Would It Kill Someone To Make A Goddamn Ad

From a diary at Kos.

We Democrats in my rural, very red Virginia county are sponsoring ACA sign-up clinics 22 and 29 March at our local library. In preparation for the clinics, several of us volunteers spent a few hours helping our regional navigator as he worked with uninsured people to help them get insurance.

One of the people he assisted was a single mother of three — husband killed a few years ago in an industrial accident. She works a part-time cashier’s job and cleans houses; her mother and sister take turns keeping the kids. Of course she has no medical insurance and doesn’t remember when she or any of the three children saw a doctor.

The Navigator found her a policy that pays 95% of her medical costs, has lots of free stuff (mainly regular exams and check-ups for her and the kids), and with subsidies will cost her $51 a month.

She couldn’t believe she didn’t have to pay the Navigator. She didn’t believe she did not have to promise to vote for Democrats. She didn’t believe it when the Navigator printed her insurance card on the spot. When the fact of what she had done finally sunk in, she couldn’t stop crying and hugging everyone in sight. Neither could the rest of us.

People who need coverage are getting covered left and right. Moms, folks between jobs, self-employed entrepreneurs, even Republican activists are getting covered. Just about everyone who needs coverage can have it now*. Almost six million people already have. A lot those people have pretty emotional stories to tell.

So why for the love of christ have the Koch brothers made the only ACA ads that anyone talks about? Someone please spell out the thinking on this. A writer would kill for the kind of raw emotional power you get from just one of those FIVE MILLION PEOPLE getting coverage they can finally afford. You can’t run from the ACA. So why not win on it?

(*) Setting aside those red state Medicaid gaps. And you know what, maybe someone should make some hay about the reckless cruelty of those.

62 replies
  1. 1
    SP says:

    Medicaid gaps, not Medicare.

  2. 2
    Tim F. says:

    @SP: Funny, I thought I corrected that while writing. I must be getting punchy from lack of sleep.

  3. 3
    Zam says:

    I’ve seen plenty of sign up ads, but I’m pretty sure the administration can’t spend money on a more political ad.

  4. 4
    BGinCHI says:

    This is why those motherfuckers are working so hard to kill this. It is helping people. Government done well and with progressive ideas makes people’s lives better.

    The alternative is the destructive nihilism propagated by hateful rich people and grifters who lack empathy. Shame on them and on people who believe what they are selling.

  5. 5
    Cassidy says:

    Because it’s not 7 million and therefore a failure.

  6. 6
    srv says:

    I suggest an SNL commercial with jammies cocoa guy fighting hipster filling his Audi S4 with 87 octane.

  7. 7
    Tim F. says:

    @Zam: Why does Obama need to pay for an ad? He is not on the ballot in 2014. The DNC should let a couple of those folks tell their story to the camera and see what happens.

  8. 8
    IowaOldLady says:

    I’ll never understand how the R govs and legislatures can justify turning down the Medicaid expansion to themselves or how other people can buy the crap they spew. They’re willing for real people to suffer so they can vent their spite.

  9. 9
    IowaOldLady says:

    @Tim F.: That’s right. And if one of those people says “I’m a Republican and I still vote R, but I’m grateful for this,” that’s not all bad.

  10. 10
    piratedan says:

    because … well I got nothing… I have nfi why in the wide world of sports the Dems don’t do this. Maybe they don’t want to make political hay off of people who are now having a financial burden lifted off of them. Maybe they don’t think it’s right to politicize a concept, such as a right to affordable health care. Maybe they don’t want Glenn Kessler giving them pinocchio’s because the actors weren’t dressed appropriately thereby refuting the basic message of the ad itself. Perhaps its something else entirely, but I got no clue as to why.

  11. 11
    Zam says:

    @Tim F.: They are putting together the money for the upcoming election, they have no where near the available resources of the Koch brothers, gotta pay for field teams and ads for tons of congressmen. Still some of those may end up being success stories, though I doubt we will see any of those until closer to election day.

  12. 12
    Tim F. says:

    @IowaOldLady: Hell, let it be nothing but Republicans who still plan to vote R. After Drudge pisses all over them they will switch on their own.

  13. 13
    Xantar says:

    I don’t have any insight into the strategies of the Democratic Party, but it could be that they are waiting until after the enrollment period before they start touting the success stories. The election is still 8 months away. How effective is an ad really going to be right now?

