Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin "doesn't know what she's talking about" because she "doesn't read enough," Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough told viewers Tuesday.
Scarborough, a former GOP congressman from Florida, said Palin's popularity has diminished to the point where "she ain't gonna burn up Iowa anymore."
Conservative Pat Buchanan disagreed, however, saying that if Palin made an appearance at a health care rally in Iowa "she’d bring them right out of their chairs.”
Palin has been the focus of intense media scrutiny since she referred to provisions in the House bill for the government to pay doctors to provide end-of-life counseling to elderly patients – Palin's so-called "death panels."
Some experts are concerned that counseling ill seniors on end-of-life decisions as part of an effort to cut medical costs might lead them to end their lives sooner than necessary.
"I know I’m going to get in trouble," Scarborough said of Palin Tuesday morning on MSNBC. "But I’m just telling the truth of what Republicans say behind closed doors, because she doesn’t read enough. Because she goes off, she shoots off at her mouth, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about, she speaks in generalities. She has done exactly what she should not have done after she lost the vice presidency, she’s gone home, and she thinks she can keep shooting from her hip."
Buchanan took exception to Scarborough's surprisingly staunch criticism, saying Palin's views are finding a sympathetic audience given the current zeitgeist.
“The country’s in a very populist, angry mood," Buchanan replied to Scarborough. "I agree with you the arguments and the bumper-sticker stuff, death panels and things like that, it’s not sophisticated. But I’ll tell you, what is igniting all these people – they have very simple ideas, and they’re very angry.”
Commentator and media personality Tina Brown jumped into the fray as well: “Sarah Palin is all about the fact there’s a big void right now on the right. She’s colorful. She is effective, I have to say it, coming out with a catchy phrase that everybody rides with. It had an effect.
"But I think she’s still sort of an interim figure," Brown continued. "We’re in the early days of the next election and I do think by that time she will have blown herself up.”
Palin's comments have become a focus for President Obama during his town hall meetings. Obama has been glibly assuring attendees at his town hall meetings that no one will be "pulling the plug on grandma."
Palin recently posted the following response to the president on her Facebook page: "President Obama can try to gloss over the effects of government authorized end-of-life consultations, but the views of one of his top health care advisors are clear enough. It’s all just more evidence that the Democratic legislative proposals will lead to health care rationing, and more evidence that the top-down plans of government bureaucrats will never result in real health care reform."
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