The Senate Finance Committee has stripped a provision to reimburse Medicare doctors who provide end-of-life counseling to dying patients from its version of health care reform. Take that, Hitler.
Hitler, like I have to tell you, supports Medicare reimbursement for end-of-life counseling because he wants the Federal government to talk America's old people into killing themselves. We don't know why he wants this. Maybe he's still bitter about the Battle of the Bulge.
And he would have gotten away with it, too, if not for Sarah Palin's Facebook page.
Sarah Palin Facebook status was: "... is fearing Death Panels." (Thumbs down. Doesn't like this.) And that was good enough for Chuck Grassley.
As Grassley explains:
We dropped end-of-life provisions from consideration entirely because of the way they could be misinterpreted and implemented incorrectly.
If you were really, really bone ignorant, for example, you could think they meant, "death panels."
Fair enough. You don't want to confuse people into getting Hitlered. But was this idea that complicated? You get the very real impression that if our standard for legislation was "understandable to Palins" we'd have to retire the "Yield" sign.
Does Chuck Grassley mean we can only write laws that make sense to people who can't name a newspaper?
Are we really stripping counseling from health care because of what doctors might say? (We all know, given the chance, a doctor will always talk you into suicide. That's where the money is.) Why not forbid doctors from talking to patients at all, just to be safe? Call it the Palin-Grassley Freedom from Information Act.
Of course that's not what we're really talking about. We know that end-of-life counseling doesn't mean euthanizing the gullible. (Soylent Green is Palins! Soylent Green is Palins!) Getting this bill rewritten -- or getting it killed altogether -- is about something more primal than that.
It's about how good it feels to bully someone.
(That's what the town hall protests are about, too. What could be a more basic human pleasure than to scream at someone until they give you what you want?)
(And what's the most satisfying thing to demand? Silence.)
There are thousands of words in the health care bill that Sarah Palin and the Tea Baggers could have chosen to misconstrue. They chose the counseling provision because if they could defeat that, it would mean they had to power to tell a doctor to shut up.
Doctors think they're so smart? Well, they ain't gonna tell me about medicine. Or any of their other patients, either, without they gets my say so.
Same as congressmen tellin' me about gummint. I'm a gunna hollar 'atil they shuts up too.
Just like James Madison would.
So Sarah Palin wins.
I keep thinking about what Robert Stone wrote about Lee Harvey Oswald.
This was a man whose only gift was the wit to compound his mistakes exponentially. A man to turn a personal fuck-up into a national disaster and make his problems everybody's.