Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 25, 2011

DEMS, PROGRESSIVE GROUPS KEEP PRESSURE ON OVER MEDICARE.... About a week ago, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) launched the first of many salvos over the House Republican budget plan, creating an ad that used humor to drive an important point home: the GOP's agenda on Medicare would hurt seniors.

This morning, the DCCC has a new video emphasizing a related but distinct message: "House Republicans promised to protect Medicare. They lied." The point of the video is to emphasize an angle the GOP would prefer voters forgot about: Republicans spent much of 2010 running on a pro-Medicare platform, with the party's candidates vowing to be Medicare's protectors and champions. Three months into the new Congress, these same Republicans voted to eliminate the program altogether and replace it with a privatized voucher scheme.

The video is pretty compelling -- high-profile Republican candidates really did say one thing and almost immediately after getting to Washington, did another.

The new DCCC clip doesn't seem intended for broadcast -- it's one minute and 19 seconds long, rather than a half-minute for a televised commercial -- but it's nevertheless a reminder of the kind of message we'll see in the 2012 cycle. What's more, its launch coincides with a new DCCC robocall effort, targeting 25 House Republicans, telling their constituents these representatives "voted to end Medicare rather than end taxpayer giveaways for Big Oil companies making record profits or tax breaks for the ultra rich."

What's more, the DCCC effort comes the same time as a new campaign from Americans United for Change, which has a new 30-second spot that will air this week on local TV stations in several districts, including Paul Ryan's in Wisconsin, and a robocall effort targeting voters over 45 in nearly two dozen Republican House districts.

The GOP took a risk voting to eliminate Medicare, and Republicans had to know this was coming. The severity of the political price they'll pay remains to be seen, but the left clearly sees a vulnerability and intends to keep the pressure on.

Steve Benen 9:35 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (24)

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But, Politifact will say this is a "pants on fire" ad because the Republicans just voted to change the nature of medicare to a voucher program and the change won't go into effect for 10 years.

Of course, shortchanging those 55 and younger with depreciating vouchers is exactly how the congress intends to accumulate the money it needs to lower taxes for rich people, but hell, what is a little slight of hand for Republicans.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 25, 2011 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

I hope that the dems and progressive organizations have a lot of $$$ to buy advertising. I would not wager a plug nickel that the corporately owned media will tell anyone!

Posted by: SadOldVet on April 25, 2011 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

But the Medicare issue should have been addressed during the 2010 campaign when Republicans were accusing Obama of cutting medicare. How the Dems let the GOP get away with that - and thus lost so badly - is beyond comprehension.

Let us just hope that it is not too late for the Dems to have found a new set of spherical objects.

Posted by: samsa on April 25, 2011 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

WHy do they need 79 seconds?

" In 1983, the government figured out a "pay forward" plan to enable us to pay social security benefits for thos of us in the Baby boom generation. Republican administrations and republican congresses borrowed against that pay forward, to cover the costs of expensive wars and tax cuts for the very wealthy. Now that the baby boomers are retiring, the Republicans are saying we don't have the money. The next time a republican congressman comes to town, ask them: Where is our social security fund? What did you spend it on? What is your plan to keep a promise to our generation?"

Posted by: bigtuna on April 25, 2011 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

Nice ad, except for the "protect our seniors" stuff. I get the point, but the Repubs will just reply that our seniors are protected, it's the ones who aren't seniors this will effect.

And they've be sorta right. So, in keeping with the I've got mine attitude they worship: Screw the seniors, protect me. I've been paying in to SS/Med my whole working life and I expect some return on my investment. I'm not really sure where the cut-off date is, but I know I'm close to it.

Posted by: martin on April 25, 2011 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

Steve writes: "The new DCCC clip doesn't seem intended for broadcast"

SadOldVet is right.

When the GOP made this sort of video, the cables played them for free, ad infinitum. A cynic would ask will they do the same with this one?

