Watch and Learn

This is how you run on your vote for Obamacare in a red state.

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64 replies
  1. 1
    kbuttle says:

    Dens will find a way to apologise for this ad.

  2. 2
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    3 new threads in 30 minutes. I guess everyone’s awake now…

  3. 3
    fourmorewars says:

    Good advertisement. Is it too unique for youtube somehow? They appear flummoxed, judging by their followup video suggestions. Health care: Hip-Hop!

  4. 4
    aimai says:

    Its not bad but its not great for the national party–we really need to have a two track system going all the time for advertising in red states: one that enables local dems to win by separating themselves from the national party and one that pushes the national party victories as victories for locals.

    The ad doesn’t mention Obamacare or, better, the ACA by name. In fact if you don’t already know what the ad is talking about its unclear what its talking about. For all the viewer knows this was a local, uncontroversial, vote to help one woman with a pre-existing condition. The message is “Mark Begich is a nice guy” but it doesn’t do anything to help us turn the tide on anti-government sentiment or anti ACA beliefs.

    I’d like to see tons of ads like this run but the ad should end with

    “And I’m not the only one the ACA helped” and then scroll down a list of pre-existing conditions that now don’t bar you from getting health care, the closing of the donut hole, the ability for parents to keep their kids on their health care, etc..etc…etc…

  5. 5
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Good ad.

    I know it’s never going to happen, but it would be hilarious for the Palin bimbo to run against Begich. The “Death Panels” make it so that woman has health insurance again. Go ahead, Sarah. Make our day!

  6. 6
    Joel says:

    It’s a good ad; I wonder if it depends on the *type* of red state you’re running in. I would think that a red state with younger voters overall will be more amenable to this type of message. The get off my lawn types are immutable.

  7. 7
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Ultraviolet Thunder: Not to worry. There will be a dearth of FPers this afternoon to balance things out.

  8. 8
    EriktheRed says:

    This is how you run on your vote for Obamacare in a red state.

    Indeed, sir.


  9. 9
    kbuttle says:

    And I figured out what that way is: the Outrage Infrastructure will freak out be a use the ad is effective, Glenn Kessler will label it “partly true” because they don’t say “Obamacare” and “socialism” specifically, chastened Dems will apologise and promise never to do it again.

  10. 10
    some guy says:

    excellent ad. “Fought the insurance companies” is a great way to run on the ACA without mentioning the ACA. the concrete things the ACA does (like no pre-existing denials, etc) connected with an actual person who actually benefited is a great strategy.

  11. 11
    Baud says:

    Whether or not it’s good strategy, GOS had a story that Dems were focused on fundraising now rather than spending a lot of money airing ads this early.

  12. 12
    some guy says:


    Begich’s task is to get re-elected, not to improve the standings of the Democratic Party, either in Alaska or the US. by winning he improves both, but his task is to win 50% +1 of the actual voters in Alaska.

  13. 13
    aimai says:

    @some guy: Yes, I know what “his task” is but its a complicated dance that has to be done to get blue dog democrats elected in red states without further damaging the national party’s priorities and goals. In the case of Senators better a weak dem than a strong republican but look at Manchin in West Virginia for someone who undermines Democratic initiatives and democratic popularity with almost every breath he takes.

  14. 14
    Fred says:


  15. 15
    some guy says:


    agree wholeheartedly about Manchin. but “PutAlaskaFirst” is Begich’s PAC, so why should his PAC be concerned with what the national Dems do/say/stand for? If I was one of Begich’s donors and he started running ads specifically defending the ACA rather than trying to get Begich re-elected I would be one unhappy donor.

  16. 16
    maximiliano furtive, formerly known as dr. bloor says:

    The message is “Mark Begich is a nice guy” but it doesn’t do anything to help us turn the tide on anti-government sentiment or anti ACA beliefs.

    Mark Begich isn’t trying to get Alaskans to think nice things about the Big Bad Government or Obamacare. He couldn’t if he tried. He’s trying to get re-elected, and this ad is pitch perfect.

    Edit–what Some Guy said.

  17. 17
    MattF says:

    Also– and here, I know, my own prejudices are showing– It’s possible that the right-wing alternate reality is crossing the wtf line. Benghazi, the IRS, Fast and Furious, Obamacare, not to mention that impeachable Moosim radical Kenyan Alinskyite Obambi. I do believe that at some point people will collectively just roll their eyes and note the width of the gap between reality and tea-ality.

