Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 19, 2011

DCCC WASTES NO TIME, LAUNCHES MEDICARE ADS.... On Friday, just about every member of the House Republican caucus voted for a radical budget plan that, among other things, eliminates the Medicare program, replacing it with a privatized voucher system. This morning, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) launched the first of many salvos on the issue.

This ad, which is likely to get people talking, features seniors forced to tackle jobs they wouldn't otherwise do -- selling lemonade, mowing lawns, and stripping -- in order to have money for their health care. The spot is funny, but the message is serious: "Seniors will have to find $12,500 for health care ... because Republicans voted to end Medicare."

The ad, not coincidentally, is hitting the airwaves just as lawmakers return home for a congressional recess, and will air in 25 targeted districts represented by vulnerable Republicans. What's more, Greg Sargent noted that the DCCC hopes to raise an additional $25,000 in the next 48 hours, so it can specifically air the spot in Speaker Boehner's Ohio district.

The DCCC's efforts also include new radio ads and robocalls on the same message, targeting the same Republicans.

Dems clearly believe this is a political winner for them -- a belief bolstered by polls -- and it makes a lot of sense to get to work on this immediately. As we discussed over the weekend, a major Democratic pollster, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, found that when voters hear about the Republican plan, they hate it.

Noting the results, Nate Silver said, "Clearly there is political upside for Dems in attacking Ryan budget, however, they also have a lot of work to do to inform voters about it."

That work apparently begins in earnest today.

Steve Benen 12:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (30)

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I LOVE it and I am passing it around.

Posted by: Alli on April 19, 2011 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

I'm glad the DCCC is striking while the iron is hot, because this is when the message will have the maximum impact. It's easier to bury the other guy early, when it comes to something big like this.

I was deathly afraid they'd wait until September 2012 before doing ads about this, and by then, it would have only affected a relative handful of undecided voters, instead of shaping the playing field up front.

I've had my doubts, these past few years, about the value of the party committees, but I think I'll have to send the DCCC a few shekels to help keep these ads running.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on April 19, 2011 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

And they will also have to counter the effects of the propaganda coming from the million dollar pundits who are hired to fill their shows with lies so as to confuse and confound the viewer to believing in the opposite of what is in fact true

Posted by: stormskies on April 19, 2011 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

PROACTIVE Dems? Who'd a thunk it!

Posted by: DAY on April 19, 2011 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

They should have a Peggy Noonan look alike, drunk, stripping, and and pole-dancing.

Nah, never mind.
Too many people'd puke.


Posted by: c u n d gulag on April 19, 2011 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

I must admit, I would never, ever have expected this.
The Publicans truly have great power -- they have made me proud again to associate with the Democratic Party.
Maybe they can even convince me there is a God.

Posted by: smartalek on April 19, 2011 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, next year will be too late. This strategy will force the Republicans to back down, NOW!

Posted by: Marko on April 19, 2011 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

More of this, please! It wouldn't hurt to have a continuing series on "Guess what they did TODAY!?"

Posted by: mmm on April 19, 2011 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

A word of warning. At least one local Politifact operation has decided "end Medicare" isn't an accurate description of Ryan's plan. To avoid a "false" label you have to ad "as we know it" or some qualifier.
To me "Medicare" is a brand name (it's even capitalized) of an insurance program with established characteristics. If Coke decided to replace its formula and replace it with the same flavoring as in a combination of Pepsi and Orange Crush I think most people would say sales of Coke had ended, regardless of what they call it. But Politifact makes the rules. I don't
Just something to anticipate.

Posted by: Art Hackett on April 19, 2011 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

And you were pessimistic just a few minutes ago...


QUEEN Victoria would be embarrassed by the the current trends in increased American inequality of income, Republicans are not.  Sell-outs to big money all, the Republicans voted for Paul Ryan's proposed budget which would destroy Medicare and cut taxes for the wealthiest. 

It's all very fine if you can like the upper class cover health costs out of pocket, but for the rest of us we know if they operated in the public interest their admin costs would be 3% like Medicare not over 10% as now, nor would they have raised rates in a recession.

To solidify the trend, The Republican Supreme Court gave corporations pre-20th century influence in politics. Many other Republicans would  continue the march backwards and stop unemployment insurance, repeal the minimum wage, or like AZ Governor Jan Brewer jail undocumented workers in privately run prisons at state expense.

I admire many things about the 19th century -- abolition of slavery, intellectual curiosity, the progressive movement, neo-classical architecture, workers rights but not mid-Victorian prejudice, greed, morality, and states rights arguments, the worst of the 19th century, which our post modern era Republicans seem to admire.

The Republicans would kill those values which made our society great, the best of the 19th century- a movement up and up in terms of societal cooperation, income equality, human rights, a strong federal system, public education, and a spirit of scientific exploration --  values set into law and American tradition, values Republicans would repeal but which the rest of us love.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on April 19, 2011 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Good move, but the ad is just stupid. This is not an issue to be played for yuks. They should find a Republican ad agency to create these spots -- they'd show black and white footage of elders dying in the streets while leering politicians back-slap fat-cats as scary music swelled.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on April 19, 2011 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Good idea. TERRIBLE commercial. Silly, stupid, and quite possibly offensive to the very group it's trying to protect.

Humor is tricky in this kind of situation. You can be funny, but edgy slapstick will appeal to 15 year olds and that's about it.

Posted by: Jeff on April 19, 2011 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

I love the strategy -- but I think it would have been stronger to have grandpa as an actual firefighter, not a stripper.

That said, I disagree with Hell's Littlest Angel -- humor is a great way to cut through the hours of noise on T.V. ads. Certainly, there are plenty of elderly as well as young voters who will get a laugh from this.

