"The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil."
--From a post on Sarah Palin's Facebook page, Aug. 7
Possibility No. 1: She had nothing to do with it. Some Sarah Palin impostor somehow got access to Sarah Palin's Facebook page and posted the bizarre (and fact-free) comments that have stirred up such a fuss.
Plausible, but unlikely. For starters, the former governor has had days to disavow the comments if they weren't actually hers; aside from an equally bizarre (and irony-free) follow-up comment urging her fellow opponents of health-care reform to practice "civil discourse," she's done no such thing.
Possibility No. 2: She had almost nothing to do with it. Some fully accredited member of Team Palin took it upon himself or herself to draft and post the comments to Palin's Facebook page without checking with her, confident that the comments accurately reflected the boss's...thinking. Palin is understandably upset about having these wholly inaccurate comments attributed to her, but out of loyalty to her staff, she's decided to take the fall herself.
Does that sound like the Sarah Palin we've come to know and love?
Possibility No. 3: She had something to do with it, but not much. She assigned the drafting and the posting to somebody on her team, but then she neglected to look the thing over and rein it in before it went to Facebook. Palin, recognizing her own failure to supervise, realizes that she's ultimately to blame, and decides to take the fall herself.
See Possibility No. 2.
Possibility No. 4: She assigned it, and she reviewed it, but she was so distracted that she somehow missed the parts about "Obama's 'death panel'" and the bureaucrats' "level of productivity" test.
Marginally plausible, but unsettling. Distracted? It's not like she has a day job.
Possibility No. 5: She wrote it herself, but demons took over her body and hijacked her typing fingers and --
More likely than anything we've heard so far.
Possibility No. 6: She wrote it herself and honestly believed that every word of it was true.
She was so convinced that every word of it was true that she didn't even feel the need to verify any of her "facts."
We're getting warmer.
Possibility No. 7: She wrote it herself and didn't know one way or the other whether it was true, but the lines she came up with were so juicy that she didn't want to mess things up by actually checking.
Perfectly plausible. Who appreciates the value of a sound bite as much as Sarah Palin does? Who'd be less inclined to let some inconvenient details stand in the way of another moment in the spotlight?
Possibility No. 8: She wrote it herself and didn't know one way or the other whether it was true, so she read the texts -- or even the summaries -- of the various health-care-reform bills and simply misunderstood what she was reading.
Plausible one way -- this stuff is mind-bendingly complicated. Inconceivable another way -- Sarah Palin doing her homework?
And then, of course, there's...
Possibility No. 9: She wrote it herself, and she knew perfectly well it wasn't true, but she knew equally well -- and we've crossed into serious Demagogue Territory here -- that it would scare the pants off nervous seniors, put congressional Democrats on the defensive and make the president of the United States an object of fear and loathing to a significant fraction of the country he's trying to lead.
Hard to imagine. But getting easier every day.
Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.