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My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.
|Up to now, the decided advantage in the health care debate has gone to the side that DOES NOT want Barack Obama's appointed panel of "experts" to decide behind closed doors who gets treatment and who does not.|
There. I think I framed that fairly balanced. Almost as good as a "professional journalist" would do it.
Seriously though, the general mood of the public is against the federal government moving in to take control over ANYTHING, especially their health care. The passion, the logic, and--so far--the public relations have been on our side. And now that the President has gone on vacation, the battle should be over, right?
Don't believe it.
In the first place, you have a number of liberals starting to come out and say that they will vote for this bill regardless of what the people or even their constituents say about it. And, of course, thanks to the ineffectiveness of the GOP for the last four years, the liberals can pass this any time and place that they want to. They have the votes.
But, more importantly, they still have a PR tool to play, and you started to see the President weild it last week. That is the line, which the media are so happy to replay, that the opponents of this bill simply want to "do nothing and maintain the status quo." Being protrayed as a "do-nothing obstructionist" has never been a launching pad for a successful political campaign.
So our side has to be ready to counter. In fact, we should go on the offensive from a policy perspective (now there's a novel idea!). Every single Republican/Independent (or Independence Party member : ) ) who goes in front of a camera should say ten times "tort reform" and "interstate competition." They should be armed with facts, like how many cents out of every dollar spent on health care ends up in the pocket of a lawyer. They should have anecdotal evidence of how stupid the system is right now: for instance, when we took my son to the doctor to have his "nursemaid's elbow" (dislocation) fixed, it cost our insurance company over $400 for the doctor to pull on his arm and give it a little twist. It took all of 25 seconds. If we hadn't had insurance, that might have only cost $115 (which is still too much, but . . . ) but the doctor had to bill the insurance so much to get the right amount on repayment. And if we had been illegal immigrants, that same tug would have only cost medicair about $60 (I'm just guessing--somebody who actually does this for a living should look that up . . . .LIKE A CONGRESSIONAL STAFF MEMBER or something). The point is that the system is stupid, and that's what's costing so much. They are a number of ways to bring down costs while leaving everybody with exactly the same coverage that they have now. And then we can begin to talk about how to cover the other CITIZENS of this country in a way that doesn't destroy our way of life or our budget.
The point is that we need now to have solutions, not just opposition. Let's see just how willing the President is to "change the tone." Let's make him actually come to the table with more than just platitudes.
|First, before you watch any other coverage of today's town hall in Grand Junction, read this page of the Grand Junction Sentinel. Note not a single--not ONE--story about counterprotests or supporters of the President or anything remotely complimentary to the health care reform--excuse me. . . health insurance reform . . . --in the whole town of Grand Junction on the day leading up to the townhall.|
I'm going to make two bets for this afternoon. One, that the crowd "chosen by lottery" to be in the gym at Grand Junction Central H.S. will be reamarkably friendly to the President, given the early indications, and that the questions "which will not be prescreened" will manage to break just slightly more than half in favor of the reform bill. And two, that REGARDLESS of what actually happens, the Denver media will manage to portray it in exactly the manner I described above.
I just realized this week what the next front of this battle conservatives have to open up is going
to be: the media. We've never gotten either the amount of coverage, or the unbalanced nature of the coverage that we've been getting over the last couple weeks--we need to take advantage of that!! First, insist on being live on television: DO NOT allow the "professional journalists" to edit what you're saying. Second, when somebody walks around behind you carrying a sign with a swastika on it, identify them as an SEIU employee and a supporter of the President ON TV. And third, be clear and concise in saying that the President's bill is a boondoggle and that the free market reforms that might actually work have been shut out of the process by Pelosi and Reid, and if the media would bother to notice they might recognize non-bipartisanship as its being practiced. If you need a primer, check out the Independence Institute's informational film on the bill being proposed. And if you haven't been cut off by then, make sure you ask the reporter or the producer behind the camera why the media hasn't bothered to show the pictures of the busloads of Obama supporters being brought in by the unions. Try to emphasize that the real "astroturf" is the one being bought and paid for by millions of union, corporate and pharmaceutical dollars. Oh, and by the way, if you can, make sure that somebody from our side is nearby videotaping the whole exchange.
