Monday, June 1, 2009

The Big Picture and The Strike: Health Care Polling Data

The Strike: Check out this polling data from CNN. I Don't like the results of that second sample...we have to convince people that it's not THEIR taxes getting raised.

[HALF SAMPLE] Do you think the federal government should guarantee health care for all Americans, or don't you think so?
62% Government should guarantee health care
38% Don't think so

[HALF SAMPLE] Would you prefer a health care reform plan that raises taxes in order to provide health insurance to all Americans, or a plan that does not provide health insurance to all Americans but keeps taxes at current levels?
47% Raise taxes; health care for all
47% Keep takes at current level; no health care for all

The Big Picture: Yes, exactly right. Which is why it's such a stupid idea to raise taxes on employer health care. If you have to do some of that, then do it AFTER people recognize the benefits of health care reform. A couple other points:

1. In a way that 47-47 split is a heartening number, because that is I think a completely Republican way of framing the issue - on the revenue side it implies that everyone will pay more taxes when we should be framing it as only some people who should pay (the rich, irresponsible people, etc.), and on the coverage side it's only talking about the people who aren't insured, which is a minority, and not about how this will make health care much better and cheaper for the majority who are currently insured. So even with a completely Republican way of framing it, health care reform is still tied. I think that's a very good sign, as long as Obama can do the bare minimum of framing the debate in a more advantageous way.

2. It also reminds us of what the Republicans are NOT doing while they spend all their time defending torture and savagely attacking the first Hispanic Supreme Court appointee: developing a message and organizing opposition to health care reform. While Obama has been developing a message, the stakeholders and Congressional leaders are hashing out plans, Obama's Organizing For America is organizing house parties steadily to support it, the opposition has done almost nothing, no framing of the issue, no grassroots appeals, and basically nobody out even on Fox News pounding attacks on health reform. What a huge missed opportunity for them, because health care reform is going to be complicated to explain and will entail sacrifices, so there's a lot of room to demogogue an opposition. It was bad enough that they are defined by extremely unpopular old white men making unpopular arguments in a wildly out-of-touch angry tone while keeping the focus on the past, but in the long term failing to develop an opposition strategy may be the biggest error of all in their 2009 "strategy."

The Strike: Yeah, the impression I get is that Republicans had a meeting somewhere and decided to “pick their battles.” They probably determined that were never going to win a debate on health care, so they should turn to culture wars, affirmative action (as it relates to Sotomayor), and torture. Of course, they have no understanding what people actually care about and why winning a few news cycles on those issues has done absolutely nothing for them. In fact, it has made their party far worse off. We have to be prepared though for their demagoguery. Hopefully, people like the Center for American Progress can shoot down every Republican criticism minutes after it is aired.

The Big Picture: I think they didn't have a meeting, but they just went with what was easiest and what they knew, which is issues that are charged with cultural, racial, and keep-us-safe divisiveness, failing to understand what people carea about, and really failing to understand that successful health care reform will be a huge political accomplishment for the Democratic Party that could ensure majority party status for generations, and it will be a gigantic policy achievement pushing the country in a much more social democratic direction, creating entitlements and structures that can probably never be rolled back.

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