09/25/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Con Games: The Birth, err, of Death Panels

John McCain, no fan of Sarah Palin's, is nonetheless afraid of criticizing her insistence on Democratic Death Panels lest he be Facebooked by his lovey-dovey ex-soulmate. When he had his chance to dis the death panels on "This Week with George Stephanopolous"--at the Grand Canyon no less--America's favorite warborne hero whiffed. To whit:

STEPHANOPOULOS: The president... says that the debate has been infected by falsehoods. And probably the most notorious one is the one made by your former running mate, Sarah Palin, who said that his bill would encourage death panels that would encourage euthanasia. He called that "an extraordinary lie" and he is right about that, isn't he?

MCCAIN: Well, I think that what we are talking about here is do -- are we going to have groups that actually advise people as these decisions are made later in life and...
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's not in the bill.

MCCAIN: But -- it's been taken out, but the way that it was written made it a little bit ambiguous. And another thing...

STEPHANOPOULOS: I don't think that's correct, Senator. The bill--all it said was that, if a patient wanted to have a Medicare consultation about end-of-life issues, they could have it at their request and the doctor would get reimbursed for it, no panel.... So you think Sarah Palin was right?

MCCAIN: Look, I don't think they were called death panels, don't get me wrong. I don't think -- but on the best treatment procedures part of the bill, it does open it up to decisions being made as far--that should be left--those choices left to the patient and the individual. That's what I think is pretty clear, which was a different section of the bill.

It all goes back to Karl Rove's dismissal of "fact-based" analysis in the Bush Administration as being beyond the pale in the opaque world of political punditry: it also goes a long way (all the way, actually) toward explaining how the Righteous Right gains traction when relevant facts are otherwise unavailable and/ore unattainable.

Nobody knows how to build a house of cards quite like The Architect.

Bush's Brain got it exactly right. For too long politicians of every persuasion have hewed far too closely to inconvenient and ultimately unfungible truths. The Death Panels are nothing but the logical culmination of policy that always leaves reality by the wayside. Nor did the trend begin with Death Panels only: to understand the Genesis, so to speak, you have to go all the way back to Creationism.

John McCain, a born-again conservative, said on the 2008 campaign trail that both intelligent design (nee Creationism and now "academic freedom") and the theory of evolution should be taught in classrooms as co-equal scientific theories. Why? Because a scientific theory is a theory is a theory, Biblical or not.

From the Creationism born of the Bible--and Death Panels borne by the Right to Life movement--we can move quickly and inexorably to the Birthers, those conservative wingnuts who refuse to accept President Barack Obama as an American citizen, let alone the existence of his Hawaiian birth certificate. Even though said certificate has been produced (and reproduced), the Birthers keep barfing along, alone, blissfully unaffected by the Pepto-Bismol available to those who live in the real world.

Finally, we would be both remiss and amiss were we not to make mention of the Climate Change deniers, the Righties who insist that all the data that supports the impact of man-made carbon emissions amounts to a hill of beans or at least a load of hooey. Like their friends who have eschewed the facts and embraced Death Panels, Creationism, and Birthers, the deniers have a simple answer to all the facts: climate change is a hoax.

Maybe you didn't get the memo, but all the scientists and all the data and all the politicians and all the pundits yelping about Global Warming and Weirding are party to the biggest fattest hoax in the history of Western Civ. And the great thing about playing the hoax card is you don't have to prove much because, well, it's all a hoax.

No wonder John McCain is afraid to take s potshot at Sarah Palin's exposed starboard flank. If the Right were to become reliant on the truth, then conservative politics might become a real can of worms.