On CNN today, conservative pundit Larry Elder agreed that Sarah Palin’s “death panel” comments (see below) were “over the top.” Good. But then he has to try and save it. He keeps repeating that the comments were over the top because “there are four or five competing programs in the Congress, so we don’t know what’s going to come out…. We don’t know what’s going to come out of the House. We don’t know what’s going to come out of the Senate. And then they have to reconcile the two bills when they do come out, and so we’re a long way from finding out what the details are.” So he means that Palin’s comments were over the top because her timing was off– because perhaps Congress will decide in the end to bring out a death panel!
The problem today in the U.S., as scholars of dangerous wingnuttery are pointing out, is not the political crazies. Every society has those. The problem is that the mainstream conservative movement, when it’s not initiating the crazy– e.g., calling Justice Sotomayor a racist member of a Latino KKK— it can no longer bring itself to disavow the exaggeration and wild claims of the right. Palin was a Republican governor. Does she honestly believe that Congress is considering a bill that would exterminate her relatives? Which is worse: that she believes it or that she doesn’t?
Newt Gingrich says the possible establishment of a death panel is a concern. Glenn Beck believes it’s all true.
After this indefensible performance as a wing-nut apologist, should Larry Elder ever be asked to appear on CNN again?