  18. 18
    eric says:

    @aimai: I could not disagree more (respectfully, of course). I think that this is the way to go. Tout what you did, not the name of what you did. This is what the Dems did. The whole point is to make the GOP agree with what the democrats did. Polls show that people love what Obamacare did but dont like it by name. So run on what it did. I would do this over and over. The people that benefit from the reform are not poor black people getting handouts, as the GOP likes to sell it to poor white voters. It helped all people of limited means to protect their lives and livelihood. When there are debates you make the GOP agree to the individual items then you explain that the ONLY bill that ever did this was the one you voted for and your opponent voted against. Then you say I dont vote on bills because of their names or who proposed them, i vote on them based on what they do for ordinary Americans.

  19. 19
    Elizabelle says:

    Great ad.

    I disbelieve the punditubbies and journalists who are telling us Obamacare is going to hurt, hurt, hurt the Democrats in the fall elections.

    Glad to see Mark Begich doing this.

    I wish more Democrats would do so. Push back against the ugliness and lies.

    Plus: Medicaid expansion is a JOB CREATOR in those states that accept it.

  20. 20
    Elizabelle says:

    K-Thug has an amazing column up: Health Care Nightmares.

    And the recommended readers comments are just as good.

  21. 21
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @aimai: I disagree. the message is not that Begich is a nice guy. The message is “because of Begich, I have health insurance.”

    @eric: I agree.

  22. 22
    MomSense says:


    What kills me about this is where are our media now? They loved to endlessly bemoan problems with the website but why aren’t they discussing the people who have died and who will die all because some Republican Governors are punishing poor people to prove a point they already lost.

  23. 23
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:


    That’s outstanding. I just posted it to FB. Now I’ll stand clear of the exploding heads for a few hours.

  24. 24
    Baud says:


    Really good column. The clarity of the message was exemplary.

  25. 25
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:


    What kills me about this is where are our media now?

    “Government = Bad” is a durable meme that’s easy to perpetuate. Debunking it by citing contrary evidence would require work on their part. Given the choice between work and no work, laziness wins.

  26. 26
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @MomSense: The vermin of the Village are hard wired as selfish Rethuglican assholes. Their first instinct, their second instinct, and their third instinct is to attack any plan by a Democratic administration without the slightest regard to facts.

    Wipe them out. All of them.

  27. 27
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Ultraviolet Thunder:

    “Government = Bad” is a durable meme that’s easy to perpetuate.

    “Perpetuate” is actually optimistic…. How long have the GOP been the party of fiscal responsibility? And when was the last time they presided over a surplus? How long have the Democrats been ‘weak on defense’?

    This state of affairs will persist until everyone who remembers Reagan is in their grave.

  28. 28
    Elizabelle says:


    I would not think it would be that hard to find a former journalist who lost a job in a downsizing or whatever, and is now in dire straits and scrabbling to afford health insurance. In a red state or not.

    Even an aspiring journalist.

    Chronicle that, if they like.

    There are plenty of other stories around the country of those dying from lack of healthcare or healthcare provided too late.

    60 Minutes had a great segment Sunday night on a mobile health van in southwest Virginia, staffed by 2 nurses. One of the patients profiled — a lady in her 50s or 60s just diagnosed — was dead of lung and brain cancer by the time the show aired.

    Did you guys see the 60 Minutes segment?

  29. 29
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Davis X. Machina:
    I think that’s it’s become tribal.There’s a large segment of the country that’s been future shocked into complete defensiveness. No matter what, that segment is against anything new. They’re purposefully poorly educated, struggling and overloaded. It won’t get better until it gets a lot worse.

  30. 30
    Elizabelle says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    I wonder if we could get the good ones to turn against the others.

    Why are they all pretending that Fox News is the same thing as Edward R. Murrow, in public at least?

    Myself, I would hate being in a profession filled with high profile hacks. One has to distinguish oneself from the rest.

  31. 31
    Elizabelle says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    Tribal is the word, too.

    Politics as contact sport. My team good, no matter what.

  32. 32
    Elizabelle says:


    That’s K-Thug for you.

  33. 33
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: The post-Civil War south was like that — we’re seeing it replicated but due to technology and such, it’s possible to do that in a disseminated, geographically non-contiguous way. You can now get regional irredentism without an actual region.

  34. 34
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    This is true. The media have been in the tank for the GOP for so long they’re growing fins and gills. There are numerous reasons for this, but I think a major one is that the media need scary things to keep viewers engaged and the GOP does an outstanding job of delivering scare stories. I doubt the content matters much as long as the rubes don’t change the channel. Democrats just don’t generate compelling copy.

