Wednesday, August 05, 2009


* Last week, Congressman Anthony Weiner tried to highlight the contradictions in right-wing thinking on health care by introducing an amendment to abolish Medicare. No Republican voted for it, and that was the end of that. It occurs to me that Weiner went about this the wrong way. What if he had introduced something with a title like "The Ban Socialized Medicine Act," possibly as a short, sweet, pithy one-paragraph amendment to the Constitution abolishing all "socialized" health care for non-government employees -- with no specific mention whatsoever of Medicare? What if he'd tried to spread about this among right-wing activists and on right-wing Web sites? Is it possible he'd had gotten some of the crazies to rise to the bait -- and then he could have pulled the trigger and explained that the bill actually would abolish Medicare? Could one of us do this? Write a real constitutional amendment, set up an organization and a Web site, urge members of Congress and state and local officeholders to support it? How many pols and teabaggers could we get to sign on before we explained what the amendment meant?

* Is it cynical to say that Democrats who run town halls right now should make an effort to put actual victims of the current health-care system up behind the lectern with them -- especially those whose medical conditions are (to be blunt) visible? People in wheelchairs, say, or who are bald from cancer treatments? Do the teabaggers really want to videotape themselves calling someone with an obvious life-threatening condition a filthy socialist? And if the answer is yes (I think it is), how does that help them?

* When Democrats say that the town-hall disrupters are dangerous thuggish mobs and that they're working from orders issued by Republicans and corporate lobbyists, does that come off to the public as contradictory? Does one side of that message undermine the other? The characterization may be accurate, but do ordinary citizens have trouble associating mob rule with right-wing guys in suits? Does this fail to jibe with archetypes most Americans have had ingrained in them over the years about who's a force for order in this society and who's a force for chaos?

Though I agree with Kevin that this is a really good ad -- it does a great job of sending both messages simultaneously:

Now, is there any reason to hope that the public will actually see this ad? Will it actually air anywhere, or is it just one of those ads the parties regularly generate and then just dump on the Internet, hoping for no more than a few links from sympathetic news sites and blogs?

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