In an interview this morning, NBC News’s Matt Lauer pressed Sarah Palin on whether the tea party has a health-care plan that could replace Obamacare, which is limping out of the gate. “Where’s the plan?” asked Lauer. Palin responded with this:
The plan is to allow those things that have been proposed over many years to reform a health-care system in America that certainly does need more help so that there’s more competition, there’s less tort-reform threat, there’s less trajectory of the cost increases. And those plans have been proposed over and over again. And what thwarts those plans? It’s the far left. It’s President Obama and his supporters who will not allow the Republicans to usher in free-market, patient-centered doctor-patient relationship … to reform health care.
Bold text added to highlight typically Palinesque non sequitur. Just what does “less tort-reform threat” mean in this context? Tort reform is the effort to limit the damages and awards that folks can get through the civil justice system. In previous proclamations, Palin has pronounced herself in favor of tort reform as a means to fixing our health-care system. And it just so happens that she also frowned upon a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June 2009 that reduced the punitive damages in the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. This is what then-Gov. Palin had to say:
“I am extremely disappointed with today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. While the decision brings some degree of closure to Alaskans suffering from 19 years of litigation and delay, the court gutted the jury’s decision on punitive damages.”
It’s unfair to expect Lauer to question Palin on the consistency of her tort-reform positions.
Yet he certainly could have and should have stopped his interviewee, a Fox News contributor, when she said this in response to a question about Obamacare’s troubled Web site: “The broken Web site is the least of America’s worries. This broken Web site, I think, is symbolic of a broken administration: The takeover of one-sixth of our economy and the socialized medicine that’s being crammed down our throat — that’s what’s broken.”
Bold text added to highlight deliberately misleading material. Yes, Obamacare institutes fresh regulations in the health-care arena; yes, Obamacare imposes a penalty on people who don’t get insured; and no, there’s nothing “socialized” about it, as all the recent tales of people dealing with their insurance companies so clearly indicate.
“Today” and other shows that care about their news product need a buzzer for these kinds of moments.