Wednesday, April 02, 2014


I love this Politico headline:

I've been less excited than a lot of lefties about the signup surge, because I've assumed that the media's national narrative on the health care law would just continue to be driven by Republicans, but I've been pleasantly surprised at this week's press -- Democrats actually seem to have changed the Obamacare story. It's now a triumph-over-adversity story, a story about the administration solving problems and achieving a goal.

I still think America's political press is wired for Republicans, and I still think Republicans are better as messaging (except during presidential campaigns) -- but all of a sudden this is feeling like 2012, when the story the Obama campaign told (about Republican economics, about GOP puritanism on birth control, and so on) not only broke through but became the electorate's narrative.

The narrative now seems to be that, whatever you think of the health care law, the administration got its signups, and got them after fixing a non-function website and making up for time lost when the site didn't work. It's a compelling story because who in the news does anything right these days? We can't fix the economy. We can't stop Putin. We can't halt the bloodshed in Syria. We can't find the damn plane. By contrast, the White House righted this ship and got it to its destination on time.

The story didn't change just because the signup process started to work. The story changed because the administration was persistent in putting out a positive message, which was then backed up with action. The messaging persistence was as necessary as the repair of the signup process.

Maybe this will carry through to November. Maybe Democrats really can change the narrative on other issues, as if this were a presidential election year. Hard to know, but I'm more optimistic.


And yes, I always thought the correct spelling was "hummina, hummina, hummina." (Update from comments: "Weirdly, Politico has changed its headline to 'Homina, homina, homina.'")


Boudica said...

It's humina humina humina

marieburns said...

Weirdly, Politico has changed its headline to "Homina, homina, homina." (Think Jackie Gleason.)

Victor said...

And hopefully, our troops will be out of Afghanistan this year, so the President and the Democratic Party can finally say that
"W's Follies" are finally concluded.

RoadScholar said...

Ben Shapiro omitted "lost minds," for which he is apparently the Poster Boy.

Anonymous said...

Zero. March was the first month in a decade to suffer no troop casualties. Surely that is as beautiful a number as 7 million signed up for Obamacare.

Dark Avenger said...

It's the strategy first proposed by a U.S. senator: "Declare victory and leave."

aimai said...

I thought they were making a bad pun

"[Ad} homina, [ad] homina, [ad] homina."

I don't actually think the narrative "triumph over adversity" matters at all to future coverage. I think this is more like an invasion and a settlement--"facts on the ground." Basically the Republicans as a party convinced their voters that the law was so fatally flawed and so destructive that no one in their right mind would sign up for it. 7 Million facts on the ground later it is harder to make that argument to the base, even the innumerate base. And for sure its hard to unwind the vise like grip that those 7 million have on their health care policies at this point.

Furthermore the old catastrophic policies have been cancelled--technically almost everyone who enrolls in any insurance police, employer sponsored or through the exchanges on the individual market--is now going to be accustomed to receiving the benefits of Ocare. Its true that people are often quite confused about what they are entitled to under their policies until they have to access them. But the beauty of Ocare is that the the more you use the benefits the more aware of them you are and the more shocked even employer based people would be to find the regulatory floor knocked out from under them.

This is more like an avanlanche situation where the Republican party and the media felt confident pooh poohing the first small bits of shale flying by the window but at a certain point you hit a phase change and the thing goes from being a distant possibility to rolling down the mountain in an enormous, unstoppable force.