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Brian Buetuer is preemptively discouraged by the non-response (so far) of Democrats to the onslaught of Republican lies about Obamacare and the prominence of Obamacare as a campaign theme for 2014.
Political strategists are well trained to change the subject when the subject at hand isn’t a winner. But Obamacare is, quite rightly, an issue that’s too big to ignore, and won’t easily be driven to second-tier status—particularly given that all Republicans have to run on is that they didn’t vote for Obamacare. Which is not to say Dems can’t also run on the minimum wage, and immigration, and LGBT rights, and voting rights, and equal pay and the Koch brothers, and so on. But they can’t leave the Obamacare question unanswered.
He's right, they can't. One of the assumptions among Democrats and progressive pundit types—I've done it myself—is that the good stuff people see in Obamacare will bring them around, will make it less unpopular and take the sting out of it as an issue. But that can't really happen in a vacuum. People really need to be told, straight out, that the fact that they don't have a copay for their annual physical anymore is because of Obamacare; that their mother's or grandmother's prescription drugs through Medicare cost less because of Obamacare; that their neighbor's grown kid has insurance on his family's plan because of Obamacare. That their other neighbor with a cancer diagnosis isn't in any danger of losing her coverage because of Obamacare.

All that needs to be said explicitly and often. And, as Beutler says, Democrats need to put those stories on the air, in their own ads. There are no end to the good news stories out of this law. They need to be told. That's particularly true because every bad thing that happens in our health care system, anything that any insurance company ever does that's negative, is going to be blamed on Obamacare. Rate hikes? Never mind that they have happened every single year. It'll be because of Obamacare. Your employer decides to go with a new insurer and you have to change doctors? Obamacare will be blamed. That's going to have to be countered at every turn.

In the immediate term, it's not enough to assume that people are going to understand and internalize all the good stuff they got through Obamacare, not after years of hearing very little but negative. So let's start seeing the ads talking about what Republicans are trying to take away, what they're trying to keep away from people in the case of Medicaid expansion. The voting population isn't going to pick that up just through osmosis. They need to be told.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 01:20 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (31+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 01:20:41 PM PDT

  •  Since the Government Wouldn't Promote a New (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    government program or educate citizens on it, its promotion is left to becoming a political issue.

    My money says that more often than not, Dems are going to not run on Obamacare in 2014 same as they didn't in 2010.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 01:27:42 PM PDT

  •  My low-income, working poor sister (3+ / 0-)

    will have health insurance for the first time since she left the Air Force some 30 years ago. Because of her income, she will receive subsidies for most of it, so she'll only pay about $25/month.  These are the kinds of stories we need to tell.

    Here's another story from a small businessman in Rochester who found that the ACA helped him reduce his company's insurance costs.

    Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

    by milkbone on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 02:04:36 PM PDT

  •  You know, what Karl Rove was renowned for (0+ / 0-)

    was turning an opponent's positive quality into a negative (hence, the swiftboating of John Kerry).  We need to turn what the GOP perceives to be its advantage to OUR advantange.  That means messaging -- relentless messaging -- which tells the true and real stories of ordinary Americans who are being helped by the ACA.  More and more, as we move into the year, that will become the real story.  Our side needs to get out in front on this and make the case.

    With the Decision Points Theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library becomes the very first Presidential Library to feature a Fiction Section.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 03:09:10 PM PDT

  •  "My opponent is bragging that he didn't vote for (0+ / 0-)

    Obamacare. He wants you to pay through the nose for shoddy healthcare (with a high deductible and a limit on coverage). Or go without it.
    "Is that OK with you?"
    (Paid for by a candidate who cares about you)

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 03:13:54 PM PDT

  •  This is so Infuriating (0+ / 0-)

    But is must be rampant in the Democratic Party.  All Democratic legislators in Colorado who voted for the wonderful new gun safety laws in Colorado are being told the same thing. Avoid the issue. It's stupid.  They should be proud of what they passed and defend it at every chance.  They should bring it up in their stock campaign speeches.  If they're not proud of what they did, voters can smell that in a minute and they don't like it.  Either get out there and sell what you did or you deserve to be removed from office, just like the two Senators were removed about the gun stuff here.  We've always known in Colorado that consultants from the east coast are just plain dumb.  Our candidates have to have them because the monied people demand it.  But, their ideas are so stupid.  And then if you follow their stupid ideas, you're branded a "difficult" candidate.  Come on candidates.  Have the courage of your convictions.  Some great things have been done by you at the national and at least at the state level her.  Tell people why they are so great and why the other side is just lying and/or wrong.  PLEASE.  I"M BEGGING YOU.  And that says a lot from a lawyer.

  •  Stupidest (11+ / 0-)

    among multiple stupido things Republicans did was label the ACA Obamacare.  hahahahahahahaha!!!!  They have the long term plan of a fruit fly.

