Obamacare

Big Dollar Effort to Defend ObamaCare Comes Up Short

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On the first birthday of President Obama's health care overhaul, its supporters are still betting they can achieve an upset P.R. victory. But the odds on that bet paying off seem increasingly long. Politico follows up on the big-money dreams of a star-studded (for Washington) advocacy group set up to defend the law last year—and finds they're coming up short:

Wal-Mart Watch founder Andrew Grossman unveiled the Health Information Campaign with great fanfare last June. Tom Daschle and Ted Kennedy's widow, Vicki, were expected to lead the effort. They'd have help from former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn. They'd have an office in Washington with 10 or 15 operatives backing the Affordable Care Act and those who supported it.

And they'd have money to spend: Grossman hoped for $25 million a year for five years.

But nine months later, the Health Information Campaign has all but disappeared. Its website hasn't been updated since the end of last year. Its executive director and communications director are gone. There's no sign that it has any money. And neither Daschle nor Dunn will return calls asking about it.

…The Health Information Campaign was active for several months after Grossman's announcement in June. In September, it pumped $2 million into a national television ad campaign touting the law's first insurance reforms. In October, it announced that veteran labor activist and political director James Chiong would serve as its executive director.

"We're going to run a very sophisticated campaign," Chiong told POLITICO at the time. "I think we'll be aggressive on TV, aggressive in making all these diverse partnerships with groups that have health as part of their portfolio."

But that aggressive approach never came.

First, Democrats predicted that the law would become popular after passage. Various prominent liberal strategists predicted that Democrats would be running on the law in their 2010 campaigns. That didn't happen. Then Democrats and their supporters announced plans to mount of a big-budget effort to make the case for the law. Now it looks like that's not really happening either.

Instead, what's happening is that the law is steadily growing less popular. As Reason contributing editor Dave Weigel points out, at least one new poll indicates that some voters who don't like the law would have preferred a more liberal alternative, which complicates the structure of the opposition somewhat. But as he also points out, the heaviest conservative opposition comes from seniors, who are the most reliable voters. And to a large extent the mixed ideology of the opposition just doesn't matter: The fact remains that more people oppose ObamaCare than support it overall. Regardless of the reasoning behind their opposition, that's a big political problem for members of the party that passed the law in hopes of putting it on their campaign brag sheets. The law isn't just a policy failure. It's turned out to be a political failure too.

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  1. I almost killed myself by driving into oncoming traffic listening to the Diane Rhem show on NPR this morning. It was slow pitch softball to the Sec of HHS. No one to confront her lies or misleading analogies. SHE USED THE DAMNED CAR INSURANCE ANALOGY AND REHM JUST LET IT GO!

    It was frustrating when I could provide counterpoint to all her arguments without even having to think about it… but no luck. The only callers they let in were either uninformed idiots talking hidden provisions or people who were basically told, it’s really good for you, no matter what you think.

    What a joke.

    1. As a longtime listener to NPR, I’m convinced our roads would be safer without it.

  2. But nine months later, the Health Information Campaign has all but disappeared. Its website hasn’t been updated since the end of last year. Its executive director and communications director are gone. There’s no sign that it has any money. And neither Daschle nor Dunn will return calls asking about it.

    Like the water bottle collection scheme in My Blue Heaven…

    1. They built a little league field FOR THE CHILDREN, man, THE CHILDREN with that water bottle money.

      1. Re: Spencer,
        Yeah, they did, which makes this question a pertinent one: what did the Health Information Campaign do with the money??? A Pee-wee football field?

        1. Well, I’m sure it was SOMETHING for the children…

  3. More interesting than health care

    http://www.zimbio.com/Muammar+…..Bodyguards

    1. Thanks, Tim. The (nonexhaustive) list of “Gaddafi” spellings helps explain certain, um, elusiveness.

  4. Forgive the naivete, but just how unpopular does this law have to get before they repeal it?

    1. Re: Hugh Akston,

      Forgive the naivete, but just how unpopular does this law have to get before they repeal it?

      Well…. Remember the Stamp Act???

      Yeah. THAT unpopular.

      1. slightly more unpopular than slavery.

        1. but, it is slavery…
          let me be clear, you can keep your doctor (upstairs in the spare bedroom because he destitute)

    2. Forgive the naivete, but just how unpopular does this law have to get before they repeal it?

      As unpopular as it will be in February of 2013.

      Note the poll numbers have little to do with it. It only matters who is in the white house and which party controls the House and Senate.

