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Hullabaloo


Monday, February 24, 2014

 
Democrats can't tell sick voters they're full of it, no matter if they're angry, deluded, dishonest or justified.

by digby

This is going to be a problem. Brian Buetler explores the latest right wing campaign to discredit Obamacare: deploy lying conservatives (a large pool) to claim they've been hurt by the reforms and dare a Democratic politician to challenge them:

[I]t places Democratic politicians on the horns of an awkward dilemma, because even if the story is completely bunk, it’s still a human tale, and no elected official comes out well by questioning a constituent who claims to have been harmed in some way.

Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich., knows all about this dilemma. The right’s derp Howitzer spray-fired at Peters all weekend, because his lawyers sent threatening letters to station managers in Michigan who are running an Americans for Prosperity ad featuring Julie Boonstra, whose Obamacare “horror story” isn’t supported by the facts.

“The fact that Representative Peters would sic his legal team on a Michigan mother battling cancer to muzzle her tells you everything you need to know about his record of putting politics over people,” reads a statement from AFP’s Michigan state directer Scott Hagerstrom. “Julie Boonstra was brave enough to tell her story about how Obamacare is making her life worse and instead of offering compassion and solutions, Rep. Peters responded with intimidation … This attack on her credibility is disgusting, unwarranted, and inexcusable. Congressman Peters and his indecent campaign team should be ashamed of themselves.”

Peters is running for retiring Sen. Carl Levin’s Senate seat, so it’s of considerable interest to him not to create the perception that he’s bullying an innocent cancer patient. And of course he’s not. But the facts at the center of the controversy over Boonstra’s ad suggest a better way to expose the scam AFP is perpetrating.

Boonstra clearly doesn’t like the law. And she doesn’t have to like the law. But any other woman suffering with the exact same medical condition, and the exact same interactions with Obamacare — but minus a motivated hatred of the law — would be ecstatic about the savings and the new protections the law provides, and we would all be very happy for her.

Beutler cleverly shows just how much this person would likely truly suffer if her favorite politicians have their way and Obamacare is repealed but I feel fairly sure that the Republicans will not be able to get that accomplished. It's such a good cudgel with which to beat Democrats, why would they take the chance of having repeal blow back on them? Unless they can assure themselves of a landslide national victory, which is not going to happen any time soon, they are far better off with the status quo.

All this does is create unhappiness among some members of their base of voters who would apparently rather die th than admit the insurance market was terrible before and better now. And yes, there are obviously some losers in this private market reform who are paying more, and they resent it. (But deep down they know very well that they were paying more every year anyway --- we always did.) If we know one things by now we should know that any problem in healthcare going forward is going to be blamed on Obamacare by conservatives, whether it's the line at the pharmacy or the mistake in the operating room, despite the fact that these things have always happened. That's just the reality of the situation. The new baseline belief among conservatives is that the "best health care system in the world" was destroyed by the government. You knew that was coming, right?

These stories aren't going away --- there are deluded, angry, lying and sometimes totally justified constituents out there who are going to publicly confront Democrats for quite some time and these Democrats are going to have to have a strategy for dealing with it. They certainly can't demean or contradict these voters. So, what do they do? It's not a simple problem. And I don't have the answer.


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