    I finally have insurance again -- after 14 years.  Full physical is next Friday.  Lab work on Tuesday (must remember to fast).  I don't give a shite about morans from the right or the left who complain about the ACA.  I'm one of millions it is actually helping.  I'm one of millions who will work to make it better.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 06:34:56 PM PDT

  •  And who's surprised by this? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sajiocity, Sue B
    the non-response (so far) of Democrats to the onslaught of Republican lies about Obamacare
    That's just Democratic politics 101. That's why so many liberals are simply disgusted by them any more.

    Remember the term "fighting Democrat?"
    The joke was on us.

    The Democorporate faction of the party uses the Far Right as its excuse for moving further right.

    by masswaster on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 06:37:43 PM PDT

    •  Al Gore's case (3+ / 0-)

      Al Gore did not run his inadequate campaign in a vacuum.  In every case, his positions were tested by opinion polls and sometimes by focus groups.  He did a great job of carefully following the polling data.

      The problem was that the polls told him where people were at that moment, and not where they could be moved by election day.  Political instincts have to be informed by polls but they have to also work despite the polls.  Sadly, Al Gore's political instincts were lacking when it came to the best salesman the Democrats had.

      Yes, I know Al won the election, but he should not have let it get close enough to steal.

      I'm from Johnson City.

      by Al Fondy on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 06:57:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dems should have a narrative, you're right (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but, you know .....

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 06:37:49 PM PDT

  •  Won't Vote For Denny Heck Of WA State Again..... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    randallt, sajiocity

    He's a runner from the Affordable Care Act.  I'm done w/ that guy.  He finally got back to me after I visited his office in Lacey to find out his opinion on Obamacare & the Voting Rights Amendment.

    Wishy Washy.....hes "in the process" of cosponsoring the Voting Rights Amendment, & he wants to fix Obamacare before he can REALLY support it.

    He can't fully support the Voting Rights Amendment?  Denny's a stradler, more interested in his own seat than the people he's supposed to be representing.

    I'm prepared to work to get someone new in Denny's seat.  

  •  While I agree that the good of the ACA should (4+ / 0-)

    be told often and candidates should without haste run on it.....I also think that 2014 is not 2010.

    The ACA is now a permanent fixture in health care.  In 2010, it was only beginning but now it is here and millions have it.  

    So we can tell the good on the airwaves (and we should), and the GOP can tell all the lies they want....but in the end, people will know what the ACA will do for them this time, unlike 2010.  

    They either have it or they know someone who does, and they are happy with their premiums and the deductibles and doctor choices and the fact that they can't be denied.   Even if they still have insurance with their company,  they work for a company that is offering more and they are happy (even if they are paying a bit more for BC, everyone has check-ups etc) .  People either are aware or will become aware without us very, very soon.  Why?  This law will affect everyone eventually.  It is a myth that it only helps a few.  It will touch the lives of all in some way or another and then the voters will pass judgement on it.

    If it is great and people love it, the poll numbers will reflect that....and soon.  If it doesn't work or it doesn't do as we have said, people will dislike it.  

    I believe people will love it and soon and the polls numbers will soar....and no ads or lies can stop people from seeing the actual proof in their checkbook, and/or their quality of healthcare.  

  •  The ads should say (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sajiocity, Sue B

    Next time Republicans say they want to end Obamacare, just ask them:

    1.  Why do you want to make medical emergencies the number one cause of bankruptcy again?
    2.  Why do you want to give insurance companies any excuse to drop or refuse insurance because of "pre-existing" conditions?
    3.  Why do you want our children just starting work and loaded with heavy school debt thrown off their parents' insurance?  (And why aren't you Republicans doing something about school debt like the Democrats want to do?)
    4.  Why do you want to give insurance companies unlimited profits instead of requiring them to spend at least 80% of premiums on patient care?
    5.  Why do you want to throw millions of people who have insurance now and who are paying their fair share now back on government and private charity?
    6.  Why do you want to let insurance companies raise their rates without any limit like they did before Obamacare?  For the first time since Reagan medical costs have slowed or even dropped in places--Do you have stock in the insurance companies?

    That's just a starting list of points that should be, must be hammered home against Republicans.  If Democrats don't start challenging Republicans on their 50+ votes to do the above, then the bastards deserve to lose.  Maybe, just maybe, then we'll start getting progressives to replace these spineless corporate "Democrats".  I'd love to see real ones with fight, like Grayson, take these Republicans to the woodshed.  I don't think Truman would have any problem running against this "do nothing unless it's terrible things" Congress.

    These Republicans have filibustered more . . . while accomplishing less . . . (and) while attempting to block more nominees than any other Congress in the history of our republic--Jon Stewart

    by monkeybrainpolitics on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 06:47:31 PM PDT

    •  The ads should be addressed to those with Ins (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Those that have gotten insurance under Obamacare understand the benefits.

      The ones to convince are those that already had insurance.

      The benefits that really sink in are the removal of medical bankruptcy,and the freedom to change jobs and still have insurance-

      PLay upthe positives with real people, and just end with

      Don´t let Republicans take this away/ return us to the bad old days.

      I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

      by peterfallow on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 03:08:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good timing for this post (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This goes hand in hand with Old Redneck's wonderful story now atop the Rec list.

