“Author Erica Jong first became socially acquainted with former Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey of New York in the late 1990s, a dark time for Ms. McCaughey.”
Full of Dark Shadows
“Ms. McCaughey had just lost her bid to unseat her former boss, Gov. George E. Pataki, and her marriage to the billionaire financier Wilbur Ross had fallen apart.
So when Ms. McCaughey started a new charity fighting hospital-borne infections a few years ago and asked Ms. Jong to join, the author said, she happily agreed. “I was happy for her that she had a place to lick her wounds,” Ms. Jong said in an interview. “And I thought it was a good cause.”
Did you now? I went to high school with Erica Jong’s third husband. A very nice kid. Of course as we know from her writing she rememebrs him differently.
“Late last month, Ms. Jong abruptly resigned from the group, expressing concern that Ms. McCaughey was using it as a platform for some of the harshest — and frequently false — attacks against President Obama’s health care plan.
“I feel like I was taken in,” Ms. Jong said. “I fear that if she had her way, more people would die.”
Now that’s really interesting. For as we know Betsy’s the one who’s always blathering about Imminent death at the hands of the government.
“Ms. McCaughey’s role as a central, if disputed, player in the national health care debate has surprised friend and foe alike, coming after a rise-and-fall story unique even by the standards of New York’s wild and woolly politics.
For the last few years, Ms. McCaughey has worked in a relatively quiet, (mostly) noncontroversial fight against hospital infection death. Her campaign has drawn some bipartisan support and won credit in New York for helping to push a law requiring hospitals to report infection rates.”
Sounds perfectly reasonable, no?
“But, she said an in an e-mail exchange, Mr. Obama’s health care proposals compelled her to weigh in. She said she keeps the effort separate from her organization and has not coordinated with any political groups. (Ms. McCaughey resigned as a director at the medical supply company Cantel last month amid accusations of conflict of interest, which she denied.)”
In the immortal words of Bill Clinton “Deny! Deny! Deny!”
“Her work has, however, proved to be a boon to opponents of Mr. Obama’s health care plans, if occasionally judged as over the line even by some of them. .
She incorrectly stated in July that a Democratic bill in the House would “absolutely require” counseling sessions for Medicare recipients “that will tell them how to end their life sooner,” drawing a “Pants on Fire” rating from the Politifact fact-checking Web site; her false assertion that the presidential health adviser Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel believes “medical care should be reserved for the nondisabled” helped inspire former Gov. Sarah Palin’s discredited warning about “death panels” deciding who is “worthy of health care.”
Far from isolating her, it has all seemed to raise her profile to levels not seen since she left office, earning her a star turn last month on “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central. (The host, Jon Stewart, said he found her analysis “hyperbolic and in some cases dangerous.”)”
“Admirers and foes say Ms. McCaughey’s loud re-emergence in the health care debate is a testament to the same singular drive — and unabated media appeal — that catapulted her from the obscurity of academia to the near-top of New York politics more than a decade ago.
But even to some friends, her criticisms are reminiscent of a trademark style of argument that, while effective in grabbing attention, frequently comes into dispute as out of bounds.
“Sometimes, I think she is on to something,” said Ann Northrop, a longtime activist on gay and lesbian issues who has been friends with Ms. McCaughey, her political near-opposite, since they were freshman roommates at Vassar. “Other times, I think she is 100 miles out to sea.”
Yet Ms. Northrop, who is not new to questions about her friend’s motivations, added, “I have absolute, complete faith in her sincerity.”
“When something like this comes up,” Ms. Northrop said, “Betsy, for better or for worse, feels like she has a responsibility to look at the bill in detail because she feels — rightly so — that so few people do.”
It’s for worse, Ann.
I didn’t go to Vassar, but as I trust you recall I wrote for The Avocado under the Rouillard regime — and you were there too. Richard wouldn’t have given Betsy’s bullshit so much as a nanosecond’s consideration.
“And so it was that Ms. McCaughey, who earned a doctorate in constitutional history at Columbia University, in 1994 wrote a scathing critique in The New Republic of President Bill Clinton’s plan while a scholar at the Manhattan Institute.
The piece, credited with helping to kill the plan, won a National Magazine Award. The attention it drew led Mr. Pataki to tap her to run as his lieutenant governor.
But critics seized on the article for flaws, like its assertion that “the law will prevent you from going outside the system to buy basic health coverage you think is better,” though the House bill specifically barred prohibiting “an individual from purchasing any health care services.” The magazine eventually repudiated the article; “political sour grapes,” Ms. McCaughey said in an e-mail message.”
That’s really weak Betsy.
“Ms. McCaughey seemed to have disappeared after Mr. Pataki ejected her from his re-election ticket — his communications director called her “an irrational person” — and soundly defeated her in 1998.
Their relationship never seemed to recover after she drew unfavorable front-page headlines for standing behind him during the entirety of his 1996 State of the State speech. (“Sit Down, Betsy,” read a headline in Newsday. “It was a speech worth standing for,” Ms. McCaughey responded.)”
I’m sure that looked like a good “save” on paper dear.
“Ms. McCaughey landed a post-government fellowship at the conservative Hudson Institute, led by an old political ally, the former Republican comptroller candidate Herbert London. He credited her in an interview this week for “a high energy level and extraordinary intellectual curiosity.”
In building her anti-infection campaign a few years later, she quickly put her high-powered Rolodex to work. Her committee has included Democratic supporters like the Goldman Sachs International vice chairman, Robert Hormats, whom Mr. Obama has nominated for a State Department post, and Republican board members like Henry Buhl, who has supported Club for Growth, a conservative group now fighting Mr. Obama’s plans.”
Aha! Do I spy a . . .Smoking Pac ?
““She’s been able to pull together some pretty significant people to really work and have policies put in place to prevent the spread of infection,” said Jane J. Barnsteiner, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing , and a member of Ms. McCaughey’s group. (She said she disagrees with Ms. McCaughey’s views in the health care debate.)Still, it has not all been quiet there. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention once complained that Ms. McCaughey misrepresented its efforts against hospital infections. And this week, TheHealthCareBlog quoted some fellow anti-infection advocates as criticizing her for overly focusing on news media attention.
Ms. McCaughey said in an e-mail message that, in fact, a lot of her work was about drawing public attention to her cause. And it has led her to frequently publish opinion pieces in newspapers — keeping her in contact with major editorial pages that she has availed herself of in her new fight, against Mr. Obama’s health care plans.”
The old “Obama made me do it!’ defense.
The truth is Betsy won her (in)fame via her slavering a patina of “science” over a purely political matter of the sort the “Mainstream” loves to spotlight.
Clearly Betsy fancies herself a Major Diva.
But the role she’s actually taken for herself has much more in common with the Basso.