    3. Forgive the naivete, but just how unpopular does this law have to get before they repeal it?

      Read that concerning poll data. Your question might well be, “How unpopular does this law have to get before the strengthen it?”

  5. Why doesn’t Reason call Anita Dunn’s husband about the campaign to prop up Obamacare’s image? He might have something to say about it. I mean, as long as he doesn’t say anything within 60 days of an election, that is.

    1. Nice. Also, I’ve never understood how Anita Dunn could have been appointed W.H. Communications Director. If you’ve ever seen her “in action” she is … Wait, I think I get it now.

  6. Another Saturday, another date.
    She would be ready but she’d always make him wait.
    In the hallway, in anticipation,
    He didn’t know the night would end up in frustration.
    He’d end up blowing all his wages for the week
    All for a cuddle and a peck on the cheek.

    Come dancing,
    That’s how they did it when I was just a kid,
    And when they said come dancing,
    My sister always did.

    1. “Come dancing”…..dry hump set to music.

  7. First, Democrats predicted that the law would become popular after passage.

    Actually i remember dems/left wingers saying that the law was popular before passage and that republicans were lying about it and if poeple looked at the law it would become more popular…but as time passed before passage the more poeple looked at the less popular it became.

    1. Yeah. I remember the whole “all the individual parts are popular it is just the brand that people don’t like” bullshit. It is amazing how those motherfuckers delluded themselves.

      1. I remember the whole “all the individual parts are popular it is just the brand that people don’t like” bullshit.

        I continually count on this effect.

  8. I reject the premise of this article entirely. After all why would you need a PR campaign to defend a law penned by the “Liberals who see themselves as the torch-bearers for the project of liberty and justice handed down from the founders and liberal political philosophers whose ideas were applied to the creation of this country”.

    That Americans wouldn’t like it….well that’s just crazy talk.

    1. That sounds familiar. What H&R boring douchebag troll said that.. ?
      I like the “see themselves” part…yes it’s all about themselves

  9. As Reason contributing editor Dave Weigel points out

    What the fuck!?!?

    I know he keeps his title but can reason at least get him to write something here once in awhile?

  10. The simple act of *actually reading* legislation can be truly enlightening.

    1. Yeah….somebody might suggest this to the legislators who voted for it.

  11. As Reason contributing editor Dave Weigel points out

    you can always count on Weigs to find the tasty piece of corn in a democrat turd.

    1. Thanks for the visual.

      1. this is the visual i get when the libocrates say they have to “pass” something

  12. We had to pass it to find out how unpopular it would be.

    1. But think how unpopular it would be if they hadn’t passed it. Well, we’ll never know, but it surely would have been WAY worse.

  13. Rats. Ships. Jumping. Sinking.

  14. And they’d have money to spend: Grossman hoped for $25 million a year for five years.

    $125 million will buy you a lot of turd polish.

    1. Turd polish…..thank you Coward

      1. you can rub it and buff it…

  15. What idiots like Weigel leave off is that if Obamacare had been moved to the left, it just might have lost some supporters as it picked up others.

  16. It’s unfortunate for the American people that the Republicans are again proving themselves worse than the Democrats who passed this monstrosity.

  17. “Reason contributing editor Dave Weigel”?!?

    That smarmy little statist Journolister weasel – who attempted to coordinate coverage across media outlets to ignore criticism of ObamaCare – is STILL associated with Reason?

    1. Brian….Journolist??…What are you some sort of ignorant teabagger?/sarc…no really, the MSM just refused to touch that story….but Fox News is soooo biased….

  18. ObamaCare(tm) and pretty much everything Obama and ilk have done make no sense until you follow the money. $25M for a marketing campaign is just “brass in pocket” for Dune and Daschle.
    From the beginning I saw the ObamaCare(tm) as nothing but a way for the demorats to get their hands on $$.
    Liberals (rank and file) are stupid.

  19. Thomas Donahue, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, on the mandates, uncertainties, taxes and new regulation the legislation puts on business…

    “it’s a job killer”

  20. Not to mention the fact that SO many waivers are being granted, including the newest story that hyper-paritsan ObamaCare supporter Rep. Anthony Weiner wants one for New York City. Despite what the Democrats may think, the voters AREN’T stupid. Why should we eat a crap sandwich the insiders and the cronies are holding their nose to and throwing away? Their “ad campaign” claiming it’s really filet mignon is obviously bulls**t.

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