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We need a sort, pithy way to frame the Medicare issue, and we haven't yet done it.  The "framing war" is being waged big time by Ryan, whom I just saw on some news program talking about how his plan "strengthens and saves" Medicare for the future.

Those words track the talking points Republicans have issued. According to MSNBC's coverage, Republicans have been directed to avoid the words "privatize" and "entitlements" and instead push their program as

 "preserving, securing, saving" Medicare for the future etc. etc.  

Democrats cannot let Republicans frame the Medicare debate.  Yes, we have the facts and the arguments and the high ground, but if we lose the framing we risk losing even on our strongest issue.

Last night on The Last Word Lawrence O'Donnell asked the Democratic surrogate what the "short" pithy way to make the case was for the Dems, and instead got a thoughtful but complicated response as to which $700B cuts were which and why blah blah blah.  

That won't cut it!  According to Rachel Maddow,  

Romney has hired the PR people BP brought on board after the oil spill, and the group of "crisis managers" that whitewashed dictators and bad actors, and they are masters of framing.  Adding PR skills to a Romney campaign that already has embraced lies and distortions intensifies our need to WIN THE FRAMING WAR NOW! Framing happens early in the debate, and determines "home field advantage."

This diary is a test run for such a framing "slogan."  Based on helpful comments to my previous  diary about framing, the best I can come up with is:


But someone else out there may have a better idea, so please submit your comments and VOTE in the POLL

Yesterday I proposed "Single Payer Benefits versus Coupons for Grandma," but got some good comments from people indicating I needed to go back to the drawing board.  I'm grateful for a comment by "equern", who noted that

"Nobody knows what single payer means (0+ / 0-)
And the very word "payer" is a killer."
and to Idamena2, who suggested 3 parameters that such framing must meet:  
1) must be passionate
2) must put a human face on it
3) must be overt (no numbers to think about)

I like numbers, but I've learned the hard way that few people think in numbers.  $500 vs 700 is like telling your cat blah-blah-blah-blah.

by IdaMena2 on Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 11:55:32 AM PDT

I agree wholeheartedly with IdaMena2's parameters.  That's what we need to come up with.

So vote in the Poll for your favorite framing statement, and PLEASE, if you have a better idea put it in a comment.  

I  know I'm sounding alarmist on the framing issue, and some here hope that, because we have the best argument and the best "facts" we will win this debate, but I know that whoever sets the framing wins the issue.  We can't let the Republicans co-oopt the Medicare issue with lies and distortions.  The best way to avoid that is to frame the debate on our terms:  Let's ask seniors if they  want Medicare as we know it or Coupons for Grandma!    

(I used the word "Coupons" rather than "Vouchers" because vouchers are less well understood, and also because elderly people struggling to get by on a fixed income know exactly what "Coupons" are, and how they may save you some but often on a high-priced and unneeded product. "Coupons" seemed evocative of that struggle.)


Vote on your favorite Medicare Frame

51%22 votes
13%6 votes
11%5 votes
4%2 votes
9%4 votes
2%1 votes
6%3 votes

| 43 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  I like the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    distraught, MKSinSA

    "Traditional Medicare vs. Coupons for Grandma"

    Tradition as a word itself implies the continuation of good things to most people. And I think in the elderly community it definitely implies such. 'Traditional Medicare' is not confusing like "Single Payer"  and less verbose then "Medicare as we know it". It also tends to appeal to those of a more 'conservative' mind set.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 10:40:47 AM PDT

  •  Guaranteed Insurance vs. Insurance Coupons (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I think "Medicare As We Know It," "Single Payer," "Traditional Medicare", and "Earned Benefits" are all relatively non-descriptive. "Coupons" as a concept are pretty well-defined, but "Medicare" doesn't describe what current seniors have access to now as opposed to what Romney/Ryan think they should have.

    "In an individual, selfishness uglifies the soul; for the human species, selfishness is extinction." -Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell

    by rigcath on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 11:16:20 AM PDT

    •  Thanks -- (0+ / 0-)

      Good suggestion -- I'll add it to a new poll.  Tomorrow I am going to poll just the top suggestions.  You make a good point.  My only qualm is that "insurance companies" are not popular, and some may not understand that this is not private insurance, but government paid benefits.  It's a tough call.

    •  Guaranteed Medicare vs. Medicare coupons (0+ / 0-)

      I don't like using "grandma", but I do like using Guaranteed.

      I like the idea of comparing a guarantee with a coupon

      “Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well- warmed, and well-fed.” ― Herman Melville

      by techwriter on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 11:40:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Do another ad with President Obama talking.... (0+ / 0-)

    ....straight into the camera.

    Let him explain the 716B in savings on the provider side, the closing of the donut hole and the medicare extension of slovency by 8 years.

    •  Yes, this shouldn't become an argument of... (0+ / 0-)

      ...dueling charts and graphs.  Obama needs to distill the argument into its most basic terms:  "This is what I've done to improve Medicare.  This is what my opponents want to eliminate from Medicare."

      Beyond that, Dems really need to start pushing a "Cost vs. Benefits" meme.  Now that both sides are forced to address the issue, it won't be as easy for Republicans to cast fear on the other side.  

      However, Dems can't underestimate them or lose control of the framing.  Ryan needs to be defined the same way Romney was on the Bain issue and, ideally, it should be before the convention.

  •  Medicare v. CouponCare (0+ / 0-)

    Needs to be short

  •  Romney = health insurance coupons w/ donut holes (0+ / 0-)

    maybe there's a way to link coupons to the prescription drug doughnut hole.

    maybe there's potential here for a thematic protest to bring these ideas together. ...I'll try a diary tomorrow pushing this idea.

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