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January 11, 2011


I'm not surprised that Palin's standing has been hurt by the discussion of the Arizona murders. The liberals have a marvelous attack machine. It's generally aimed at the most prominent conservative. Today that happens to be Sarah Palin, even though she had nothing whatever to do with these shootings. If a similar attack had taken place in 2008, the left would have created some excuse to blame it on George W. Bush or Dick Cheney.

But, the liberals may be outsmarting themselves. They've made Palin so radioactive that she probably won't get the Republican nomination for President. Some lesser-known Republican may win the 2012 Presidential election, because there the liberal smear machine used too much of its ammunition attacking Palin.

I'm somewhat less impressed than Brendan with Ezra Klein's reconsideration of his smear of Lieberman. Klein offers no apology and, pace Brendan, no retraction, but he does provide plenty of defensive posturing. Does a mildly repentant smearer deserve "much credit"? I don't think so. But if I reconsider in a year, I hope Brendan will give me much credit.

Klein writes:

"But with time and distance, I've come to agree with Ross Douthat, who argued that saying someone is willing to let people die -- or, worse, cause their deaths -- is very different than saying the bill will save many lives.

It is admirable that he can admit to a mistake, but stunning that he didn't even consider the above wisdom prior to writing what he did.

I personally have done and said things that I realized later were pretty dumb, but I hardly deserve kudos for finally growing up.

I gotta agree with Rob that "much credit" is probably too "much".

Klein's column has three more bloomers. He says Obamacare will "easily save hundreds of thousands of lives." That's his opinion. It's not a fact. Others are of the opinion that Obamacare will mess up American health care and cost lives. In neither his original column nor this one does Klein acknowledge that he might be wrong, or that Lieberman may in good faith have a different opinion about how well Obamacare will work.

Klein casually says, "The math was impeccable." Speaking as an actuary, the math stunk. (The Chief Actuary at Social Security Administration made a public statment to this effect.) The math was based on numerous guesses and assumptions of unknown accuracy. Some of them were unrealistically optimistic. The math has already failed to predict how Obamacare would be working as of today.

Klein says Obamacare is a "bill that was virtually identical to the legislation Mitt Romney signed in Massachusetts." It is true that both bills utilize the principle of requiring individuals to be insured and requring businesses to provide insurance. However, beyond that single principle, the thousands of pages of the Obamacare bill have many special provisions that are not at all matched by the Massachusetts law. E.g., Obamacare discouragess malpractice reform, permits waivers to favored businesses and unions, reduces Medicare Advantage benefits, establishes 159 new federal bureaucracies, includes special gifts to certain states tha were added in order to buy their Senators' votes, etc.

Is Klein's post perfect? No. But pundits rarely admit they were wrong or have changed their minds, and it's something that should be encouraged.

Palin has posted her defense as a video. It's available in Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jb0VW8vnMhQ

The full text is at http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0111/47478.html

She accuses the media of "blood libel". That phrase seems like an accurate way to describle an unfair accusation of contributing to mass murder. I basically agree with Palin's points, although for my taste her video could have been less than half as long.

Actually muy biggest disappointment is that Palin was the one to do this. I wish one of the other potential Republican Presidential candidates had had the cojones to criticize the medea so bluntly.

Kudos to Jonathan Chait. He has a strong, straightforward defense of Sarah Palin. http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-chait/81336/lord-help-me-im-defending-palin

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