  14. 14
    IowaOldLady says:

    @Tim F.: And it lets R congress people know that these are their voters. Or not.

  15. 15
    Roger Moore says:

    So why for the love of christ have the Koch brothers made the only ACA ads that anyone talks about?

    Maybe because the people doing the talking are in the Koch brothers’ pocket. It’s disappointing that they haven’t gotten the same kind of press, but there are plenty of ads encouraging people to sign up. I think maximizing the number of people enrolled should be the primary goal of ACA supporters while enrollment is still open. The political ads talking about how great it is should show up closer to the election.

  16. 16
    Barbara says:


    I suggest an SNL commercial with jammies cocoa guy fighting hipster filling his Audi S4 with 87 octane.

    I would even stay up past my old lady bedtime to see that.

  17. 17

    Because the ad will be way more useful in three or four months when many more people have positive Obamacare policies, the GOP is chained to an anti-Obamacare strategy, and it will be close enough to the election that voters will remember the ad and the message?

  18. 18
    p.a. says:

    Hopefully it’s a case of knowing the effective time frame for running ads and not another example of Dems bringing a penknife to a gunfight.

  19. 19
    Roger Moore says:


    I’ll never understand how the R govs and legislatures can justify turning down the Medicaid expansion to themselves or how other people can buy the crap they spew.

    I think the argument is that the Medicaid expansion is only fully funded by the Feds for 3 years, after which the state will have to pay for part of it. The 10% the state would have to pay might require rich people to pay a tiny amount more in taxes, so the poor should just fuck off and die. If you already accept that poor people should FOAD so the rich can pay less in taxes- and that seems a requirement for membership in the Republican party these days- it’s not a big step.

  20. 20
    Cervantes says:

    So why for the love of christ have the Koch brothers made the only ACA ads that anyone talks about?

    Most of the discussion I’ve seen about those ads is about how false they are. Are they, in fact, successful?

    In any event, I agree, Democrats should be out there taking credit as much as possible. (Meanwhile, these and similar things do seem useful.)

  21. 21
    Cervantes says:

    @Roger Moore: Yes, I agree.

  22. 22
    Mike in NC says:

    For weeks the Koch’s Americans for Prosperity stooges had been blanketing the local TV airwaves with anti-ACA ads every day, and then they suddenly disappeared. Maybe because somebody pointed out that they were pure bullshit. No doubt they’ll double down as November approaches and launch a bunch of new ones.

  23. 23
    p.a. says:

    And it sure as hell seems Rethugs think they are vulnerable on this issue, example 1 being The Exorcist’s freakout over the Louisiana Moveon ad.

  24. 24

    @Roger Moore:

    If you already accept that poor people should FOAD

    You can stop there. There is no ‘so’. They’ve never been able to put taxes and expenditures together before. Current conservative morality is that everyone, possibly including themselves, should fuck off and die. They believe compassion and empathy to be evil, and have said so repeatedly.

  25. 25
    JPL says:

    @Tim F.: I’d be concerned about the safety of anyone making ads about ACA.
    Michelle Malkin will have her goons checking to see if you buy lobster or have granite countertops.

  26. 26
    Bobby Thomson says:


    Hopefully it’s a case of knowing the effective time frame for running ads and not another example of Dems bringing a penknife white flag to a gunfight.

  27. 27
    Feebog says:

    I agree with Xantar’s take on this. Wait until the sign up period is over and we have some numbers to tout. These ads should be pretty easy to make; set a camera in front of someone and let them tell their story.

  28. 28
    Kay says:

    Tim, Democrats never sold the CHIP program either. Most of the people whose children are on it have no idea where it came from, although they love it. They think it came from the state of Ohio. “Oh, they’re on the Buckeye, Healthy Start, whatever they call it.”

    They probably think Kasich put it in. Maybe the county commissioners.

    You have to watch the Democratic Convention every four years to learn these important facts :)

    I’ve never figured it out. It’s unknowable.

  29. 29
    imonlylurking says:

    I have seen ads like that here in Minneapolis. Not any of the ‘poor worker who hasn’t seen a doctor’ but several for small business owners who trumpet how much they are saving per month.

  30. 30
    IowaOldLady says:

    @imonlylurking: Those sound like great ads.

