Let’s get Meta.
There’s a meme running around teh interwebz trying to explain the implosion of healthcare reform, the upshot of which is Democrats are pussies and can’t fight trench warfare against the ominous Rove-inspired disinformation machine. Apparently they are so weak-willed that a ex-Governor who lost a VP bid can just mutter about “Death Panels” on Facebook and they melt into goo like the Wicked Witch of the West.
Here’s the one thing. We have the most nasty dirty-fighting opportunistic power grab going on in Washington right now. The Democrats are fully in control, and the Republican party is completely irrelevant after spending eight years slamming itself in the face with the ball-peen hammer called George W. Bush. You want to know what happened to health care reform? The Democrats killed it, all by themselves. They passed out the torches and pitchforks and didn’t even realize what they were doing.
Here is a ten step guide on how to completely squander the high-water mark of your party’s dominance.
Mistake one: Blow all your political capital on passing two huge controversial bills before even attempting your capstone plan.
Mistake two: Throw everything in at the same time. Why narrowly focus on a single item and come up with a proposal to fix it when you can throw everything at the wall at once in a huge malignant tumor of legislation that insures that there’s at least one show-stopping revelation for just about everyone.
Mistake three: Fail to make a case that something needs to be fixed. When a major selling point is Obama saying, “If you like what you have, nothing will change,” and 70% of the population like what they have, they start wondering why you’re doing anything. When you’re pimping legislation based on all the things it ain’t going to do (like unplug grandma) you are failing to make an argument for it.
Mistake four: Make the patently stupid assertion that “new massive entitlement” = “saving money.” Compound that by complaining about the CBO like a whiny little brat when the budget impact figures are released.
Mistake five: Make bad jokes about not reading these massive bills, so you look like an arrogant tool.
Mistake six: Call your opposition un-American Nazis.
Mistake seven: Say the public option is not an essential component of the package, except when it is, and say the media is doing everyone a disservice by reporting what you actually said.
Mistake eight: Ask citizens to report on people making “fishy” claims about health care reform. When someone points out how Orwellian that is, just say “oops, our bad.”
Mistake nine: Repeatedly claim it’s all the evil Republicans’ fault that you can’t move a bill though your until-recently filibuster-proof Senate. Yeah, it’s the Republicans. They’re not being bipartisan, the bastards.
Mistake ten: If someone releases a video of you enthusiastically supporting single payer, don’t rely on the old standby of claiming your position has evolved. Don’t say that, while single payer is your preference, you’re open to other approaches. Don’t even claim out-of-context quoting. No, instead have a shill release another web-video flatly stating the original video of you is “disinformation” and combat it with other videos of you saying something completely different.
Bonus Mistake eleven: Proclaim that the time for debate is over just as your proposal really starts tanking.