to save $$ for the greedy Republicans. Hold Republicans accountable for their incessently stupid noise!!

Posted by: MLjohnston on September 11, 2009 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

he already was his own "death panel" when he knocked some 3,000 families off of minncare. the lowest rung on the social safety ladder here in MN. add that to any future questions directed @ this tool. he is not in MN at all anymore so i can't ask him myself.

Posted by: thomas on September 11, 2009 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Soylent Yellow is made of Pawlenty! Polenta?

Posted by: The Galloping Trollop on September 11, 2009 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

death panels: http://www.freep.com/article/20090819/OPINION05/90819047/1068/opinion/The-truth-about-death-panels

Posted by: am on September 11, 2009 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

McSame pandered to the wingnuts and look what it got him. Ultimately, Pawlenty's oponents will point to his relatively mainstream record and there will be a bidding war to see who can get Michelle Bachmann on their ticket.

Pass the popcorn.

Posted by: Winkandanod on September 11, 2009 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Someone better tell Gov. Pawlenty that the Minnesota Department of Health is part of an organization called The Minnesota Cancer Alliance and they offer "end-of-life resources" to the citizens of Minnesota.

The Minnesota Health Department is referring people to DEATH PANELS!!! How can the Governor stand for this in his own state, when he's against it on a National level.

And before you say it: My legitimate, indirect concerns are not irrational!

Posted by: Gridlock on September 11, 2009 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

"It's tragic, in a way, to see an adult humiliate himself in the hopes of...(fill in the blank)."

Go to any bar on Saturday night. Probably 20 million men across the nation pull a "Pawlenty" every week of their life.....

Posted by: steve duncan on September 11, 2009 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if T-Paw will ever appear again on the Rachael Maddow Show. If he does, I wonder how he explains such a precipitous fall into the depths of wingnuttery! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on September 11, 2009 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

You don't get it, Steve. If the Democrats pass a bill MANDATING that everyone buy shitty insurance from corrupt private companies, guys like Pawlenty will be regarded as heroes in their home states. Actual heroes, whether they stop anything or not.

The mandate will kill the Democratic party unless there's a cheap, decent, public plan alternative. If you have the mandate, you can't force people to buy from private companies. It won't work. I'd rather pay the fine, myself.

Posted by: JHF on September 11, 2009 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

His scenario of health costs rising to the point where ten years down the road, gov't-provided programs will have to scale back doesn't seem all that impossible to me. The regrettable fact is that the better we get at keeping people alive, the bigger the strain on the system.

But what Pawlenty and the 'deathers' are essentially saying to the millions of people who are currently uninsured is, "We don't want some government official to cut back your benefits in ten years, so as government officials, we're simply going to completely prevent you from having them NOW."

Posted by: Kreniigh on September 11, 2009 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

For the love of God, tell me again what is WRONG with encouraging people to actually plan and think about the future and be counseled on end-of-life issues?

Posted by: ckelly on September 11, 2009 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

After all the incredibly harmful damage that TPaw has done to this state in his 4 years as house majority leader and 7 years as governor, I don't feel sorry for him at all. I hope he continues to make an absolute ass out of himself over the next few years. No amount of humilitation will be enough payback for his tenure as governor. Keep it up until every last ounce of smug is ripped out of him.

Posted by: gbear on September 11, 2009 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Warning Will Robinson...

JHF:

The mandate will kill the Democratic party unless there's a cheap, decent, public plan alternative.


NYT: President’s Speech Allays Some Fears in the Health Insurance Industry

“Under my plan,” said Mr. Obama in a departure from his position during the campaign, “individuals will be required to carry basic health insurance — just as most states require you to carry auto insurance.”
The requirement, which would be coupled with subsidies to help those who could not otherwise afford coverage, is likely to result in tens of millions of new customers for the industry. The insurers have also argued that they need to have everyone covered if the industry is going to stop controversial practices like denying policies to people with pre-existing medical conditions or charging sick people much more in premiums than the healthy.
“From the insurers’ standpoint, that was a very positive turn of events,” said Rick Weissenstein, a health care policy analyst in the Washington Research Group at Concept Capital, which follows developments for investors.

Posted by: koreyel on September 11, 2009 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

Ribald aphorism of the day

With the mandate you are playing with fucking fire.
You better make damn sure you get that shit straight...

Posted by: koreyel on September 11, 2009 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

" he feels compelled to be a deliberate fool in the hopes that it'll make him president"

And why not? It almost worked for Sarah Palin. . .