  35. 35
    aimai says:

    @some guy: The question was “is this a good way for all dems to go with their advertising” not “was this a good way for Begich’s PAC to go.” For all of us Dems with a national platform, fighting for national acceptance of the ACA and the legitimacy of a Democratic presidency, its not a good way.

  36. 36
    MomSense says:


    I’ll go look for that segment. There are some stories here and there but it seems that the stories that illustrate the suffering of people who are caught in the Medicaid gap don’t have the same traction as the stories about people losing their health insurance. And those losing their health insurance stories were mostly presented without any context.

  37. 37
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    I completely repudiate aimai.

  38. 38
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Davis X. Machina:
    “irredentism” I doff my hat.

  39. 39
    🌷 Martin says:

    Happy Grilled Cheese Sandwich day, everyone! Y’all have properly planned lunch, correct? I don’t want to hear about any heretics out there eating cheeseburgers or friday night leftovers. This is one of our most sacred holidays. Do America proud.

  40. 40
    Elizabelle says:

    @Ultraviolet Thunder:

    The media have been in the tank for the GOP for so long they’re growing fins and gills.

    Calling driftglass!

    And good comment. Fear and controversy sell, and it’s the GOP’s product.

    A story about infrastructure development? zzzzzz ….

  41. 41
    Elizabelle says:

    Here’s the 60 Minutes link on the Healthwagon.

  42. 42
    JPL says:

    @MomSense: CNN’s reporters are busy reporting things that are missing, whether it be planes or white girls. MSNBC is busy talking about Christie.

  43. 43
    Elizabelle says:

    Note this at the end of the CBS story:

    For the working poor with no health insurance in Appalachia, the Health Wagon is often their only option for medical care.

    Obamacare was supposed to change all of this,” says Pelley. “These folks, many of whom work full time at minimum wage, make too much money in those states to qualify for Medicaid, but they don’t make enough money even to buy insurance on the health care exchanges. So at least five million Americans now fall through this gap. And they’re in the same place they always were, without health insurance and unable to buy it.”

    Excuse me?

    No word about Republican governors and legislatures who refuse to expand Medicaid?

    That Obama done f*cked things up agin.

    (And whose message gets out to more Americans, let’s be honest: 60 Minutes/the CBS website, or Paul Krugman’s column in the paywalled New York Times?)

  44. 44
    Elizabelle says:


    In fairness, Christie’s future as president seems to be missing.

    Maybe not enough, though.

  45. 45
    MomSense says:


    That is exactly the problem. They portray this as a failure of Obamacare rather than Republican governors and legislatures playing politics with people’s lives. It is absolutely outrageous that Pelley would give the Republicans cover like that.

  46. 46
    JPL says:

    @MomSense: In GA rural hospitals are closing because of Obamacare according to the news.

  47. 47
    Elizabelle says:


    I really wish the hospitals and health clinics serving the previously uninsured (and under-served or underinsured) would not close until it’s evident that those with health insurance via Medicaid can find physicians and providers.

    We seem to have a mismatch there at present, and ending the “free” care will really take away these folks’ non-ER choices.

    That would make a good story.

    Know any media outlets that might cover it? (Fairly?)

  48. 48
    cckids says:


    It’s possible that the right-wing alternate reality is crossing the wtf line.

    Well, I know within my own family, the most ardent right-wingers have moved from OMG Obama Apocolypse! to a non-voting “a pox on both their houses” attitude.

    They’ll never vote for a Democrat, but they are disillusioned from voting, and none of the Repubs being talked about trips their trigger in any way. Too nuts, too openly mean, too . . . themselves.

    I’ll take it.

  49. 49
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    Okay to put bacon and tomato in the sandwich? I was thinking of having that for supper tonight, and I didn’t even know it was Grilled Cheese Day until you told me.

  50. 50
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @JPL: Have to show those *gg*rs somehow that they don’t run the show, get don’t get Medicaid, don’t get anything.

    There’ll be some collateral damage among the good people of Georgia, but no (counter)-revolution without martyrs, right?

  51. 51
    RaflW says:

    @some guy:

    “Fought the insurance companies” is a great way to run on the ACA without mentioning the ACA. the concrete things the ACA does (like no pre-existing denials, etc) connected with an actual person who actually benefited is a great strategy.

    Right. And it pushes on the GOP bullshit repeal+replace crap. Because no GOP proposal has any real pre-existing condition coverage. Just look at their “continuous coverage” idea, its total junk for how real people’s lives work.

