To borrow a phrase “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to desire to be seen as reasonable … “
This is the thought that popped in my head as I read today’s editorial at National Review Online. I am reminded that Republicans have the uncanny ability to pluck defeat from the jaws of victory.
Last week the Senate decided to abandon the concept of ‘end of life counseling’ in its version of the healthcare bill. The debate around ‘end of life counseling’ has been ongoing for weeks but it was finally euthanized when the unemployed Sarah Palin dubbed them “Death Panels.” Days after her giving a name to the fear, Obama was at townhalls trying to downplay fears of “Death Panels.” Days after that they were removed from consideration. Any reasonable person would understand that the role that Palin’s purposeful hyperbole played in killing the provision and any conservative should be grateful. Unfortunately, the editorial staff at NRO is more interested in seeming reasonable than actually defeating aspects of the bill.
To conclude from these possibilities to the accusation that President Obama’s favored legislation will lead to “death panels” deciding whose life has sufficient value to be saved — let alone that Obama desires this outcome — is to leap across a logical canyon. It may well be that in a society as litigious as ours, government will err on the side of spending more rather than treating less. But that does not mean that there is nothing to worry about. Our response to Sarah Palin’s fans and her critics is to paraphrase Peter Viereck: We should be against hysteria — including hysteria about hysteria.
Apparently, to the editors at NRO, there is nothing more uncivil or unseemly than a position strongly held.
The irony of reading this editorial against hysteria, today of all days, should not be lost on any interested conservative. Were Palin and the protesters as reasonable as NRO would prefer we would not have had the “Death Panel” provisions removed from the bill on Friday and we would certainly not have the indications today that the Obama administration is ready to bail on a “public option” in order to get something passed. Remember, Republicans are in such a minority that there is absolutely nothing they could do to stop this, rather the hysterical masses with leadership from the unemployed Alaskan have gained the upper hand.
Now while I am happy about the apparent battle victories of the last few days, I am reminded that we are still a long way from winning the war and that when it comes to Republicans, the enemy is still us.