If Sarah Palin echoes a figure in American politics, it's Joseph McCarthy—so "try this on for size: Palinism," writes Richard Cohen in the Washington Post. Like McCarthy, she has a lefty "menace" to invent facts about, and she's succeeding in wounding health reform with a "loopy" remark about "death panels" that "has to rank with McCarthy's announcement that 'I have here in my hand a list of 205' (or 57 or 72 or whatever) names of communists in the State Department."
Like McCarthy, Palin has her victims: "The poor, the uninformed and the ideologically blind who will find themselves unable to make a graceful exit." Most frighteningly—as with McCarthy—conservatives would rather stand back and let her fan the political flames than publicly disagree. McCarthy fell from grace, and Palin's numbers are already sinking. But first she will "expose the appalling opportunism of the Republican leaders. I have in my hand a list of their names."