Posted by: DAY on April 25, 2011 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

For Republicans, there is no consequence for lying. None. The ignorant base, [TEA baggers and the religious right], will not see anything wrong with the elimination of medicare. Those with the most to loose will be told that the socialists did them wrong. Vouchers equal freedom.

Posted by: pokeybob on April 25, 2011 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK


Hit the Republicans with this EVERY day from now until election day '12.

Non stop.
Mo mercy.

That's what they do.
We can do it too!!!

Posted by: c u n d gulag on April 25, 2011 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

I just wonder if they have figured a way to turn a voucher into a confusing piece of paper to be bundled and resold.

Posted by: Kill Bill on April 25, 2011 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

@SAMSA: 2010 is done and over. We have them on RECORD now. In 2010 every time the GOP was asked what they would cut, they lied (we knew they were lying, the american people did not) or avoided the question. We have proof now.

Posted by: Alli on April 25, 2011 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

This is a LOUSY AD! The "strong message" is buried too deep! Where is the *voiceover* that accuses the Republicans of saying one thing and then doing another? The somber music is just silly...and it is really hard to follow all of these different people speaking. The VO should say: "Each of these Republican representatives swore to protect Medicare and our seniors before the election...and then they turn around and vote to end/gut Medicare?! You can't trust what they say, and what they do is even worse! Or something like that. But is has to be spoken out loud.

Posted by: Paul on April 25, 2011 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

I'm still waiting for all those people with teabags hanging off their hats to either show up or speak up about the tax breaks for the rich and gutting medicare. Where are they now? I guess they only come out when the repubs let them.

Posted by: Schtick on April 25, 2011 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

I like that Dems have finally said ..'THEY LIED'...This is not as smooth an ad as it could be but the point is out there in the republican terms and using their phrasing.

All good...Hit them with the TRUTH over and over --using their language! And clips where salacious..just like they have!

Posted by: jlt on April 25, 2011 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

I hated the DCCC's "strippergram" ad, but this one's very good. I'm impressed.

Posted by: Steve M. on April 25, 2011 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Though I'm more impressed by the one TPM posted today -- very strong.

Posted by: Steve M. on April 25, 2011 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

I hate this ad. For the following reason--in any individual congressperson's district its ok to have a huge emphasis on what your guy said vs what he did. People know their own congressman and have a passing familiarity with the kinds of situations in which he speaks. But on a national level the fact that these are all republicans which you, as a senior citizen voted for, is totally lost. Its just a meaningless parade of faces--you probably have no idea who these guys are.

Secondly, the ad spends more time allowing the republicans to say (in crummy audio) that they want to protect seniors. If people turn off the sound they get a good visual--the red X and the phrase "end medicare" but if they are listening and watching they will be confused. Do seniors really grasp how the last election turned on being lied to? Do they understand that Obamacare wasn't, in fact, cutting 500 million from Medicare but only from medicare overpayments and fraud?

I find the ad confusing and I'm not a senior citizen. Its clearly put out to raise money from the believers, the kind of people who see an internet ad, but I want to see a really good ad that they can actually run on TV in selected spots. This really isn't it.

aimai

Posted by: aimai on April 25, 2011 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

Democrats are adopting GOP style campaign tactics on the Medicare issue. I love it! The GOP is only good at one thing - campaigning and spin. It's about time the Democrats play hardball.

Posted by: Dennis on April 25, 2011 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

"They lied."

Hooray!

Posted by: hells littlest angel on April 25, 2011 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

Not that this sort of trickery is anything new, but the farcical election of 2000, and the ACA debacle of 2009 really hammered this point home: Republicans can lie their asses off, wrap it up in the flag, spritz some "apple pie" scented car freshener on it, and a great number of Americans will swallow it hook line and sinker. I wish it weren't true, but clearly it is. A huge percentage of Americans have been told for decades "Democrats want to destroy America, anything they like will destroy America, anything WE "real Americans" have to do to stop their agenda - even things that are unconstitutional - will be for a greater good." So nearly one-third of 'murkans won't even believe the ad. One-third is prone to believing it. The third third, the mushy-middle low-info don't-know-who-to-believe voter will probably never see it. And even if they do, they're going to be hammered with so many other lies from the right, they won't know who to believe, all they;ll know come election day is that they don't feel better off than they did during election day '08.