Posted by: Andrew R. on April 19, 2011 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Good for the DCCC. Again: in any case, if medical costs keep going up, then "we" are going to have to pay for them one way or another anyway so it does no good to say, let's not charge for them or insuring them through the government. You will just have to pay someone else. That is the big trick of right-wing gripers about taxation or withholding for things like Medicare: they make those payments sound like owing money to a bank for a loan, an extra cost you get nothing for in the future (and the cost of interest just a loss to the borrower.) But these are for medical expenses in the future, not like "everything the same but owing extra money too" etc. If anything needs controlling most, it is the costs of the care etc. themselves, not the system administering paying them.

The real objection on the right is not to "extra" costs, which is not what medicare per se represents. Their objection is to the spreading of the costs over the population and charging the wealthy proportionately more (up to a point only anyway, because of caps etc.)

Note also, that since Republicans are griping about the cost of Social Security etc: well then, let's do indeed cut down and recoup costs by fully taxing SS benefits. (Lift the cap too.) But note how Republicans have traditionally griped about taxing SS benefits, because of course higher-earners pay back more of their SS benefits than lower-income people.

Another good challenge we need to push, esp. now that even Simpson is pushing it: if paying off and avoiding debt is so damn important, then by golly let's raise the top rates enough to really pay it off ...

Fine minds make fine distinctions.

Posted by: neil b on April 19, 2011 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Well, this is very important and necessary.

Because look what the Koch Brothers are planning to do: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/04/18/kochs-industries-buying-ads-to-refute-news-stories/

Posted by: jjm on April 19, 2011 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

I cannot imagine how anyone thought this ad would accomplish anything. And it more than pisses me off that the DCCC strategy is to entertain instead of inform. Idiots!

Posted by: Danp on April 19, 2011 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

I think a better approach at this time would be to educate the public about what is in the Republican Plan. Humor is fine but at this point I think educating the public about the high level details of the Ryan proposal would go further in driving home the point to the public about what a radical change the plan entails for all Americans.

Posted by: ron on April 19, 2011 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Don't get your hopes up too soon. The ads definitely will not work once jackwagons like senator Warner and senator durbin sell out social security--they are already making statements that SS benefits need to be cut ( yes it does not make sense to cut them now versus allowing cuts to occur in 2037 if absutely nothing is done between now and then, but I digress) as members of the gang of dicks, I mean six. Durbin just went overly and unnecessarily vocal on this today. Why oh why must dems keep undercutting other dems and themselves.

Posted by: bubba on April 19, 2011 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

I'm an older person, and I wasn't offended. I thought it was hilarious. This will get a lot more attention than sad, sick, helpless old folks. Even us old folks don't want to think about sad,sick old folks.

Posted by: Gretchen on April 19, 2011 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

A good start, but fails to make the more important point that Grandma isn't guaranteed coverage anymore. The GOP is giving the power back to the insurance companies to decide whether Grandma gets insurance at all and at what price. The prospect of being without medical care (or at the mercy of rapacious insurance companies) at an old age is much more frightening to people than having to pay more for care. Making the point that it's going to cost more is important, but there are plenty of people who think that charging seniors more for coverage is necessary given the country's "dire" budget problems. Dems love to talk about affordability, but just as in the health care debate, it's not the best argument. The better argument is that the GOP is killing Granny by taking her health care away. Granny gets coverage only if the insurance companies decide they can make a profit off Grandma. For an insurance company, the cheapest Granny is a dead Granny.

Posted by: ameshall on April 19, 2011 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

As Dark Helmet says to Lonestar in the movie SPACEBALLS, "Now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb."

The commercial is an epic fail. As a couple of people have noted. the wingnut version would be in black and white with scary music. Here's how the pros-- this one is Karl Rove's-- do things:


Posted by: Woodrow L. Goode, IV on April 19, 2011 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

I'm torn on this ad. We watched it this morning while getting ready for work and laughed. But THEN we talked about it all the way in to work. Maybe the 'lightness' of the ad will get people TALKING insteading of SCREAMING.

Posted by: SYSPROG on April 19, 2011 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

As an opening salvo, I thought it was great - I would be willing to bet that as they drive the point home, Dems will mix it up with the "scary music" approach, too.

I was thinking last week that if I didn't see anything on this from Dems by the end of this week, they would have let the window of opportunity slip by. Dems came through!

Posted by: June on April 19, 2011 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

With social security disability at $14,000 how the hell do they expect someone to pay 12,500 for insurance?

If I can't afford insurance how the hell will I be able to pay $40,000 $50,000 to pay for my next pacemaker in about three years?

Posted by: wbn on April 19, 2011 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK


Posted by: Alli on April 19, 2011 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

@Gretchen--I'm an old folk too, and I wasn't real happy with the ad. Seems to me they ought to be able to make an ad dramatizing seniors' predicament without either resorting to "sick, sad" seniors or making the seniors look ridiculous. (And I thought the lemonade-selling senior and the lawn-mowing senior were pretty sad, for that matter.)

How about smart, feisty, pissed-off seniors? Or, alternatively, a younger couple who can't pay for their kids' college because of Grandpa's medical bills?

Posted by: Swift Loris on April 19, 2011 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

The firefighter grandpa was pretty feisty, and not feeling sorry for himself. He made his point and got me laughing at the same time.

Posted by: Gretchen on April 19, 2011 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a senior.

You folks really like that ad?

I'm embarrassed for you.

Posted by: mary on April 19, 2011 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Better than being a greeter at Wal Mart.

Posted by: Will Manning on April 19, 2011 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, the senior stripper pushed an otherwise effective ad over the top and into the land of bad taste.


Posted by: Oh my on April 19, 2011 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK
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