Is Conservative Strategy on Health Care Counterproductive?

At this point it is possible that the current health care reform legislation might pass or be defeated. There are a number of articles around, both from opponents of reform and some pessimistic supporters, already writing reasons as to why Obama was unsuccessful. The coverage of Obama’s strategy will change dramatically should he be successful in passing health care reform when so many before him have failed.

Should those predicting defeat for health reform turn out to be wrong ,  Mark Ambinder provides an argument as to why the GOP strategy with the town halls is counterproductive:

They ramped up much too quickly. When smaller, conservative groups Astroturfed, they inevitably brought to the meetings the type of Republican activist who was itching for a fight and who would use the format to vent frustrations at President Obama himself. There were plenty of activists who really wanted to know about health care, and some who were probably misinformed — scared out of their chairs — to some degree, but the loudest voices tended to be the craziest, the most extreme, the least sensible, and the most easy to mock.

The American people remain anxious and confused about health care reform. That is an underlying reality that Republican activists are so eager to exploit. But doing so required a certain restraint — and a willingness to traffic in at least approximate truths — and an ability to make distinctions within their own ranks about which tactics were valid and which tactics were venomous…
Remember, the target audience for Republicans is Blue Dog Democrats in Congress. They won’t panic unless they perceive organic anxiety.  The White House’s goal was to prevent the Blue Dogs from panicking. The swing constituents in these congressional districts aren’t angry Republicans, and the Blue Dogs know this.  They’re political independents for whom the sanctity of the process is important. These are the type of voters who like President Obama because he appears willing to bring people together even though they don’t agree with their policies…
Unrestrained, these town hall meetings are going to turn off the type of voters Republicans most need to pressure Blue Dog Democrats — independents who don’t have red genes or blue genes.  Both Fox and MSNBC televised Sen. Arlen Specter’s raucous town hall meeting live. It was full of confrontation and protest. There were boos when Specter reaffirmed his president’s Americanness.
He has a good point. We see the right wing reinforcing their own talking points but conservative Democratic Congressmen know the difference between those on the far right who will not vote for them and moderates. The question is whether the conservatives strategy is failing as Ambinder says. My fear is that a portion of the misinformation they are spreading is fooling even moderates who repeatedly hear the false claims coming from the right.
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1 Comment

  1. 1
    Eric Blair says:

    Naah. People are just pissed off at this point. It has got to the tipping point that no matter what the President says, less and less are going to believe him. Congress isn’t helping any.

    If people had the idea that Congress actually had some idea of what it was doing, the President would get some traction here.

    I don’t see anything passing when Congress comes back. It’s Hillary care all over again.

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