The San Francisco Chronicle reports: Distortions by conservative activists “have spread like wildfire,” said Laszewski, president of Health Policy and Strategy Associates, a Washington consulting firm. “You’ve got middle Americans scared to death.” Activists “start the brushfire, and since there’s no one credible in the middle, no 15 Republican senators to stand up and say it’s not true, it takes on a life of its own.”
“You’ve got to pitch this to what it’s going to do for the 200 million Americans participating in the system, not for those who are outside the system,” he said.
For sheer distortion, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s “death panel” charge, implying euthanasia of the elderly and disabled under the health care plan, hit what some called a new low in modern American politics.
“That is the most irresponsible statement a politician has made in decades,” said Boston University political historian Thomas Whalen. “It worries me and should worry all Americans. What was said is a complete fabrication, and it’s scaring elderly people.”
With few exceptions, Republicans let Palin’s charge stand. Party Chairman Michael Steele called it appropriate, and a conservative public relations firm broadcast an e-mail headlined, “Government-run health care killed my father.”
For all Obama’s campaign eloquence on change, the town hall protests this week have tapped into people’s fear of change. Obama and his staff have focused on wonky policy details – such as the effect of health care costs on the federal budget – instead of how a new health plan would give more people better care.”
“What Obama and the Democrats have to do is ignore the rabble, focus on the middle class and what’s in it for them. They need to be blue in the face selling that message.”
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