James Taranto has noticed:
The first we heard about Sarah Palin's "death panels" comment was in a conversation last Friday with an acquaintance who was appalled by it. Our interlocutor is not a Democratic partisan but a high-minded centrist who deplores extremist rhetoric whatever the source. We don't even know if he has a position on ObamaCare. From his description, it sounded to us as though Palin really had gone too far.Read the whole thing here.
A week later, it is clear that she has won the debate.
President Obama himself took the comments of the former governor of the 47th-largest state seriously enough to answer them directly in his so-called town-hall meeting Tuesday in Portsmouth, N.H. As we noted Wednesday, he was callous rather than reassuring, speaking glibly--to audience laughter--about "pulling the plug on grandma."
The Los Angeles Times reports that Palin has won a legislative victory as well:A Senate panel has decided to scrap the part of its healthcare bill that in recent days has given rise to fears of government "death panels," with one lawmaker suggesting the proposal was just too confusing.....
One can hardly deny that Palin's reference to "death panels" was inflammatory. But another way of putting that is that it was vivid and attention-getting. Level-headed liberal commentators who favor more government in health care, including Slate's Mickey Kaus and the Washington Post's Charles Lane, have argued that the end-of-life provision in the bill is problematic--acknowledging in effect (and, in Kaus's case, in so many words) that Palin had a point. If you believe the media, Sarah Palin is a mediocre intellect, if even that, while President Obama is brilliant. So how did she manage to best him in this debate? Part of the explanation is that disdain for Palin reflects intellectual snobbery more than actual intellect.
Palin didn't "set off" this discussion; President Obama did by trying to ram through legislation postalizing the medical system with no time for debate or reflection. How to care for dying patients is a serious, sensitive and complicated matter, one with which American families struggle every day. If you truly don't want the "political class" involved, your quarrel is with the man who is pushing for more federal involvement in this most personal of matters.
Ann Althouse points out that Sarah's use of the term "Death Panels" to describe aspects of the Obamacare proposals is every bit as legitimate as the Democrats' use of the term "eavesdropping" to describe Bush's terrorist surveillance program. or "gulag" to describe the incarceration center at Gitmo.
Yes, yes, I know. You — some of you — think Sarah Palin was trying to confuse things when she said "death panels." But that's not my point. My point is that it's an ordinary part of debate to put new — and inflammatory — labels on policies you are opposed to.Read the whole thing here.