One of the questions raised by the news that the Obama administration is going to use regulation rather than legislation to bring in the so-called “death panels” as part of Obamacare is how it happened that this was first foreseen not by the newspapers or the members of Congress but by Governor Palin. Confirmation of Mrs. Palin’s scoop was brought in by the New York Times in a dispatch issued Christmas day, more than a year after Mrs. Palin issued her warning about Obamacare leading to government involvement in end-of-life issues.
At the time, Mrs. Palin’s prophecy touched off an enormous hue and a cry among the liberal intelligentsia, so much so that the scheme was dropped in Congress. Yet even though it was dropped by Congress the New York Times is reporting that “the Obama administration will achieve the same goal by regulation” and will start doing so January 1. The Times says that the government “will now pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment.”
It seems to be the administration's conception of democracy that after the Congress so pointedly left this out of the Obamacare legislation the scheme can be advanced by regulation. The point is underscored in Robert Pear’s dispatch in the Times, which quotes one of the congressmen originally advocating for the so-called death panels, Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, as saying of the regulatory approach, “we won’t be shouting it from the rooftops because we aren’t out of the woods yet” and warning that the regulation could yet be “modified or reversed.”
No doubt the defenders of Obamacare will argue that this kind of advance directive is hardly a death panel. Participation is voluntary; it’s but “advice.” However, since the “aggressive life-sustaining treatment” being decided upon would be paid for by the same government that is funding the advice on whether to go for it, one can see that this is a step toward exactly the kind of death panel that Mrs. Palin warned about. She used as a proxy for all of us the fate of down-syndrome children like her own son Trig.
The question that that we find ourselves thinking about is how was Mrs. Palin able to see this issue when others weren’t. Is she just smarter than the editors and the Congress? Or does she just have more life experience? Is it that her religion gives her a framework for learning all this stuff? Or is it that her sensitivity was heightened by making of her own decision to bring Trig into the world? Or is it something about the Alaskan spirit?
Our own conclusion is that it doesn’t matter. It’s enough that she was just ahead of the others, and the point is one to mark. She has become, at a relatively young age and by whatever means, a savvy woman. We noticed it, say, when she suggested the best way to handle the question of the West Bank settlements was to let the Israelis decide, a policy the administration is now following. We noticed it when she went to Hong Kong and warned about the collapse in the value of the dollar and spoke of the importance of gold.
It was apparent when she dove in before other politicians and the intelligentsia and warned about the dangers of the Federal Reserve’s second round of quantitative easing. And when, in advance of the BP oil-spill disaster, she’d been campaigning to develop our onshore energy resources. And when she began branding as her own the idea of commonsense, conservative constitutionalism — a year before a resurgent GOP is preparing to open the 112th Congress with a reading of the entire text of the Constitution. (Continues here)