The Republicans are settling on some campaign themes for the contest over control of the next U.S. Congress. Here are four different attack ads that the RCCC has deployed against Democratic incumbents. The backbone of each of these ads is a clever lie, a different one in each case. In this post, let's consider the ad against John Barrow, D, GA-12.
Transcript:The objective lie in this particular ad is that the Affordable Care Act is a massive tax increase.
Tinny, low fidelity recording of the President's voice:"This is Barack Obama and I want to ask you to join me in supporting Congressman John Barrow for reelection . . ."
Booming, deep voiced announcer: "No surprise there. John Barrow brags about working hand in hand with Obama. He supported Obama's agenda 85% of the time. And he even voted to keep Obamacare's massive tax increases ($525 billion) in place. John Barrow. Helping Obama. Hurting Georgia."
Follow on for more thoughts about the GOP's use of this lie in the Congressional campaign.
The Ministry of Noise, aka Fox, Limbaugh etc. has relentlessly catapulted the "Obamacare is a massive tax increase" propaganda to the low information voters who comprise their audience. One nut at Forbes tried to argue that you have to count insurance premiums and co-pays as taxes. The joker basically wanted to count the private costs of the healthcare system as taxes. Boy howdy, then you'd really have a "massive tax increase".
The truth is something else. To be sure, the Affordable Care Act does raise revenue in a variety of ways. But Obamacare is hardly a massive revenue raiser. Also, anyone looking only at the taxes and fees under the ACA, unfairly disregards its many benefits to various stakeholders in the health care system, including doctors and patients. Businessweek took a look at the "massive tax increase" claim and rejected it, saying:
Lots of different tax hikes are tucked into the Affordable Care Act. If you’re a tanning salon, a medical device maker, a pharmaceutical company, a small business owner who doesn’t want to provide health insurance coverage to your employees, or an individual who refuses coverage, you’re going to have to cough up more money to the IRS in the form of penalties, fees, and yes, taxes. Individuals earning $200,000 or above and couples earning at least $250,000 will pay a 0.9% Medicare surtax and a 3.8% surtax on investment income. Some of these taxes—such as the 2.3 percent excise tax on the sale of medical devices—could be passed along to consumers.The Businessweek article also noted this analysis by Ezra Klien charting the relatively miniscule bite taken by Obamacare out of US GDP, compared to tax increases by really bad socialists like Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
If you’re just about anyone else, the health-care law is likely to be a net plus.
The GOP figures it can justify this lie against any incumbent who survived the blood bath in the House in 2010, because these Democrats voted for ACA and since then have been voting against GOP efforts to repeal the health care law. John Barrow is just such a Democrat, being one of the handful of Blue Dog Democrats who haven't yet retired or been retired.
Many around DK would probably think that Barrow is no prize. It depends upon the point of view. He is one of the handful of Democrats voting for the contempt citation on Attorney General Holder. But the worst the GOP can come up with on this guy is that he's with the Democrats 85% of the time. OK. That's not 100%, but i give him a B and expect him to caucus with the good guys and help get our Speaker back.
Barrow has had Democratic Savannah snipped off of his district and a chunk of central Georgia tacked on, giving the district a much redder hue. Exploiting existing hatreds of the President and of paying taxes appears to be the GOP tactic of choice in this rare non-VRA district in the Deep South still represented by a Democrat in Congress.
The other three RCCC ads are different and I will post about each of them in turn.