Sarah Palin used a webcast at the right-wing website Newsmax to use inflammatory language echoing that of fellow conservatives such as Glenn Beck and Newt Gingrich to attack President Obama and his policies. She also revived her long-debunked claim about “death panels” in the health care reform law.
Palin claims someone is “pulling [Obama's] strings,” warns of Iran “Armageddon”
Palin smears Obama as “naïve,” claims “whomever it is who's pulling his strings” won't let him institute free-market principles. During Newsmax's October 12 “Making America Great Again” webcast, Palin said that Obama's policies “lean towards” being socialist, adding:
It's the free-market system that built America, that allowed us to be so prosperous and safe and generous, that will work. But he won't apply those principles because I think he's quite naïve. I think he's stubborn. I think whomever it is who's pulling his strings will not let -- because the ideology involved in all of this will get in the way -- they will not let him admit what we know from history, that those free-market principles will certainly work better than socialism.
Palin: Nuclear Iran could lead to “Armageddon.” After describing Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as among “evil, evil dictators ... evil men who would think that they are going to control America and make us fearful,” Palin said that “we have to show our steel spine and we have to tell them that, yes, military option will be on our table.” Palin added:
We need to remind Russia that any assistance given to Ahmedinejad -- given to Iran -- we have to realize that at the end of the day, a nuclear weapon in that country's hands is not just Israel's problem or America's problem, it is the world's problem. It could lead to an Armageddon. It could lead to that World War III that could decimate so much of this planet.
Palin: Sharia law will be “the downfall of America.” Palin said that “Americans will never stand for sharia law being the law of the land,” adding:
Whether it be just affecting a segment of the population, a demographic, certainly not in its entirety all over our country, Americans will not stand for this because Americans are smart enough to know Sharia law, if that were to be adopted -- allowed to govern in our country, it will be the downfall of America. And too many Americans are onto this already and are starting to rise up and send that message to our federal officials and say, no, we will not put up with any hint of Sharia law being any sort of law of the land.
Palin: Obama “bows and kowtows and pokes our allies in the eye.” Later in the interview, Palin accused Obama of lacking “that humbleness where he can look back and see what has worked throughout history, what has failed, so that we can repeat the successes.” She also claimed that Obama “bows and kowtows and pokes our allies in the eye, which makes absolutely no sense.”
Attacks echo those made by Palin's right-wing compatriots
Beck, Limbaugh have portrayed Obama as a “puppet.” In discussing a “class war” chess game, Beck portrayed Barack and Michelle Obama as “pawns” that are “meaningless,” while the “king” is George Soros. Beck has also said that “the question you have to answer is” if Obama is “the president, or is he a puppet,” adding that “you can at least make the case” that Obama is a “puppet.” Rush Limbaugh has suggested Obama is a puppet by saying: “Soros may be running Obama. Who the hell knows?”
Beck has repeatedly invoked Armageddon imagery. Beck has praised a book by evangelist John Hagee that cites “the maniacal nuclear ambitions of the theocratic dictatorship in Iran” as part of a “perfect storm” resulting in the current “terminal generation” fulfilling “Bible prophecy for the first time in world history.” Beck has praised Hagee as “the guy that really has spoken about Iran and Israel an awful lot,” then commented that “a lot of the pieces” for the Second Coming “are here now.” Beck has touted another book warning of "end-time occurrences and the financial warnings that are pointing us toward the Armageddon of the Bible." Beck has even invoked the film Armageddon to criticize the Obama administration's response to the Gulf oil spill.
Gingrich: “We should have a federal law” to ban courts from applying Sharia. Gingrich asserted at the September 18 Values Voter Summit that “what threatens America are radical Islamists,” adding that “I am totally opposed to any effort to impose Sharia on the United States” adding, “We should have a federal law that says under no circumstance in any jurisdiction in the United States will Sharia be used by any court to apply to any judgment made about American law. ... [N]o judge will remain in office who tries to use Sharia law to interpret the American Constitution.” Sean Hannity, Frank Gaffney, Pam Geller, and Jim Quinn have also fearmongered about Sharia law.
Conservative media obsessed with Obama's alleged bowing. Palin's claim that Obama “bows and kowtows” echo previous fixations on such behavior by conservative media and commentators such as Beck, Hannity, Geller, and Neal Boortz.
Palin brings “death panels” falsehood back to life
Palin repeats debunked “death panels” claim. Palin said that “I was about laughed out of town for bringing to light what I call death panels, because there's going to be faceless bureaucrats who will, based on cost analysis and some subjective idea on somebody's level of productivity in life, somebody is going to call the shots as to whether your loved one will be able to receive health care or not. To me, death panel -- I called it like I saw it, and people didn't like it.”
Previous Palin “death panel” claims were false. As Media Matters for America has repeatedly documented, there are no “death panels” in the health care reform law. Palin originally claimed that such “panels” were created by a proposed provision that would have provided for voluntary, Medicare subsidized end-of-life counseling sessions. After that claim was thoroughly debunked, she said her comments concerned Dr. Ezekial Emanuel's purported position of rationing, which was based on a distorted version of his views. She later claimed that the Independent Payment Advisory Board established under the law amounted to a “death panel” because it would create a “panel of bureaucrats charged with cutting health care costs on the backs of patients; in fact, the law specifically prohibits the Advisory Board from making “any recommendations to ration health care ... or otherwise restrict benefits.”
Palin invents Obama “lie” on health care
Palin misrepresents Obama statement on health care costs. In claiming that the health care reform bill was “full of lies,” Palin said that “we had been promised that this would bend the cost curve. And actually what we're finding out now is that even our president admits that, well, he knew all along that in the margins, costs would actually increase.” This is an apparent reference to a September 10 statement by Obama, responding to a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) report on health care reform, that “As a consequence of us getting 30 million additional people health care, at the margins that's going to increase our costs -- we knew that. ... We didn't think that we were going to cover 30 million people for free.”
In fact, increase comes from more people being covered, not higher costs for care. The Washington Post's Ezra Klein wrote in a September 10 blog post about the CMS report:
So even in the most simplistic analysis, we're covering about 10 percent of the country and increasing spending growth by 0.2 percent. Seems like a good deal to me. But it's actually a better deal than that.
What you're seeing here isn't the cost curve bending up. It's a one-time increase in the level of spending. That's the big jump in 2014, the year the exchanges and subsidies come online. So when you compare 2014 to 2013, spending growth seems like it's gone up a bunch. But by 2016, we're back to normal. In fact, we're better than normal: “For 2015-19, national health spending is now projected to increase 6.7 percent per year, on average -- slightly less than the 6.8 percent average annual growth rate projected in February 2010.”
In other words, 2014 is a one-time increase in spending level as we get 30 million new people covered. After 2014, costs grow more slowly than they would without the health-care reform bill. And as some of you know, the major spending controls, like the excise tax and the Medicare board, only really start in 2018, so we can expect spending to slow even more in the years beyond this projection. And that, of course, is exactly what the Congressional Budget Office found when it looked at the bill on a longer timeframe.
So, the nickel version: Spending goes up in 2014 because we're covering 30 million new people and then down after that because we're controlling costs in the system.