The media coverup of this is at least as scandalous as the outright lies and arrogance of the Democrats. As we learned with Dan Rather, they will only back down when publicly confronted with factual representations of their malfeasance.
|Sun Tzu wrote about the importance of picking where you want to fight, if you have to. The Left has learned that lesson well.|
Learning that they have no control over town hall-style meetings (even when it's not intended as a town hall but a series of one-on-ones, as Reps. Perlmutter and Polis tried in the past couple days), the Left has decided to change the parameters of the debate.
[by the way, this "intel" is because I signed up way back when to get emails from the Obama campaign: every once in a while it pays off]
Insurance companies and partisan attack groups are stirring up fear with false rumors about the President's plan . . .
So we've cooked up an easy, powerful way for you to make a big impression: Office Visits for Health Reform . . .
We'll provide everything you need: the address, phone number, and open hours for the office, information about how the health care crisis affects your state for you to drop off (with the option of adding your personal story), and a step-by-step guide for your visit . . .
Across the country, members of Congress who support reform are being shouted down, physically assaulted, hung in effigy, and receiving death threats. We can't let extremists hijack this debate, or confuse Congress about where the people stand.
This is an interesting tactic which plays into the Left's hands on a number of levels. First, it puts the debate on private property, which lets the CongressCritter control who gets access. Second, it insulates the CC from having to field questions they don't want. Third, it shields the actual interaction from the eyes of the public. In other words, the CC can say 4 million of their constituents showed up in support, and LOOK! how many of them dropped off flyers!
And fourth, it eliminates the spectacle of a busload of supporters being dropped off to counter-protest . . . paid for by the SEIU. If you have to disguise the origins of your own support, then what better way to do it than by controlling the battlefield?
The Left is, I think, genuinely surprised by the resurgence of political passion from the Conservatives, and it scares the Hell out of them. Even the backing of George Soros' billions, and $150 million from the pharmaceutical companies, plus the unwavering and violent support of the SEIU and AARP (in what crazy world do these groups not count as "well-funded special interest groups??!?!) can't shield them entirely from a genuine grassroots movement. Perlmutter has announced only one townhall to date, and I wouldn't expect any more--he can accomplish his propoganda purposes from the comfort of his district offices. Sure, it's cowardly, but that's no surprise.
So, does Sun Tzu have any advice that Conservatives can heed? Surprise. Time to change the tactic--or use the old as a disguise--to create the public spectacle that the Left so desperately wants to avoid. To break through into the news media will require something extraordinary, and it has to be done "inside the OODA loop," as the soldiers say. What would that be?
Well, now, it wouldn't be much of a surprise if I announced it here, now would it?
Actually, I got nothin'. But I do know that we need something . . .maybe that counts, eh?
|Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) is holding a town hall meeting tomorrow at 8 am at a grocery store in Brighton. I cannot attend, but if somebody out there is planning on going, could you please try to slip in this question:|
The last bill that was rushed through so fast that the Congress didn't have time to read it was supposed to prevent unemployment from reaching 9 percent--we've now spent two months with the unemployment rate uncomfortably higher than 9 percent. How, given that track record, can Congress be trusted to create a health care system that will keep costs down, improve care, and widen access with this bill, which is also being rushed through at breakneck speed?
Thanks. And be sure you're in good voice tomorrow, because I fully expect "Easy Ed" will have somebody ready to shut the microphone off right after you've started talking.
|Before I dive into the meat of this post, do a little thought experiment for yourself. What would the reaction have been if, in 2002, the Bush administration had asked American citizens to log on to a White House website to report any activity by anybody appearing Muslim that seemed "fishy"? Just think about that for a moment.|
Now . . .
