Outrage Over Obama-Care? Blame Sarah Palin, Says NYT's Health-Care Cheerleader Herszenhorn

A Monday review by Obama-care reporter David Herszenhorn, "An Overhaul Passes, The Vitriol Lives On," predictably found most of the outrageous statements from the debate to have been made by those on the right:

Congress has voted, President Obama will hold a last signing ceremony on Tuesday, and still, Americans are struggling to make sense of the health care debate - what it means for them and their families, for businesses and the economy, for states, for lawmakers in the November elections, for Mr. Obama and his presidency, for the nation's future, and in a most elemental way, for the future of civil democracy.

People surprised by the visceral - and in some cases vicious and violent - reactions to approval of the legislation have not had the benefit of months of e-mail from readers of The New York Times and this blog. Passions often ran high in these messages.

Herszenhorn, who was a consistent cheerleader for Obama-care, saw most of the outrage on the right. The Times again flagged Sarah Palin's "death panels" metaphor as a falsehood and a lie.

So how did the debate get to the point of charges of enslavement and threats of revolution? Here is a recap of the discourse over the past year.


As lawmakers headed home, they confronted an outpouring of public rancor at public meetings, fueled in part by the false "death panel" charge made by Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor, on her Facebook page.

"The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's death panel," she wrote.

Politifact.com, a Web site that checks the veracity of political statements, later branded hers "the lie of the year."

On the House and Senate floors, Republicans repeatedly said the bill was being rammed "down the throats" of the American people - more than 50 times, according to The Congressional Record.

"How dare Congress force government-run health care down the throats of our fellow Americans?" Representative John Fleming, Republican of Louisiana, said on Sept. 19.

"This is a dead, rotten, stinking fish that the speaker is trying to force down the throats of the American people," Representative Paul Broun, Republican of Georgia, said on Nov. 5.

Some Democrats had their own choice words. "If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly," Representative Alan Grayson, Democrat of Florida, said in a floor speech in September.