  52. 52
    🌷 Martin says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Yes, so long as it otherwise maintains the necessary bread/cheese/grilled structure. FSM would approve of accessorizing.

  53. 53
    WereBear says:

    @🌷 Martin: This will become Mr WereBear’s special holiday.

  54. 54
    🌷 Martin says:

    @WereBear: I’m a strict adherent of all of the sandwich-related holidays.

  55. 55
    RaflW says:


    What kills me about this is where are our media now? They loved to endlessly bemoan problems with the website but why aren’t they discussing the people who have died…

    Political problems, esp Democratic political problems, are delicious catnip for media. People dying because of GOP decisions? Major downer, dude. Think of the ratings, please.

  56. 56
    semperfi123 says:

    I read on some blog site that the NSA is using Obamacare signups to collect information about people. They stated that “two people familiar with the situation confimed it”

    So it must be true. Just thought you Snowden groupies should know.

  57. 57
    Ruckus says:

    The MSM is here to inform?


    M.o.n.e.y. Full Stop. They don’t have an agenda to inform or misinform, their agenda is to make money. That they have sold a lot of us this bill of goods that they are honest, and report the truth is one of the best con jobs ever.

  58. 58
    some guy says:


    no, that was YOUR question, the question mistermix asked was “[is this] how you run on your vote for Obamacare in a red state.” I think the answer is yes, absolutely, you show local people who have benefited from specific provisions of the ACA. And while we all know the ACA was a giveaway to the insurance companies, “fighting the insurance companies” was (and is) a major component of these specific changes to healthcare delivery. Local voters in Red States need to be reminded of how their Blue Dog fought for real people like their neighbors.

  59. 59
    JGabriel says:

    Note well. This ad avoids the eight magic words that would subject it to fundraising or broadcasting restrictions – which also a smart move.

  60. 60
    neoconstantine says:

    Perfect Ad – One Person. One County. One State. One Story. This should be a perfect model for Dems going into election season but of course the powers that be will miss it. Guaranteed.

    In 2014 and 2016 we have to run on the success of the ACA, Immigration Reform, Income Inequality and the Bush Torture Program. Everything else is politically unimportant. The Republicans want to destroy you and if you don’t hammer the fuckers mercilessly when they’re down, they will rise up like fucking zombies and eat your brains.

    Don’t debate or engage on an equal playing field. Never give them a break. Cheat and lie better than they do. Smash the motherfuckers and walk away laughing. These are the last free elections. After this, the money-pigs will take over completely and it serves us right.

    We are, as Lawrence said about the squabbling Arabs in that film, “a little people, a silly people.”

  61. 61
    Origuy says:

    @🌷 Martin: Do quesadillas qualify? That’s what’s on the menu tonight.

  62. 62
    Ilia says:

    I hate the “beat cancer” meme. Her cancer is gone thanks to some combination of luck, early diagnosis, skilled doctors, excellent nurses, and good family support. Plenty of good, hard-working people “lose” the fight to cancer because they were unlucky, had late diagnosis, didn’t get referred in time, or had a crappy social situation.

  63. 63
    stonetools says:

    I think that aimai must be from a Blue State, where you don’t have millions of white working class voters who have been programmed to foam at the mouth and to stop listening at the very mention of that black man’s program proposed by that blakitty blak blak man in the White House. The way you get them to even listen to you has to be the soft sell, in which you stress the benefits of the health insurance program to someone who looks like them all the while carefully avoiding mention of He Who Must Not Be Named. Later, as the program’s success builds, you can be more forthcoming.
    I think the best way to look at the ad is as a template. In Blue States you can plug in language explicitly mentioning the ACA and Obama and use it to drive turnout to the polls to defend the ACA against those who defeat it. In the Red States you leave out the language that triggers the unreasoning tribal response.In both places you stress the benefits and not the name or the person who proposed it.
    The good thing about all of this is that the Republicans have no good response. Are they going to really be for reinstating discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions, like say, pregnancy? About all they can do is mindlessly repeat their talking points about how Obamacare is going to be a disaster-which can’t work if it looks like its going to be a success.

  64. 64
    stonetools says:


    Excuse me?

    No word about Republican governors and legislatures who refuse to expand Medicaid?

    That Obama done f*cked things up agin.

    While I do think CBS wrongfully pulled its punches here ( probably in a misguided effort to appear “balanced”) , I think they did set the table for the Democrats to pummel the Republicans on the issue of Medicaid expansion-something they aren’t doing enough yet. It seems clear the MSM just isn’t going to do the Democrats’ punching for them-even when they should. Time for the Democrats to step up and start swinging.

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