Sunday, July 19, 2009

Rush And Sarah

Rush Limbaugh's love affair with Sarah Palin continues. On his show of Thursday, July 16, he rants about a Gallup Poll taken July 10-12, 2009. Limbaugh argues

Let me give you the unfavorables, too: 72-21 unfavorable Palin, 56-17 favorable-unfavorable Romney, 59-16 favorable-unfavorable Huckabee. Now. Now, Sarah Palin's favorable rating among Republicans is the top: 72%.

And Rush concludes:

All you have to do -- all you have to do -- is listen to the media. They will tell you. Listen to the Democrats! Sarah Palin, they are trying to destroy. They've been trying to destroy her. They filed another ethics investigation into her in Alaska, after she announced her resignation! They are trying to destroy her." The liberals, the left, the Drive-By Media, they are telling us who our nomination should be! They are telling us who they are most afraid of.

Not surprisingly, our favorite demagogue neglected to tell us that the same Gallup Poll measured support also among Democrats and Independents of the three leading GOP contenders for the party's presidential nomination in 2012. It found

Huckabee's numbers among all Americans look better by comparison. Although each GOP contender receives a similar favorable rating from the American public -- 43% for Palin, 37% for Romney, and 42% for Huckabee -- Huckabee's negatives are lower. As a result, his +19 net favorable score is much better than Romney's +8 and Palin's -2.

Really, it's a stretch to argue that Democrats fear the Repub Party nominating in 2012 the candidate least popular among the American people. It is undeniable that Palin is attractive, charismatic, and an inspiring speaker. Also, she could shore up her weaknesses. These wold be her lack of curiousity, lack of knowledge of current issues, and relative lack of governmental experience, the latter by demonstrating that she is an effective Governor- oh, wait, never mind, she quit that gig.

And not a moment too soon, it appears from a recent report about a budding scandal in Alaska regarding the mismanagement by state government of its Medicaid program. The Anchorage Daily News (7-14/7-15) reports

State programs intended to help disabled and elderly Alaskans with daily life -- taking a bath, eating dinner, getting to the bathroom -- are so poorly managed, the state cannot assure the health and well-being of the people they are supposed to serve, a new federal review found.

The situation is so bad the federal government has forbidden the state to sign up new people until the state makes necessary improvements.

No other state in the nation is under such a moratorium, according to a spokeswoman for the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

In the meantime, frail and vulnerable Alaskans who desperately need the help are struggling. One elderly woman is stuck in a nursing home, for lack of care at home. Another woman, suffering from chronic pain and fatigue, said she's so weak, she often can't even pop dinner into the microwave.

The moratorium is expected to last four or five months. State officials estimate about 1,000 Alaskans will be affected.

A particularly alarming finding concerns deaths of adults in the programs. In one 2 1/2 year stretch, 227 adults already getting services died while waiting for a nurse to reassess their needs. Another 27 died waiting for their initial assessment, to see if they qualified for help.

The programs at issue provide in-home help for thousands of Alaskans with the basics of life, from medication to meals. The goal is to help people stay in their own homes rather than go into nursing homes or other institutions.

The services are paid for by Medicaid, the state-federal health program for the poor and the disabled, and overseen by the state Division of Senior and Disabilities Services. Individuals qualify based on income and need. Private contractors do most of the work. The programs cost about $250 million this year, with the federal government currently paying 61 percent of the bill.

Palin faces another problem, according to Rush, because she is not the candidate "the sophisticates in the media in Washington and New York approve of" and that media will attempt to destroy her. Limbaugh neglects to mention the rave reviews, the widespread adulation that met Sarah Palin after her triumphant speech at the Republican National Convention last September- and, to a lesser extent, the overwhelmingly positive reaction that accompanied her mere selection by John McCain. She was given a tremendous opportunity last year by her party and repaid it by contributing to a losing campaign. Rush Limbaugh will do all he can to resurrect her image but the nation is unlikely to turn to someone who decided to take Harry Truman's advice: "if you don't like the heat, get out of the kitchen."

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