New ObamaCare talking points: Forget previous talking points

Some liberal groups are finally acknowledging the obvious: Hardly anyone believed their claims that ObamaCare would “bend the cost curve downward” and help balance the federal budget.

The public rejection of the claims may not be news, but the left’s acknowledgment of this defeat does qualify as a scoop — and Politico’s Ben Smith is the one who got it:

Key White House allies are dramatically shifting their attempts to defend health care legislation, abandoning claims that it will reduce costs and the deficit and instead stressing a promise to “improve it.”

The messaging shift was circulated this afternoon on a conference call and PowerPoint presentation organized by Families USA — one of the central groups in the push for the initial legislation. The call was led by a staffer for the Herndon Alliance, which includes leading labor groups and other health care allies. It was based on polling from three top Democratic pollsters, John Anzalone, Celinda Lake and Stan Greenberg

The confidential presentation, available in full here and provided to POLITICO by a source on the call, suggests that Democrats are acknowledging the failure of their predictions that the health care legislation would grow more popular after its passage, as its benefits became clear and rhetoric cooled. Instead, the presentation is designed to win over a skeptical public and to defend the legislation — and in particular the individual mandate — from a push for repeal.

The presentation concedes that groups typically supportive of Democratic causes — people under 40, non-college-educated women and Hispanic voters — have not been won over by the plan. Indeed, it stresses repeatedly, many are unaware that the legislation has passed, an astonishing shortcoming in the White House’s all-out communications effort.

“Straightforward ‘policy’ defenses fail to [move] voters’ opinions about the law,” reads one slide. “Women in particular are concerned that health care law will mean less provider availability — scarcity an issue.”

The presentation also concedes that the fiscal and economic arguments that were the White House’s first and most aggressive sales pitch have essentially failed.

“Many don’t believe health care reform will help the economy,” reads another slide.

The presentation’s final page of “Don’ts” counsels against claiming “the law will reduce costs and [the] deficit.”

So, what do the pollsters and advisers recommend? That Democrats and their fellow travelers focus instead on personal stories like greedy doctors who needlessly remove kids’ tonsils — er, I mean, greedy doctors who amputate diabetics’ feet instead of telling them to modify their diets — er, I mean, well, Smith reports the advice here:

“People can be moved from initial skepticism and support for repeal of the law to favorable feelings and resisting repeal,” it says. “Use personal stories — coupled with clear, simple descriptions of how the law benefits people at the individual level — to convey critical benefits of reform.”

And, finally, they recommend telling the public that the law may not be that great, but don’t worry — the great ObamaCare debate of 2009-10 was just a prelude to our efforts to truly fix health care:

“Keep claims small and credible; don’t overpromise or ’spin’ what the law delivers,” it says, suggesting supporters say, “The law is not perfect, but it does good things and helps many people. Now we’ll work to improve it.”

How about this for a tagline: “We had to pass the bill so that we could find out what needed fixing in it.”

(H/t: Hot Air)

289 comments Add your comment

josef nix

August 19th, 2010
6:38 pm

Ooooh! Slide #17–is that the ghost of Rosemary Woods we hear…?

Seriously, though, and I am in support of free, universal, health care, the whole megillah was just one more show the devil in the details now coming home…

md

August 19th, 2010
6:46 pm

It was never about what was in the bill, it was about getting something – anything – on the books while they could cram it through.

Much easier to try to make Frankenstein look pretty than to start from scratch.

RW-(the original)

August 19th, 2010
6:53 pm

I can’t wait to see how many new government agencies grow out of the “improvement” efforts to this pig.

md,

Way before the bill passed SNL had a skit showing Biden with a stack of paper saying something like, we don’t even care if all the pages are blank just as long as the cover said health care reform.

md

August 19th, 2010
6:54 pm

Here’s one they can use:

Ain’t it great that you make 90k a year and don’t qualify for subsidies, but don’t you worry, maybe you can convince your neighbor who makes 88k to share the boat he is going to buy with the subsidy money you are giving him.

md

August 19th, 2010
6:55 pm

RW,

And so many blind to the game……………

Hillbilly Deluxe

August 19th, 2010
6:57 pm

It was never about what was in the bill, it was about getting something – anything – on the books while they could cram it through.

I would agree with that. I don’t think this bill pleased anybody but the insurance companies, as they will reap the benefits. “Everybody” will have to be covered now, so they can raise the rates on everybody but in reality, people who couldn’t afford coverage before, still won’t be able to afford it. Oh, they’ll have a program to pay for those at the bottom of the economic sector but there will be many who make too much to qualify but not enough to afford coverage. They’ll get caught in the squeeze like they always do. The real problem is health care costs and this does nothing to address that.

So my prediction (as it has been all along) is that nothing much will change and in the next year or two we’ll be reading about record insurance company profits. They played the system like a cheap violin, pretending they were against it, knowing all along how much they would benefit from it.

If Obama really believed in this, instead of handing it off to Pelosi and Reid, he should have submitted his own gill and taken to the bully pulpit to convince America, why his bill was the way to go. He wanted to have his cake and eat it too and wound up with a stale twinkie.

