Before insulting “bitter and clingy” Americans who oppose the health care scam Obama is pushing (“They are too irrational and, let’s face it, too ignorant”) Katha Pollitt at that Temple of Obama Love called The Nation magazine says something uncharacteristically sensible:
You see, I long to dash forward, flaming sword in hand, to champion President Obama’s healthcare plan. Every day I get e-mails from Health Care for America Now, Organizing for America, MoveOn.org and similar groups urging me to write my Congressman, attend a town-hall meeting, host a gathering. But how can I speak knowledgeably about a plan that does not yet exist and in which the parameters keep shifting?
Pollitt yearns for an army of Barack Obama Thugs (hereinafter, B.O.T.s) “who swarmed the country less than a year ago” to forgo their infatuation with “Obama’s charisma” and go to town halls as organized groups to confront what she surmises, incorrectly, as the fake anger of “ignorant” people allegedly organized by right wing groups.
We’ll forgo comment on the hypocrisy of the Dimocratic Left calling forth non-existent armies to organize and battle what they deride as “astroturf” efforts. We will however discuss the “astroturf”.
What is “astroturf” in the political lobbying sense?
Unlike genuine grassroots activism which tends to be money-poor but people-rich, astroturf campaigns are typically people-poor but cash-rich. Funded heavily by corporate largesse, they use sophisticated computer databases, telephone banks and hired organizers to rope less-informed activists into sending letters to their elected officials or engaging in other actions that create the appearance of grassroots support for their client’s cause.
[Hypocrisy Alert: Bob Beckel (Barack Obama Thug pretending to be disinterested commentator during the primaries) the "liberal" commentator on Fox News attacks the "mobs" protesting the Obama health care scam as "astroturf". Beckel admits he was an "astroturf" operative but he leaves out one of the crowning achievements of his firm's astroturfing.
"Astroturf techniques have been used to:
[snip] defeat the Clinton administration’s proposed health care reform, through a front group called “Rx Partners” created by the Beckel Cowan PR firm, and the Coalition for Health Insurance Choices, created by public relations consultant Blair Childs.”]
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The pro-Obama, cash-rich, people-poor, Hopium addled B.O.T.s do not care that they are pushing something they don’t know the contents of. Barack Obama and the B.O.T.s are back to lying and fear-mongering. Obama says:
“Now is the hard part — because the history is clear — every time we come close to passing health insurance reform, the special interests fight back with everything they’ve got,” Obama told a town hall in Portsmouth, N.H., on Tuesday. “They use their influence. They use their political allies to scare and mislead the American people. They start running ads. This is what they always do.”
Obama lied and fear-mongered during the campaign about Hillary and even about John McCain’s health care plan. This Obama batch of lies was debunked by FactCheck:
These claims are false, and based on a single newspaper report that says no such thing. McCain’s policy director states unequivocally that no benefit cuts are envisioned. McCain does propose substantial “savings” through such means as cutting fraud, increased use of information technology in medicine and better handling of expensive chronic diseases. Obama himself proposes some of the same cost-saving measures. We’re skeptical that either candidate can deliver the savings they promise, but that’s no basis for Obama to accuse McCain of planning huge benefit cuts.
Now the astroturf B.O.T.s and the Death-Eaters are back with more lies and fear-mongering:
A new coalition on Thursday launched $12 million in television ads to support President Barack Obama’s health reform plan, in the opening wave of a planned tens of millions of dollars this fall.
The new group, funded largely by the pharmaceutical industry, is called Americans for Stable Quality Care. It includes some odd bedfellows: the American Medical Association, FamiliesUSA, the Federation of American Hospitals, PhRMA and SEIU, the service employees’ union. [snip]
The group is likely to be the biggest spender in support of health reform. The campaign will serve as a counterweight to the critics at town meetings, which are getting saturation news coverage while Congress is out of town.
In a reversal from former President Bill Clinton’s 1993-94 health care debacle, the group’s campaign is likely to mean that White House supporters keep the upper hand on the airwaves.
Bill Clinton’s genuine health care reform plans Put People First so Big Pharma and Big Insurance fought with astroturf campaigns. Barack Obama Is The Enemy Of Health Care Reform so the Death-Eaters will support him with cash-rich, people-poor, advertising wars:
PhRMA’s participation is key, because the group has promised to kick in as much as $150 million for advertising and grass-roots activity to help pass the president’s plan.
“Grass-roots activity” in this case means astroturf.
An astroturf “soothing male narrator” parrots poll tested, public opinion manipulating lines:
“What DOES health insurance reform mean for you? It means you can’t be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition or dropped if you get sick. It means putting health care decisions in the hands of you and your doctor. It means lower costs, a cap on out-of-pocket expenses, tough new rules to cut waste and red tape and a focus on PREVENTING illness before it strikes. So what does health insurance reform really mean? Quality, affordable care you can count on.”
The official provides a little more back story: “These groups were part of a looser coalition that started back in January that focused on the links between health reform and the economy. Now that the debate is turning on what health reform means for the individual, they felt the need to launch a new front that addresses some of those particulars while debunking some of the myths that are floating around. Plus, these groups recognize that their collective voice packs more punch than if they were to just speak out individually.”
The ad was made by GMMB, which was a lead agency for Obama for America. Partners include Frank Greer and Jim Margolis.
The ads do not state that there is no actual plan. The ads do not state that there is no actual plan nor is there a dollar figure for how much the cost will be for someone with a pre-existing condition. It’s quite possible that a plan will emerge that provides access but with such high cost the insurance is simply not there.
Americans could find themselves in a cash for clunkers program that serves money monthly to companies that provide zero services.
Perhaps a plan will emerge that will do all sorts of wonderful things like cut administrative and medical costs down to pennies a year and provide every American with plans worth multi-millions of dollars with Hollywood spa-like hospitals, as well as bring century long health to all Americans along with lovely skin, strength, stamina, bright smiles, silken John Edwards hair, swimmer/gymnast builds, eat-what-you-will-diets without weight gain, and an end to disease and pain – all with lower taxes and a vanished debt and surpluses instead of deficits.
For now, Americans wait and watch and attend town halls – in righteous anger and distrustful vigilance.