A recent third-party Facebook survey asked: "Would you support Sarah Palin for President in 2012?" At least one user favored her over the incumbent. Here was my reaction to that fantasy contest:
President Obama inherited an extraordinary mess -- one this country hasn't seen since the days of the Great Depression. From day one, he and his advisors have tackled a shrinking economy, failing healthcare system and a two-front war that drains the nation's blood and wealth. And, they have faced those problems with energy and thoughtful analysis. It is understandable that opinions may differ as to what should be done. Emotions can run from rage to simply holding one's breath when both this and the previous administration handed over billions and billions of dollars to the banking and investment industries -- whose practices were responsible for our economic predicament.
However, I for one am relieved that after eight years of an embarrassingly inarticulate and rigid president, we finally have a leader who can publicly articulate his plan and talk intelligently with the people. And, instead of using law enforcement, as Bush did to keep those who disagreed with him away from political gatherings, President Obama and members of Congress are not afraid to walk into "Town Hall" meetings with open minds and hear people say, with full-throated emotion, what they like and fear about proposed health care plans.
The election of Sarah Palin in 2012 would, in my mind, represent a return to the ideologically rigid, let big business run roughshod over the public, fear mongering ways of the Bush-Cheney era.
For example, consider Palin's recent bomb-throwing comment: "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."
In fact, there are no death panels in any proposal. The provision Palin is referring to is in one of the House bills. It allows Medicare to reimburse for consultations about end of life care as well as living wills and hospice. As a person with two elderly parents, I can tell you these consultations already happen. They are more about options available to help obtain safe and dignified living conditions when mom and dad can no longer live independently. And, they are about what options are available for life to end in a familiar environment rather than a sterile hospital by using the services of hospice for home care.
Truthfully, I would have greater fear of the benefit-denying power of a minimally regulated "for-profit" insurance company than of a government administered health plan with clearly defined and fairly constructed methods of appeal. As a government employee, my current health plan has provisions that if the insurance company denies a claim, I have a right to appeal that determination to the Public Employees Benefit Board, a division of the state's Health Care Authority. Everyone should have that kind of protection.
With the exception of its stand on abortion, the Democratic Party has a long and well documented history of fighting for the right to a quality life for the poor, the elderly and working people.
Decisions about "level of productivity in society", that Palin fears, are more likely to be "business" decisions. It is the Republican Party that has a long and well documented history of fighting for the right of business to operate in environment that minimally regulates their activities to maximize profit. And, conservative Republicans predictably turn to cold conservative economic ideology when confronted with the devastating effects unregulated "market forces" can have on the lives of ordinary people.
Sarah Palin as president in 2012 and the conservative ideology she represents are not what this country needs to recover from the economic pillage we have just endured.