  31. 31
    Pat says:

    Naively assuming Tim’s question wasn’t rhetorical, no, it wouldn’t kill anyone. But to the Democrats who were of age in the 90s of Clinton, Gingrich, and triangulation, it feels like it would kill them, because to them it’s always 1995, and they always view politics through a lens that tells them the only way for Democrats to win is to look, well, not too much like Democrats. “The era of big government is over,” school uniforms, and all that. Something like the ACA can only succeed (in this mindset) if it’s highly complicated and market-oriented, so the business lobby will see a profit opportunity and the rest of voters won’t understand it. Somehow they haven’t noticed that the country is a different (and more liberal) place now than it was then, which is why Democrats today (with a few notable exceptions) are so much more timid than the occasion demands of them.

    And I caution everyone not to overlook the importance of Tim’s final point: “You can’t run from the ACA. So why not win on it?” Yes, Obama is going to be forever lashed to “Obamacare,” for obvious reasons. And it’s a continual mystery why Democrats don’t understand that (a) as long as there are Republicans, they (the Democrats) are going to be seen as the party of big government, so (b) they have a vital electoral interest in making government work well.

  32. 32
    Arclite says:

    Who cares if it works and is relieving stress and saving lives? It’s a goddamn pinko commie program put in place by a commie atheist Muslim president. I’d rather die than use that socialist program.

  33. 33

    I run a small marketing consulting shop. We just hired a 49 year old mom of 3, who had a thyroid tumor removed in 1994. She has been slaving away as the VP of marketing for a software firm run by America’s meanest assholes (wait, that’s their Packaging and Positioning Statement, I shouldn’t be giving it away) for the 4 years since her husband’s sign shop failed.

    She hates every fucking day there, which I understand because they were one of the clients we fired in 2013. In 6 more weeks, this lady who has worked since she was 14 pulling sodas at DQ is going to walk out of there and come to work at my (distributed) company…even though we don’t have 50 employees. I can’t match what she’s making there, but she wants to work fewer hours anyway. And now she can.

    Because she is free to make her life better now that her family has portable insurance rated by how many people they cover.

    That’s the ad.

    Or my little sister, 37 year old mom with 10 years at a firm she hates getting paid half what she would make freelancing 30 hours a week: I’m going to wash this dead-end job I have to keep forever because I was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis right outta my hair.

  34. 34
    Kay says:

    I always wonder about this, too. Romney’s former campaign people are still lying about Jeep moving Ohio jobs to China.
    Now, they have to trash “Obama’s economy” that’s just knee jerk at this point, but the fact is auto manufacturing is cooking right along here, and that probably benefits Kasich in the gov race, because the economy is better.
    So can they do this? Can they run on “everything sucks!” nationally, against Democrats, while protecting their incumbent governors in OH, MI, FL and WI? Will that contradiction matter, or are we talking about voters who will just happily accept that they’re taking both sides of the economy?

  35. 35
    Baud says:


    When I was at Kos, anyone who tried to make an argument like that was pretty much attacked. I can understand why some democrats think (incorrectly) it won’t work.

  36. 36
    cmorenc says:

    A NASTY TECHNIQUE Tea Party grassroots partisans are using in the wake of some of the media actually doing a little work debunking the Boonstra and other Koch “ACA victim” ads: they are responding to any print-media article giving any sort of positive coverage to the ACA by writing letters to the editor etc. citing how THEIR insurance premiums have skyrocketed under Obamacare, their deductibles have been raised, their insurance coverage has been changed in various undesirable ways that makes it more difficult to affordably treat some significant health condition…EXCEPT because of their lower profile and semi-anonymity, they are unlikely to have their claims effectively challenged. Not even anything so simple as “did you go to the exchange to see what options you have”, which was a significant factor tripping up Mrs. Boonstra. MOST of these alleged “victims” of Obamacare have stories that fall apart under examination. So the tactic is to spread as as many of these personal Obamacare victim stories as possible, counting on the truth still tying its shoes before the lie sails halfway around the world.

  37. 37
    Kay says:


    I don’t understand. An argument like what?

  38. 38
    karen says:

    Could some of the Dems also be in Koch’s pocket?

  39. 39
    Baud says:


    That democrats had done a lot of good things.