Hillbilly Deluxe

August 19th, 2010
6:58 pm

*submitted his own bill

saywhat?

August 19th, 2010
6:59 pm

Its much easier to make Frankenstein look pretty (not to mention useful) if you at least have a Frankenstein to work with. “Starting from scratch” was how Frankenstein was created in the first place. Even Frankenstein is better than the 10 Draculas and 20 Wolfmen we had before.

I too would prefer a “Medicare for all” plan over what we have. It will be the next step, someday.

Don't forget

August 19th, 2010
6:59 pm

Republicans Block Bill to Aid Small BusinessBy DAVID M. HERSZENHORN
WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans on Thursday rejected a bill to aid small businesses with expanded loan programs and tax breaks, in a procedural blockade that underscored how fiercely determined the party’s leaders are to deny Democrats any further legislative accomplishments ahead of November’s midterm elections.

The measure, championed by Senator Mary L. Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, had the backing of some of the Republican Party’s most reliable business allies, including the United States Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business. Several Republican lawmakers also helped write it.

But Republican leaders filibustered after fighting for days with Democrats over the number of amendments they would be able to offer. A last-ditch offer by Democrats to allow three was refused by the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

PATHETIC!

RW-(the original)

August 19th, 2010
7:00 pm

Hillbilly D,

I bet if you could do an archeological analysis on this bill most of it predates either Reid or Pelosi

Real Scooter

August 19th, 2010
7:01 pm

Much easier to try to make Frankenstein look pretty than to start from scratch.

Good one md!

I hear ya RW!

RW-(the original)

August 19th, 2010
7:02 pm

I liked it better as gill. A fish out of water kind of thing.

Claude

August 19th, 2010
7:03 pm

People who are unaware that the legislation passed would be the perfect target market. It’s a lot harder to persuade people who pay attention.

Southern Comfort

August 19th, 2010
7:04 pm

Did anybody really expect Congress to do something of substance?

RW-(the original)

August 19th, 2010
7:06 pm

Real Scooter,

Paul the Thread Killer was complaining about people nicknamed Scooter the other day. I tried to remind him you couldn’t swing a dead keyboard around here without hitting one or two, but then he had my thread shut down.

Hillbilly Deluxe

August 19th, 2010
7:06 pm

RW @ 7:00

Were I a gambling man, I’d bet on that. I wonder if Congress lets the lobbyists write the bills like the Legislature has been known to do in the past.

josef nix

August 19th, 2010
7:09 pm

md

“Much easier to try to make Frankenstein look pretty than to start from scratch.”

I don’t care who you are, thass funny!

Hillbilly Deluxe

August 19th, 2010
7:11 pm

I wonder if it would have taken me 18 minutes to read Slide 17?

(Obscure Rosemary Woods reference) :lol:

RW-(the original)

August 19th, 2010
7:11 pm

SoCo,

It’s got plenty of substance. Much of it is like substance you scrape off your shoes, but substance nonetheless. There’s part of it that makes every business in the country file a 1099 for any company they did more than $600.00 worth of business in a year and because they claimed that the provision would net them x number of billions from tax cheating they can’t change it without coming up with this entirely made up number of dollars.

Real Scooter

August 19th, 2010
7:13 pm

RW,

Yeah,I know! I was there and posted my opinion but got moderated. WTF

Southern Comfort

August 19th, 2010
7:13 pm

RW

Maybe I should have specified good substance. We all know Congress is full of manure. I’ve learned to expect jack@ss level of work from jack@ss legislators. :)

josef nix

August 19th, 2010
7:14 pm

hillbilly
@ 6:57

Well said (and with a bunch of good one-liners, you’re on a roll!). Just follow the money…

md

August 19th, 2010
7:14 pm

“I bet if you could do an archeological analysis on this bill most of it predates either Reid or Pelosi”

Can probably say the same for the stimulus bill. They cleaned out the desk drawers and blew off the dust of every rider never passed.

AmVet

August 19th, 2010
7:15 pm

This is what happens when the only voices allowed are those of the corporations who stand to profit no matter how the consumer gets screwed.

Baucus would allow NO alternative voices to be be present at those meetings. He ensured that Single Payer, for example, never even got a chance.

Throw in the Do Nothing GOP and voila, this is what we get.

A corruption protection racket…

md

August 19th, 2010
7:18 pm

“Even Frankenstein is better than the 10 Draculas and 20 Wolfmen we had before.”

From where I am sitting, they are all still monsters…………….

josef nix

August 19th, 2010
7:19 pm

Hillbilly
I bet it said, “and make sure you point out that we are not crooks…”

saywhat?

August 19th, 2010
7:19 pm

Amvet at 7:15- ding ding ding- we have a winner!

md

August 19th, 2010
7:22 pm

“This is what happens when the only voices allowed are those of the corporations who stand to profit no matter how the consumer gets screwed.”

I have an idea – let’s put it on cspan and post it for the public ahead of time so they can’t screw us…….wow, I just had a bout of deju vue.

