Garrison Keillor, the “Lake Wobegon” author and National Public Radio icon, is offering a solution to a couple of the nation’s problems with one swoop: Give members of the GOP “aspirin and hand sanitizer” but if they have more complicated health issues, let them die.

The comments come virtually at the same time voices are being raised in Washington over an assertion by U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., that Republicans’ health care plan for the sick is to “die quickly.”

“The Republican plan,” the Democrat said on the House floor, “Don’t get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly.”


In his Chicago Tribune column, Keillor wrote, “One starts to wonder if the country wouldn’t be better off without them and if Republicans should be cut out of the health-care system entirely and simply provided with aspirin and hand sanitizer.”

He continued, “Thirty-two percent of the population identifies with the GOP, and if we cut off health care to them, we could probably pay off the deficit in short order.”

In a column that ragged about crosswords, writing in whole paragraphs, a “tug-of-war between two trees,” cultural wars, the U.S. Supreme Court and other subjects, he said, “Conservatives and liberals can agree on the basics – that the nation wallows in debt, that it is shortsighted of the states to cut back on the most essential work of government which is the education of the young, and that somehow we have got to become a more productive nation and less consumptive.”

But he said “ruffles and flourishes” of Washington are seeming more irrelevant than ever.

Then he blasted the Republican Party as excusing “itself from meaningful debate.”

Specifically, he cites Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who he alleges “no longer finds it important to make sense” as well as Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who “attacks the president for giving a speech telling schoolchildren to work hard in school and get good grades.”

Keillor, 67, who just weeks ago suffered a stroke and was hospitalized for treatment, then suggests the U.S. would be better off by just allowing Republicans to die without treatment.

Columnist Don Surber at the Charleston Daily Mail said the health care debate essentially puts “smug, arrogant elitists who believe this should have passed 97 years ago” against “the rest of us who are wondering if the government can do anything right.”

“Ah yes, the National Public Radio system — a public option to commercial radio that gives us such droll wits as Garrison Keillor, who we mouth-breathers are too pathetically sad to understand,” he continued. “That a Democratic Party with overwhelming majorities in the House and Senate cannot pull it off is, well, all the Republicans’ fault.

“Thank you, Mr. Republicans Should Die, for raising the public debate to the level of a dung beetle,” he wrote.

On Surber’s forum page, there was this: “So Keillor just admitted that govt run health care can only succeed for 68% of the population.”

Another added, “The Democratic ‘solution’ … is to put everyone into one medical care pot. We then all get equal amounts of services at whatever high tax rate the government can levy. The young must be coerced into this system, to extract as much money as possible to serve the old.”


Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.