In the previous post, I document the tactics that the Obama administration is using, basically lying to the American people, to advance their disastrous health care reform bill, which has deftly shifted to health insurance reform.
That shift is not by accident. That shift is focus group tested. Why? Basically the reason is that most Americans are satisfied with the health care plans they have, and don’t want Obama or the government to mess it up, hence the angry citizens at town hall meetings trying to defend and protect what they have and to voice their objection to the whole socialist v private sector war that the administration is waging.
So, they need a better boogeyman to demonize, the insurance companies. Ahhh yes, that’s it, BIG INSURANCE. Who hasn’t had a bad experience of some sort with an insurance carrier at some time in their life? By shifting to this second ‘front’ in their ‘campaign,’ they hope to, and probably will, fool more people into thinking that Obama feels their pain and he is going to make it better. Fact is, the dumb masses out there won’t even notice this shift in strategy. You can depend on the media ignoring it as well.
Dutifully carrying the water for the administration’s bogus claim that that these protesters are astroturf and organized by BIG INSURANCE, and at the same time ignoring the truly organized effort to quell dissent, another paragraph on page 2 of their playbook is, don’t respond to the objections specifically, instead, paint them as evil agents of BIG INSURANCE.
The media won’t mention this union backed and union organized effort. To wit . . .
Our response is shaped by 3 things:
- Our targets are Members of Congress who must vote “yes” for this bill. Our targets are not the rightwing extremists. The targets of these attacks are Members of Congress. Those Members are also our targets.
We need to use these attacks as opportunities to work with the Members in ways that build our relationship in the field and bring us together as allies in health care reform. Members may be more receptive to partnering
with us if they know we will help them combat the opposition.
- Our core message is effective, and we should always come back to it. Our campaign plan has always anticipated opposition. No matter what the right-wingers bring up to distract the debate, we should always circle back to our key message. We are on the side of quality, affordable health care for everyone, and we are against turning over health care reform to the insurance companies and lobbyists who got us into this mess to begin with. We need to educate the press and the public that the protesters are aligned with the corporate lobbyists and insurance companies who are trying to stop reform.
- Our ability to put the extremists into perspective helps us frame our narrative. We should be prepared to respond to the other side, but we don’t need to be reactive or feel pressure to answer their accusations point by point. Instead, we should treat them as agents of the insurance lobbyists who want to maintain the status quo. We can dismiss their radical rhetoric by circling back to the basic things that we know most people care about— affordability, access, and quality.
In many cases, protestors will show up at events or meetings you don’t organize but are participating in as an attendee or sponsor. You can still influence the outcome of these events or meetings, and it’s important for HCAN organizers and leaders to be ready to encounter these protesters in order to make sure that our volunteers and activists respond appropriately as well as capitalize on opportunities to also move our message, work with Members, and educate the public.
related link: The AFL-CIO and HCAN Plan Townhall Counterattack