Sunday, April 20, 2008

Attacking health care

Gawd! When Barack Obama appropriates propaganda mimicking "the vile smear campaign the insurance lobby waged against health care reform in 1993," one wonders whose side is he on? Via Lambert, BTD at TalkLeft:

Petey points to Obama's last PA ad - he's going Harry and Louise again on health care:

[Obama] ad attacks Clinton’s health care plan, saying it “forces everyone to buy insurance even if you can’t afford it."

I've lost count of how many times Obama has conjured up Harry-and-Louise style attacks on Hillary's universal health care plan. Is this the third wave? Hillary Clinton's campaign responded:

1. The Obama ad claims that Hillary's "plan forces everyone to buy insurance even if you can't afford it." Health policy expert Ken Thorpe reviewed this claim and found it to be false. Under Hillary's plan, everyone will be able to afford coverage.

"Ken Thorpe, a health-policy expert at Emory University who has advised all three major Democrats, said he ran cost estimates for the Clinton plan at the Clinton campaign's request, and found there should be enough money to make insurance affordable for all." [Wall Street Journal, 12/5/07]

2. The advertisement also claims that that Hillary's plan would make people who fail to enroll "pay a penalty." Sen. Obama's own plan would fine parents who fail to enroll their children and he has said he will consider imposing penalties on people who don't enroll.

Hillary would consider a range of ideas, including automatic enrollment, to ensure everyone is covered. Sen. Obama's plan, would, experts agree, leave 15 million people out.

3. The ad also claims that Sen. Obama's plan reduces costs more than Hillary's plan. There is no citation for this claim because it is false. Hillary's plan has more aggressive cost cutting measures and has more generous subsides [sic]. Because Sen. Obama's plan leaves 15 million people out, it would drive costs up, because everyone would have to subsidize emergency care for the uninsured.

The last link clicks to Paul Krugman who has repeatedly taken Obama to task over health care, for "attacking his rivals by echoing right-wing talking points," and ringing the alarm bell unnecessarily on Social Security. Melissa McEwan questioned why Obama distances himself from liberalism awhile back. Wise to listen. Also smart to remember what has worked previously in presidential politics to the detriment of our country. From 2001:

Television is a medium of propaganda, of the sub-rational suasion of advertising. The essence of propaganda is reason-obliterating repetition. Bush got his message across in the campaign through incessant repetition. His use of the same words over and over again in the same sentence, seen in this light, is not a handicap; it shows his affinity for TV and matches our expectations, built up over the decades, for "message" communication of the "Great Taste, Less Filling, Great Taste, Less Filling" order. As Ryan Lizza reports in The New Republic, Bush's handlers have him say the same thing so often that it is difficult for the TV cameras to catch him saying anything else. On August 7, during his "working vacation" at his Crawford, Texas, ranch, Bush used the word "home" six times in a minute of conversation with reporters: "It's nice to be home ... This is my home ... It's good to be home ... This is where you come home ... This is my home," etc. In fact it is not his home. "The Crawford ranch does not precede Bush's life on the national stage," Lizza writes. "It is a product of it." Bush lived in the Texas governor's mansion and vacationed in swank resorts and at Kennebunkport before the campaign began. Never mind. Bush got his message across: unlike Bill Clinton he has a "home." . . ."And the repetition works," Lizza writes. . . His job approval rating went up during the Crawford propaganda-fest. TV has finally found a President willing to sound like an idiot in order to exploit its inherent properties, to master its baldly manipulative code. Bush, the verbal bumbler, is the Great Communicator of the age. [Emphasis added.]

Obama is no bumbler of words but his repetition tactic on TV works. He's hacked away at Hillary's double-digit lead in PA. How?:

What's behind the shift? . . . "Obama has outspent Hillary Clinton three to one just on television advertising in Pennsylvania. He spent more than $3 million trying to get his name out and his message out to Hillary Clinton's $1 million," said Mark Preston, a CNN political editor. [Emphasis added.]

Repeating the same old misleading information in attack ads imitates the same old Washington politics that Obama promises over and over and over again that he will change. M'yeah. Pardon moi for noticing the fraud.

UPDATE 2:42 PM: Republished with the correct time stamp. I inadvertently didn't notice it was set for PM since I had started the draft last night, but in fact, the post published this morning at 11:32 AM.