Remember, oh, about six years ago, when everybody on the Left was screaming "open debate" and "don't rush into this" and "they're trying to stifle opposition"? Remember that? I do.
Of course, the topic at the time was the invasion of Iraq, and the slowest punch in the history of armed conflict actually took about six months to get thrown, and the result was that the Iraqi army had a chance to plan and to blend itself into the landscape and to build an insurgency strategy that bottled up the U.S. military for years.
And now that the Obama administration and its allies in Congress are trying to take over another one-sixth (don't forget that they already own banks, a few car companies, and an insurance company or two) of the U.S. economy, all in the course of about a week and a half, it seems stunned--SHOCKED!--that there are a few brave Americans who are willing to stand up and say "whoa!" Which leads to the lovely spectacle of the administration's mouthpieces describing the opposition as "fringe", as "well-paid professional protesters", as "tools of corporations" and so on.
What we can't defeat in open debate, we'll silence through rhetorical marginalization.
[all video courtesy of Powerline and YouTube]Turns out that that strategy isn't really doing the job very well, either. So, the administration's allies have actually resorted to clear, obvious intimidation (as seen here--note the gentleman at the 1:00 mark asking to take pictures and then refer back to the question I started this post with) without so much as a self-aware "ahem." And when that doesn't quite do the trick, they resort to open violence (as seen here).
I'm not sure if "irony" is quite the right word to describe two goons getting picked up for hitting a guy while wearing their SEIU t-shirts, all on the same week that the political hacks at Justice decided to drop a case that they'd already won against two guys wearing Black Panther gear carrying nightsticks outside a polling place last November. "Irony" comes close, but doesn't quite make it.
If the Left--the very well-funded, organized, FRINGE Left--is already starting to feel their victory slipping so badly that they have to resort to this, exactly what do you think they're going to be willing to do in the next few weeks as this gets further and further our of their control? The Left has never, in the last forty-five years, had to deal with organized, vocal opposition that takes its case directly in their face; do you have any expectation that they'll handle the situation with class and the Marquis of Queensbury rules? I don't.
Which brings me back to my original question. Of course, the above scenario never played out in real life. No, no, those sort of McCarthy-esque Nixon-esque tactics had to wait for their moment in the White House under Barack Obama. And, of course, in typical Leftist fashion, they're not asking for anything so trivial as a national security tip; no, no, they're just asking for information about people who oppose health care reform. Leave it to the Left to maintain perspective.
This is getting scarier by the moment. Rep. Ed Perlmutter has a town hall tomorrow morning in Brighton, CO--I wonder if he'll have union bodyguards waiting to keep out protesters.
But what interests me most is whether or not the kind of behavior we're already seeing around the country gets duplicated in Brighton, and--MORE IMPORTANTLY--whether the "professional journalists" decide it's important enough to make it on the evening news. Because the Denver press got several stories out of the so-called "Denver Three"--three individuals who were politely asked to leave a Pres. Bush townhall meeting--so I would expect them to get several stories out of the ACTUAL supression of free speech and potential for violence that is possible tomorrow.
HA HA HA. I actually typed that with a straight face! Whew . . . actually, I expect the press to bury any and all references to violence and to protests and to opposition to health care reform because that would go against their dominant paradigm. The "professional journalist" class has sunk so far from its role of watchdog and honest arbiter that it can't be trusted with any information.
If it could be, it would probably bother to report information like this from England. Note the conclusion in particular:
We cannot afford all that we can do so healthcare will have to be rationed further. We can do this by price, by availability, or by time. Patients can be charged for some services that are currently free; some elective and non-catastrophic services may have to be excluded from the core set of NHS interventions; or people will again have to get used to waiting a long time.
And this is the system the Left wants us to rush headlong towards without even reading the actual bill.