  40. 40
    Kay says:


    Oh, I know exactly what you’re talking about now. Agreed.

    But that’s different than Democrats saying “we’re proud of SCHIP” isn’t it? Republicans would have a website with a tally of “babies saved” and pictures of children if they had done SCHIP. Surely it isn’t up to Daily Kos?

  41. 41
    Baud says:

    Rachel talking about the ad wars right now.

  42. 42
    Baud says:


    We’re a grass roots party that’s waiting for leadership from the top down. We’re trying to mimic the Republican model of success and it’s not working.

  43. 43
    Kay says:


    I hate that too. “hit back!” It’s reactive. Remember Romney with “mirroring”? That’s when I knew they would lose. Following Obama around, “we’re mirroring you!” Oh, that’s brilliant. Keep doing that.

    I watched Mitt the other night. The man is a cipher. It’s like he’s standing outside himself. When he’s looking at what I believe are probably Florida county numbers coming in and he says almost to himself, “not good” or something like that. It was like Mitt Romney talking to “Mitt Romney”. He’s two complete people.

    Who knows what he’s actually thinking. He has a rigid role to play even within his family.

  44. 44
    Ruckus says:

    On FB I have seen numerous people just pile on the hate for President Obama and his single handily passing Obamacare. How it will be the ruination of the country for people to have healthcare. And how band aiding a failing health care system is the stupidest thing ever. The hate runs deep, almost like there might be a secondary explanation. I’m not sure a few ads will change that level of hate. I am afraid that they will get out and vote for the morons just to show how much hate they have.

  45. 45
    Baud says:


    I don’t like “truth to power” for that reason. That may have had it’s place at one time, but today we should be focusing on being the power.

  46. 46
    Bill Murray says:

    The problem with waiting to air many ads is that every day, people who could be persuaded to your position are being persuaded to the position against yours. Once persuaded to a position, these people are essentially fixed to that position. That’s really what the bully pulpit discussion is about — you really can’t get people to your side after they have made up their mind against you. Sure there are a bunch of people that will never take your side and a bunch that will always take your side, the key to winning is to get the undecideds to your side before they decide against you

  47. 47
    Ruckus says:

    That’s because we aren’t all mindless followers. We don’t agree on a lot of details even if we like the general direction something is going in. The ACA is a prime example. It isn’t great policy. It is dramatically better than what we had a very short time ago. But we like answers to problems, we like complete, clean, sound solutions, of which there are few for most societies problems. Conservatives like it when nothing changes. The weren’t necessarily happy, but they really didn’t expect to be. They have been told that life sucks, that it not only always will but that it has to, suckage builds character.

  48. 48
    Kay says:


    I see that, but I have come to believe that trying to get it all in a line won’t work, so isn’t worth the energy. The herding cats thing is true. You can’t herd cats. It’s impossible.

    I’m sympathetic to the Kos thing about Third Way versus liberals right now because I think the Third Way faction has re-asserted themselves to a certain degree. I can hear it in Democrats, the language, the tone. I can’t pin it down or conclusively prove it, but there is a “money party” on the Dem side and I think they re-asserted themselves after deBlasio. They saw that election as a threat. I don’t actually think it is a threat. I don’t think he’s nearly the radical Leftist they’re making him out to be, but that’s when I heard the shift.

    I don’t agree with it. I don’t think it’s good right now politically or substantively. I’m generally a fairly cautious person and I think this is one time they could be more populist, not less. I just think they’re misreading the situation.

  49. 49
    Baud says:


    I’m on board with trying to weaken the influence of third way types. But I don’t want to get distracted by that fight. We’ve always had corporate Democrats in our midst and always will. Their existence isn’t an excuse to run away.

  50. 50
    BennyAce says:

    Here’s an ad — all dialog lifted from comments on conservative web sites:


  51. 51
    OGLiberal says:

    @IowaOldLady: Because the people they’re talking to and whose votes they depend on, especially in primaries, think that Medicaid only helps lazy blahs and “illegals”. The less of it the better because “those” people deserve to suffer.

  52. 52
    low-tech cyclist says:

    @IowaOldLady: Damn straight. We need a “Why do Republicans hate Americans?” ad series.

  53. 53
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @OGLiberal: And even if it _does_ help hardworking white people, that doesn’t count either, because if it weren’t for Those People, the hardworking white people would have things even better still.

