Via commenter Zach, we find the usual suspects waxing rhapsodic about the political genius of Sarah Palin’s death panel comments. Now, I realize that the death panel craziness did succeed in killing off the end-of-life counseling amendment (put in by right-wing Georgia Republican Johnny Isakson). And it’s probably true that the incident has rebounded to Palin’s advantage among the teabaggers.
Now, let’s leave aside the fact that the panel stuff bears no relation to reality. That’s not a salient point in this environment. But, realistically, is the “death panel” stuff going to kill the health care reform bill? Are Republicans going to retake the house in 2010 talking about death panels? More generally, I just don’t see how, in a world where Republicans lose elections because their rhetoric frightens younger and non-white voters, it can be a good idea for Republicans to identify themselves with angry mobs of old, extremist white people.
There’s a bizarre love triangle among the Republican party, the media, and the lunatic right-wing fringe, and it’s not going to end well for anyone involved. The Republican party is dooming itself to long-term irrelevance by alienating the young and non-white; they may even be setting themselves up for primary challenges from nutjobs. The media is losing what credibility it has by parroting teh crazy. And the lunatic right-wing fringe is headed for an inevitable series of “Sister Souljah” moments when Republicans wise up and realize they have to denounce the teabaggers.
If you don’t believe me, ask Bob Inglis.