The Marietta Times recently published a political column by a writer new to their pages. Perhaps you noticed it. At first, I didn't recognize the author's name. The name is Betsy McCaughey.
It came to me quickly: Betsy McCaughey, the creator of the most effective political lie of the 21st Century. Betsy McCaughey is the Republican who, in 2009, came up with the idea of the infamous "death panels." She was not advocating "death panels," of course, but she was claiming to have discovered that the Democrats were writing mandatory "death panels" for seniors into Medicare legislation.
Banking on the fact that no one had actually read the thousands of pages of the legislation, she absolutely made up the "death panels." McCaughey made up the idea of the "death panels" out of whole cloth.
There was nothing at all in the Medicare legislation that had anything to do with "death panels" or anything like them. But that didn't prevent Republicans, such as Sarah Palin, from taking the idea and running with it to bash the Democrats.
Showing her fake concern, McCaughey wrote an op/ed for the New York Post in 2009: "One troubling provision of the House bill compels seniors to submit to a counseling session every five years ... The sessions cover highly sensitive matters such as whether to receive antibiotics and ... hydration."
She does fake concern very well. Here's a quotation from the Fred Thompson Show of July 16, 2009. McCaughey says: "And one of the most shocking things I found in this bill ... is ... where the Congress would make it mandatory - absolutely require - that every five years people in Medicare have a required counseling session that will tell them how to end their life sooner, how to decline nutrition ..."
Naturally, these big lies worked perfectly in terms of scaring seniors to death. To this day, I'm sure these ideas haunt some seniors - even though they know that they have never been invited to a "death panel" hearing.
I don't know if The Marietta Times plans on running other columns by McCaughey. If she does appear again, it will certainly be a challenge to separate truth from fiction in her writings. But the question should arise: Does a person guilty of lies of this magnitude - with lies this harmful - deserve, in any way, a public forum? If published, doesn't Ms. McCaughey need to be identified in her columns as having a record as a dangerous liar?
McCaughey has proved she has no ethical standards. Apparently this fact is not important these days. Though the Republican Party claims to be the "values party," their "value" here seems to be that "It's okay to say anything to win."
L. P. McGovern