Real Scooter

August 19th, 2010
7:25 pm

Dang! Everyone sure is agreeable this evening. :grin:

I kinda miss the fireworks!

Good eve all!!!

Hillbilly Deluxe

August 19th, 2010
7:26 pm

let’s put it on cspan and post it for the public ahead of time

Now where have I heard that before? ;-)

And by the way, thanks to Kyle for euthanizing that horse downstairs.

AmVet

August 19th, 2010
7:27 pm

I forgot to mention that often the lobbyists for these corporations actually write much of the legislation that gets passed.

Convenient huh?

Welcome to the United States of America! A wholly owned subsidiary of the New York Stock Exchange.

CJ

August 19th, 2010
7:27 pm

The confidential presentation, available in full here and provided to POLITICO by a source on the call, suggests that Democrats are acknowledging the failure of their predictions that the health care legislation would grow more popular after its passage,…

No, the presentation doesn’t suggest anything of the sort.

The premise of this article (and Kyle’s post) is, not surprisingly, entirely false. If the folks as Politico (or Kyle) would do a little research, they’d find plenty of independent research showing that health care legislation has become more popular since its passage. The plurality of voters, if not the majority, don’t want to see it repealed, do want to give more of its benefits a chance to kick in, and do want to build on it. (As evidence, observe that Republican politicians are running on hating minorities again and are no longer running on repealing the Affordable Care Act.)

It should also be pointed out, that despite Kyle’s spin, there’s nothing in this presentation that says the the Affordable Care Act “may not be great”, “needed fixing”, or anything to that effect. It does claim that the legislation isn’t perfect, but seeking to build on good legislation isn’t the same as fixing bad legislation.

In addition, with regard to focus group testing, Kyle likes to pretend that Newt Gingrich’s word list never existed (Gingrich still refers to it often), that GOP pollster and messaging coordinator Frank “call it a bailout” Luntz was never born, and that Republicans don’t do focus group testing (in truth, that’s about the only thing they do). Unfortunately for him, pretending doesn’t make it so.

I suggest that readers actually click on the link and view the slide show. It’s actually relatively benign and, for those who aren’t familiar with the legislation, informative.

josef nix

August 19th, 2010
7:27 pm

Let’s see…the monster was the creation of Dr. Frankenstein who was based on Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel and his golem which was based on Psalm 139…oh, no! Obama is not a closet Muslim…he’s a closet Jew!

Real Scooter

August 19th, 2010
7:32 pm

Welcome to the United States of America! A wholly owned subsidiary of the New York Stock Exchange.

You are going to be awarded a medal for that one AmVet!

md

August 19th, 2010
7:32 pm

“Obama is not a closet Muslim…he’s a closet Jew!”

Well…..he does have a substantial bank account…………

RW-(the original)

August 19th, 2010
7:34 pm

If the horse has been euthanized can we start flogging it?

It’s all a Zionist conspiracy anyway dontchaknow

josef nix

August 19th, 2010
7:36 pm

md

And he’s a lawyer!

RW-(the original)

August 19th, 2010
7:37 pm

Grand Forks

August 19th, 2010
7:39 pm

Dern Kyle, you’ve been handed the Kookman clowns who’ve taken up residence on your blog.

josef nix

August 19th, 2010
7:40 pm

RW
@ 7:34

A wiley lot, them Jews…

Grand Forks

August 19th, 2010
7:40 pm

“This is what happens when the only voices allowed are those of the corporations who stand to profit no matter how the consumer gets screwed.”

Spoken like a true commie bed wetter.

Grand Forks

August 19th, 2010
7:41 pm

“Seriously, though, and I am in support of free, universal, health care, the whole megillah was just one more show the devil in the details now coming home…”

Dumber words have never been spoken.

josef nix

August 19th, 2010
7:41 pm

GF

“Isn’t it rich? Aren’t we a pair…?”

Grand Forks

August 19th, 2010
7:42 pm

“Republicans Block Bill to Aid Small Business”

Uh huh. See you in November, ma’am.

Grand Forks

August 19th, 2010
7:42 pm

““Isn’t it rich? Aren’t we a pair…?””

Pair of what?

josef nix

August 19th, 2010
7:42 pm

GF

What can I say? I get that dumber words from you all the time…I must be really good to be able to top even myself on so regular a basis!

josef nix

August 19th, 2010
7:43 pm

GF
Clowns, Bozo…

Grand Forks

August 19th, 2010
7:43 pm

“Welcome to the United States of America! A wholly owned subsidiary of the New York Stock Exchange.’

Sell your Infiniti, ma’am. You always rant about evil corporations yet you drive high end cars. Retard much?

Grand Forks

August 19th, 2010
7:44 pm

“Clowns, Bozo…”

Yes, Obama is a clown. Thanks for clarifying.

Hillbilly Deluxe

August 19th, 2010
7:45 pm

I must be really good to be able to top even myself on so regular a basis!

You’re not satisfied where you are and keep striving for new heights. A good trait. :lol: