This is refreshing to read in a newspaper:
But as Republicans smelled serious opportunity in the midterm elections, they didn’t let facts get in the way of a great punchline. And few in the press challenged their frequent assertion that under Obama, the government was going to take over the health care industry.
That paragraph is from today’s St. Petersburg Times, and appears in their article PolitiFact’s Lie Of The Year. I think they deserve a great deal of credit for calling out their own.
The article is the kind of reporting the news media should do a lot more of. Facts are good things, and as the saying goes, knowledge is power. Had these facts come out a long time ago the health care reform law may have turned out quite differently.
The article illustrates how the Republican Party set out to sway the public against health care reform and attack President Obama. To do so they used self-proclaimed “Word Doctor” Frank Luntz, the consultant whose slogan is “It’s Not What You Say That Matters, It’s What They Hear,” which seems fitting as a motto for the Republican Party as well. The Republicans turned to Luntz for a similar “snow job” in an attempt to kill financial reform, and he also played a roll in Newt Gingrich’s “Contract For America.”
To construct the big lie for the GOP Luntz came up with the term “government takeover.”
“Takeovers are like coups,” Luntz wrote in a 28-page memo. “They both lead to dictators and a loss of freedom.”
The line stuck. By the time the health care bill was headed toward passage in early 2010, Obama and congressional Democrats had sanded down their program, dropping the “public option” concept that was derided as too much government intrusion. The law passed in March, with new regulations, but no government-run plan.
We’re still hearing the words “government takeover” and the Republicans like the term so much that it’s become interchangeable with just about every issue out there.
The lie worked, in that it got the health care bill watered down considerably.
But that’s not enough for the GOP. They’re working to kill it altogether. 20 states, with Florida in the lead, have filed a lawsuit claiming the law is unconstitutional. Earlier this week, a judge in Virginia actually did rule part of it unconstitutional, but that judge also owns between $15,000 and $50,000 in a GOP political consulting firm. No conflict THERE of course, right? Did someone say “Government takeover?”
No, the Party that’s willing to hold the poor and unemployed hostage, along with DADT, The DREAM Act and national security with the START Treaty in order to get more tax cuts for their rich friends and contributors (not to mention themselves) have no qualms about robbing you and those very same people of a chance at getting health care. So expect more of the same in the future.
In fact, they’ve already begun:
An influential Tea Party group is urging Congress to hold votes in January to repeal healthcare reform in its entirety, according to a confidential memo to congressional Republicans.
The FreedomWorks memo, obtained by The Hill, outlines a strategy that starts with holding a vote in January to repeal the entire law. The group, headed by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas), said Congress should then hold repeal votes on certain provisions of the law, such as the individual mandate.
“Repeal is achievable, possibly sooner than many expect, because the American people clearly want and expect repeal, and because the law is vulnerable to effective repeal,” the memo said.
“Because the American people clearly want and expect repeal.” Do you want and expect repeal of the health care law? Because Dick Armey SAYS you do.
“It’s not what you say that matters, it’s what they hear.”
There’s also more to Congress than meets the eye. You see, you may think you know who you elected to go to Washington to fight for you, but you really elected “wordsmiths” and “blowhards” like Frank Luntz and Dick Armey. Those new Republican “leaders” come January who you see crying like babies who claim they’ve harnessed the American Dream are really just puppets who have sold out. They’ve sold you and the country out as well.
We need more exposure to the GOP’s “big lies” from the media. We can’t afford to let the truth get drowned out, or we’ll only “hear” from these guys.
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