  54. 54
    Kay says:


    But I don’t want to get distracted by that fight.

    But that’s herding cats :)

    We get distracted. It’s just the nature of the thing.

    I don’t think they’ll prevail, the Third Way pundits, mostly just because they’re too old and we already had this same exact fight in the 1990’s and they don’t have anything new to say.

    I was reading one of them today who was going on about liberal “grudges held on welfare reform”. I can’t believe they’re still defending welfare reform. My God. It was a long time ago. Are there more than 150 people in the country who are holding a grudge on welfare reform? They sound like the flip side of Newt Gingrich: “When we reformed welfare and balanced the budget”. They can’t just keep saying the exact same things they said in 1996.

  55. 55
    wenchacha says:

    You know, there are thousands of artists/musicians/actors/filmmakers/younameit who are just barely beyond amateur status. Invite people to make videos that will grab eyeballs online, at least. I know it takes money for ad campaigns, but a lot could be accomplished with very short spots. There are so many people from teens to 40s who are especially in tune with the technology and the vibe.

    Whiny Republicans d-bag is the exact opposite of the campaign Dems need. And honestly, Pajama Boy is an easy target for haters, as well. I just know so many talented young adults who make short films with very small or non-existent budgets. It could be done.

  56. 56
    Tyro says:

    So why for the love of christ have the Koch brothers made the only ACA ads that anyone talks about?

    There’s something about the Democratic establishment that dislikes brazen salesmanship.

    It was always clear to me that the party needed a year-round campaign to ensure that they were “ground ready” for off-year elections, But a large contingent of the party seems to consider that somehow vulgar and unattractive– or at least not profitable for their consulting/lobbying houses.

  57. 57
    Ruckus says:

    Once had a meeting with a group of people who purchased a once a year program from the company I worked for. I was the program manager and we had this meeting every year. This one year the company decided to raise the price by about 8%, which they hadn’t done in about a decade. Everyone was fine with it except one old fart. He started in about how the cost of bread was $.25 when he was a kid and how horrible it was to raise the cost. I had to explain to him how everything goes up in price, bread, milk, gas, rent. I told him I didn’t really care what bread cost when he was a kid, gas was less than $.30 a gal when I started driving and it isn’t any more. He was the only one in the room who was unwilling to live in the current world. He wanted, no needed to return to what life was like when he was a child. He didn’t act like he was afraid of the world around him but I think he really was. I think a lot of conservatives are afraid of the world around them because what they believe doesn’t make any sense.

  58. 58
    carolinadave says:

    So why for the love of christ have the Koch brothers made the only ACA ads that anyone talks about? Someone please spell out the thinking on this. A writer would kill for the kind of raw emotional power you get from just one of those FIVE MILLION PEOPLE getting coverage they can finally afford. You can’t run from the ACA. So why not win on it?

    yes, please! why not in NC? Is Hagan even paying attention?

  59. 59
    Matt McIrvin says:

    OFA has a bumper sticker that looks like the Gadsden flag with a coiled stethoscope and the line “DON’T TREAD ON MY OBAMACARE”.

    A friend on Google+ linked to it, and got a bunch of _really pissed off_ comments from libertarians about how Obama was “cheapening” a national symbol. “Cheap” and “cheapening” came up over and over.

    That’s what the lives of poor people are, I suppose. Cheap. The true, noble use of that flag, of course, is to symbolize the right to carry your AR-15 at Target.

  60. 60
    Cervantes says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    A friend on Google+ linked to it, and got a bunch of _really pissed off_ comments from libertarians about how Obama was “cheapening” a national symbol. “Cheap” and “cheapening” came up over and over.

    Topic: By their very existence, “Libertarians” cheapen the word “liberty.”


  61. 61
    Joe Buck says:

    Moderate Democratic politicians are intimidated, and some of them are outright chickenshit. They think the way to win in moderate-to-conservative districts is to avoid saying anything that isn’t poll-tested and act like a moderate Republican, hoping to draw a crazy person as an opponent.

    The idea of actively promoting ACA instead of ducking is way outside their comfort zone. But perhaps third parties could do it.

  62. 62
    Matt McIrvin says:

    Also, how dare anyone turn a coiled snake into a mere symbol of medicine!

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