It never ends

IT NEVER ENDS…. The right said a bipartisan, common-sense measure on end-of-life care was scandalous. It wasn’t, but reality didn’t matter — conservatives believed it was true, and now it’s apparently gone from the bill. The right said a public option would represent a Soviet-style takeover of the health care system. . It wasn’t, but reality didn’t matter — conservatives believed it was true, and now the idea is in trouble.

Ideally, reform advocates would be able to see around the curve, predicting what the next ridiculous right-wing attack might be, and preparing a response in advance. But that’s not easy; the Republican Attack Machine features a painful combination of creativity, paranoia, and pathological dishonesty.

For example, Amy Sullivan reports on the next conservative temper tantrum.

Now conservative opponents of health reform have found a new threat: home nurse visits to low-income parents. “We are setting up a situation where Obama will be invading parent’s [sic] homes and taking away their children,” one columnist warned on RightWingNews.com. That something as harmless as home nurse visits has become a target of conservative ire is surprising because of its longstanding popularity with both Republican and Democratic lawmakers. But health reform advocates are scratching their heads at the attacks for another reason: funding for home nurse visits was largely included in health reform legislation to accommodate social conservatives. […]

[H]ome nurse visits are exactly the kind of pro-family policy that social conservatives would embrace. And they have. The home visitation provision in health reform legislation was modeled on a bill authored by Republican Senator Kit Bond of Missouri. Bond went through a parenting education program in Missouri when his son was born three decades ago and has been a fan of the idea ever since. […]

Home visits have been so popular with conservatives that the idea kept coming up during conversations White House aides hosted with pro-life advocates earlier this year in an effort to find common ground on abortion. And when Democratic Reps. Tim Ryan and Rosa DeLauro drafted the abortion reduction bill they introduced last month, they specifically included funding for home nurse visits as a way of accommodating pro-life preferences for policies that support women who decide to give birth instead of having abortions.

But that was before conservative anxiety over health reform reached its boiling point.

Now, prenatal counseling, according to the Heritage Foundation, Chuck Norris, and assorted right-wing voices, are “mandatory home inspections.”

Will it matter that the idea was sought by the right? Almost certainly not, because intellectual consistency, honesty, and seriousness have had absolutely no role in the policy debate whatsoever.

Kevin Drum added, “It hasn’t gotten a ton of attention yet, but that’s only because the loonies have been obsessed with death panels instead. If that weren’t in the bill, Sarah Palin would have dubbed the home nurse program as the Baby Brainwashing Brigades and everyone would be going nuts over that instead.”

We know the drill. The right makes something up … Fox News and Limbaugh say it’s true … Republican lawmakers start condemning the imaginary threat … major mainstream news outlets report that “some say” the imaginary threat is real … millions of Americans believe it … Democrats point to reality, but it’s too late … and the worthwhile idea is dropped from the legislation.

The challenge in overcoming this is more than just overwhelming; it’s also endless and unpredictable. Our political system just doesn’t work the way it should.