*****************

and it did work for Bush .........

Posted by: stormskies on September 11, 2009 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

gently disagreeing with stormskies...there was nothing "deliberate" about palin and/or the shrub being fools....it wasn't like they made a conscious decision or somethin'...

as for timmy...he can grovel all he wants, but he'll never be sufficiently wingnutty for the base...just ask mitt or rudy about how well that worked out for them

Posted by: dj spellchecka on September 11, 2009 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

I saw a pickup this morning with a "Where's the Birth Certificate"? sticker on it. Can we just give them Texas and tell them all good riddence already?

Posted by: The Galloping Trollop on September 11, 2009 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, how about good riddance instead? "P" is for proofread, "E" is for edit.

Posted by: GTrollop on September 11, 2009 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

I never thought the South would rise again in Minnesota! (What does that make South Carolina? Part of Mexico?)


Lincoln's gotta be spinning in his grave like a whirligig on speed.


Posted by: Glen on September 11, 2009 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

DAY has a point. Remember when EVERYONE thought Pawlenty was going to get the VP slot on the ReThug ticket? Intrade had him at something like 80%.

But he just wasn't crazy enough. Apparently he learned the lesson. All his dithering about signing the certificate for Franken also gives credence to the perception that he's trying to entice a dance out of those who can bring him to the ReThug nomination.

That is, the crazies.

Posted by: Cal Gal on September 11, 2009 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

"individuals will be required to carry basic health insurance — just as most states require you to carry auto insurance.”

I noticed that, too. But here is where someone SHOULD have yelled, "You lie."

Because states do NOT require you to carry auto insurance. You are only required to get auto insurance if you have A CAR. Many, many people, especially in big cities, do not own cars and are NOT required to buy auto insurance.

EVERYBODY, however, has a body.

Big, BIG difference.

Posted by: Cal Gal on September 11, 2009 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

HE DOES NOT KNOW

Look, everyone considers themselves the hero. Politicians most of all. So if you think he understands how "insane" his statements about "death panels" are you are gravely mistaken. He genuinely thinks he is doing a service to the American people and, of course, himself.

this is why you and everyone here should be reminded that most Republicans advocate the rule of bullies with themselves as the head bully. Otherwise they would have condemned the thuggery we saw in August at the health care "forums."

Remember, if you liked what you saw in August you will LOVE this next campaign season. The message of mainstream media covering this proto-violence as if it were brought about by caring, sensitive citizens was not lost on the Republicans.

I suggest you read the third, fourth and fifth books of Alan Drury's "Advice and Consent" series to see how this could work in America. He was promoting Republicans but thugs are thugs and their rise should be of grave concern to all normal people.

Posted by: Kurt on September 11, 2009 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

ckelly: For the love of God, tell me again what is WRONG with encouraging people to actually plan and think about the future and be counseled on end-of-life issues?


exactly...

what's wrong with helping conservatives MEET JESUS ?

Posted by: mr. irony on September 11, 2009 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder why commentators don't just come out and flat ask "Are you saying this stuff you have to know is nonsense in order to boost your standing with the rightwing of the Republican party? Or are you really that stupid?"

Olbermann would, which is why they won't go on his show.

Posted by: Hannah on September 11, 2009 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

In a very narrow sense, Pawlenty is correct. The fears many people have are not irrational. However, the people who harbor these fears have been mislead by people who are working very hard to gin up those fears.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on September 11, 2009 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

...It's why I almost feel sorry for him

WHY would you feel sorry for someone who is perfectly willing to go against any moral standards? Someone who'd go "Rovian" and "Beck" on people just to garner some winger support.

A disgrace to politicians in general.

Posted by: bruno on September 11, 2009 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

Pawlenty vetoed a state gas-tax increase that would have boosted funding for construction projects, including bridges. Had he not done so, funds would have been available for reinforcing the superstructure beneath the Interstate 35W bridge. The bridge might not have buckled and fallen, killing Minnesota citizens.

Good job Tim.

Posted by: Sammy on September 11, 2009 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

I would like to see someone ask Pawlenty if it came down to a choice between death panels or raising taxes, which would he choose?

Posted by: David1234 on September 12, 2009 at 12:50 AM | PERMALINK

Republican officials have now become bit players in a show run by Rush & FOX. The acquiesence of GOP leadership to the screamers disgusts this former Republican.

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