I don't mean this to be all why-bother cynical. I'm just saying that we need to step up the game even more than this, and it sadly will have to be done mostly through grass roots. The uprising in Wisconsin should be a wake-up call to all of us that if our revolution is to be televised, it will be on youtube via our own cell phones and podcasts, because if the regular media picks up on it, it's only to belittle our efforts, negate our impact and sell more prescription pharmaceuticals. "They lied" is a great START, but we're sunk until we can take a nation who had come to believe that passion for politics is only for bow-tied nerds and evangelical flat-Earthers, and convince that nation's citizens that, no, this is an every day activity. You always have to keep abreast, and you always have to seek out more info than what you're currently getting. Yeah, I know you worked your asses off, and you're tired, and you vote for people to take care of this crap so you don't have to think about it. That's why we are, predominately where we are. The more involved you are, the more educated you really are, the better your chances your elected officials will be better than they are right now. And the better off we'll all be as a result.

Posted by: slappy magoo on April 25, 2011 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

I love this snapshot in time, you've got it -whatever it is on tape/camera/youtube but now either nobody cares or you simply "refudiate" the evidence, and then nobody cares.

I'm moving to Canada, I like the cold.

Posted by: Trollop on April 25, 2011 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

God, I wish they would lose that plinky background "music" they use EVERY SINGLE TIME.

That alone would make me change the channel (or in the case, move to a different web page).

What they need to do is drop the music, put in a voiceover, and run ads in each district with only that particular congressperson's hypocrisy. That would trim it down to 30 seconds.

Posted by: bdop4 on April 25, 2011 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

People know their own congressman and have a passing familiarity with the kinds of situations in which he speaks. But on a national level the fact that these are all republicans which you, as a senior citizen voted for, is totally lost. -- Posted by: aimai on April 25, 2011 at 11:04 AM

Agree but it also suggests a way of making lemonade out of lemons. The ad, as is, is too long to run, *and* the parade of strange congressmen is too long to remember. Well then... Remake the ad into a series of similar ones, each featuring only the relevant congressman. That would make each ad short enough to run. Then, run it in the relevant district.

Of course, if the hope was that the MSM would run it (or parts of it) for free in the spirit of "look at those meanie Dems, using the L word", then the whole parade of liars was necessary. But, it getting free exposure had been the hope, then I have to say it looks like "fools to the left of me, liars to the right. And here I am, stuck in the middle with you"

Posted by: exlibra on April 25, 2011 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

What they need to do is drop the music, put in a voiceover, and run ads in each district with only that particular congressperson's hypocrisy. That would trim it down to 30 seconds.

Still a year-and-a-half until the election. Plenty of time to target. The purpose of this ad is to effect congress, lobbyists and media, not voters.

Posted by: chi res on April 25, 2011 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Still a year-and-a-half until the election. Plenty of time to target.
Posted by: chi res on April 25, 2011 at 2:26 PM

Disagree. We may have the facts and we may be swifter in general but the hare thought the same thing when it lost the race to the tortoise -- plenty of time to relax and take a nap.

We should never allow them a minute's rest, especially on their home territory. Target them every time they're getting ready to go home, and target them all the time they're at home, meeting with their constituents. Make the voters mad enough to go to the townhalls, ask questions, and press for answers. And do it all the time, not just a couple of weeks before elections.

As for the ad affecting "congress, lobbyist and media"... How does it achieve that aim? How many of the supposed "target audience" will even see it? How many will take it seriously, instead of just blowing it off as "more political BS"?

No. It needs to be "taken to the (Main) street" and, for that, it needs to be broken down into bite-sized pieces.

Posted by: exlibra on April 25, 2011 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK
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