    There are thousands of stories like this just waiting to be used as ammunition. Why don't I see the administration pushing them?

    Libertarianism is something that most people grow out of, not unlike, say, hay fever or asthma. Bob Johnson

    by randallt on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 06:48:23 PM PDT

    •  GMTA, we were typing at the same time (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      you only beat me to it by 29/100 of a second.  :-)

      Incidentally, I've posted that diary on Facebook and I'd encourage everyone to do something similar.  Spread it far and wide!

      It looks like it's going to be left up to us activist Democrats to get the story out because the MSM (mainstream media) is ignoring all the heartwarming stories like this.  
      (liberal media, my ass!)

      They don't win until we quit fighting!

      by Eyesbright on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 06:59:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Like minds and all ;) (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        What is frustrating to me isn't the fact that traditional media won't cover it, it is that the Democratic election and money machine won't cover it either.

        Libertarianism is something that most people grow out of, not unlike, say, hay fever or asthma. Bob Johnson

        by randallt on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 07:06:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This was funny (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    by otto on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 06:48:40 PM PDT

  •  Here's one to run on - and there must be thousands (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    Old Redneck's diary today:

    She couldn't stop crying and hugging everyone in sight . . .

    They don't win until we quit fighting!

    by Eyesbright on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 06:48:52 PM PDT

  •  Can you blame some Dems from running from it? (0+ / 0-)

    It has consistently been a loser issue for many Dems in the past few months just look at how it cost us our post shutdown gains. You think Kay Hagan is going to run on Obamacare after being hammered by TV ads over the law which has caused her popularity to collapse and damaged her re-election chances. No one wants to talk about the broken website, cancelled plans, employer/individual mandate etc.

    •  Yes I can (0+ / 0-)

      Broken website. That is so over. Get with the big picture here. Portray it as a positive influence on our health and well being.

      Libertarianism is something that most people grow out of, not unlike, say, hay fever or asthma. Bob Johnson

      by randallt on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 07:00:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here's where short memories will work for us (0+ / 0-)

      for a change.  People will soon forget the website fiasco, etc., when they see their family and neighbors getting affordable, decent health care via their affordable Obamacare insurance.

      It can be phrased better than I just did above but it will happen.  At this point, it's only a matter of how long it will take for people to realize what a boon Obamacare is for the working America.

      Then they have to be made to understand that Republicans seriously want to take that away from them.

      Timing is key.  They need to realize what they've got before the Republicans get the power to take it away from them.

      They don't win until we quit fighting!

      by Eyesbright on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 07:05:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Snapples hit the nail on the head (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    randallt, mjd in florida
    Dems lose because they assume voters are smarter than they really are.  Obama makes that same mistake.  John Kerry made that mistake when he was swiftboated & didn't fight back.  Republicans are masters of taking a positive (like Kerry's military service) & turning into a negative.

    Do not give voters the benefit of the doubt.  Defend [against] every lie the minute it happens.  Don't let it be repeated.  Counter it, slam it into the ground, then make ad after ad after ad proving that it was a lie.  And.....while you're at it, call out the liars.

    by snapples on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 07:07:27 PM PDT

    They don't win until we quit fighting!

    by Eyesbright on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 06:53:22 PM PDT

  •  Changing the name to "Americare" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Years ago (before "Obamacare" stuck) I wrote a desperate diary demanding that the Dems come up with a cleverer name than the shittily titled "Affordable Care Act."

    I proposed the term "Americare".

    I knew the right wing propaganda machine would smear the ACA somehow, and was hardly surprised when "Obamacare" came along and stuck like glue.

    We've tried to "take it back" but the truth is, Obamacare is as shitty a name as the Affordable Care Act.  Both have none of the critical importance of the naming convention of two other terms

    MEDICARE (think how brilliant it was adding "care" to the end)

    SOCIAL SECURITY ("security" is a beautiful word)

    I wonder if there's still time to add


    The third leg of the social contract stool.  Think of the ads:

    First the Democrats produced Social Security.  Then they produced Medicare.  Now they have produced Americare -- the final step in securing the social safety net.

    If only dems didn't have their heads up their asses about the power of naming conventions.  Think "death tax" "right to life" "right to work" etc.

    Rs now the power of language.  Sadly dems do not

  •  It doesn't sell itself. (0+ / 0-)

    The reason it doesn't is because its benefits are not widespread or large enough to convince enough people.

    Now I know we were told the ACA would sell itself, once it came into effect. But this was blue skies talk. The fact is that the ACA was inspired from a Republican plan (Heritage Foundation, Romney). And that's why it has a stink on it.

    So did I personally benefit from the ACA? Yes. But my vote is already assured. You see, we always have lying liars on the Right. The only thing that really shuts them up is good, evident legislation. Think of the strides in gay rights of late. The Right is dead on this. Their dog won't get off the porch.

    Each Democratic politician needs to run how he/she feels fit. If running on the ACA works, fine. If not, then don't.

  •  Ht8ers will h8t (0+ / 0-)

    Those who can't stand Obama will never listen to reason and truth, no matter how many times the facts are repeated to them.

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