I am a proud Democrat. I am proud to belong to a party that defends the rights of the everyday man (and woman). I am proud to belong to a party that has given us the most intelligent (and articulate) presidents.
However, I get furious at the utter incompetence of my party when it comes to political messaging. For starters, this is the party that has chosen a jackass, the dumbest animal on earth, as its mascot. Need I say more? Yes, actually.
The Republicans, in turn, chose the elephant as their mascot, an animal known for its intelligence and for its presence (as in “the elephant in the room”).
Besides this, the Republicans are communication spin masters. When Democrats started calling the Republicans “The Party of No,” Sarah Palin responded by saying:
“if … the other side [is] proposing an idea that violates our ideals, our values, violates our conscience, violates our Constitution. What’s wrong with being the party of no? We will oppose it. Party of no? Nah. We’re the party of hell no.”
Believe me, I am in no way, shape or form a Sarah Palin fan, but frankly, I took my hat off to her when I read that statement. She immediately turned a negative label into a positive one, and as a result, she neutralized the Democrats. When was the last time you heard someone say, “The Party of No”? I rest my case.
Now, every time I hear the term “Obamacare”, I wonder why the Democrats were not as adept as the Republicans to turn this term into the positive one that it can be. Why didn’t the Democrats realize early on that “Obamacare” was actually a gift from the Republicans?
Democrats should have owned this term and defended all the good that it stands for. Democrats should have taken up the chant “Obamacare because Obama cares”. After all, we are talking about a plan that:
- Prohibits denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions.
- Prevents insurance companies from dropping your coverage when you get sick.
- Eliminates yearly and lifetime caps on insurance coverage.
- Reduces out-of-pocket expenses.
- Allows coverage for policyholder’s unemployed children until the age of 26.
- Requires insurance companies to provide coverage for preventive care.
If instead of running away from Obamacare, Democrats would have known how to communicate about it, we might not have lost the House in the 2010 mid-term elections. But more importantly, the majority of Americans would have supported it, thus neutralizing Republican opposition. In other words, we would not find ourselves, today, holding our breath for a decision from the Supreme Court—an entity that showed just how politically neutral they are with the 2000 Bush vs. Gore decision.
Obamacare may not be perfect, but it is a good foundation on which to build an even better healthcare system. A foundation that has the best interest of the individual patients, not that of the insurance companies, at heart. It is a start, a vision drawn by a President who cares more for the American people than do those who have stopped at nothing to make him fail, including turning the words “Obama” and “care” into bad ones.