A Tale Of Two Senators On Death Panels

Say you're a Republican who is inclined to vote "no" on health care reform. Should you go out of your way to address misinformation about a bill you probably aren't going to support?  Spreading false info could hasten the bill's defeat, of course.  Different lawmakers are taking different approaches.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, at a town hall meeting today in Iowa, is taking the Saul Alinsky-end-justifies-the-means approach. Today, he essentially ratified the fears of those who are convinced that the House and Senate bills will require euthanasia counseling for old, sick people. As the Politico's Ben Smith noted, he veered mighty close to the "Deather" worldview:

"I won't name people in Congress, people in Washington, but there's some people that think it's a terrible problem that Grandma's laying in the hospital bed with tubes in her and think that there ought to be some government policy that enters into that," Grassley said, adding that he thinks such matters should be left to the family.

This is just false. Grassley ought to know better; he's in the thick of negotiations.

Grassley's colleague, Lisa Murkowski, took a wholly different approach.

"It does us no good to incite fear in people by saying that there's these end-of-life provisions, these death panels. Quite honestly, I'm so offended at that terminology because it absolutely isn't (in the bill). There is no reason to gin up fear in the American public by saying things that are not included in the bill."

Besides, said Murkowski, "There are things that are in this bill that are bad enough that we don't need to be making things up."