Son, I Am Disappoint: The Terror Of OBAMACARE

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 8.442% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

If I was a kid listening to the news, I’d think OBAMACARE was some troll that lived under a bridge and ate people’s hearts.  The word gets tossed around like a football – and I mean that literally.  Have the Democrats fumbled OBAMACARE?  No, wait, the Republicans have got their hands on it!  No, wait, the Supreme Court saved OBAMACARE!  Who’s winning in the great OBAMACARE game?
And I’m pissed at Obama, because for a legislative package that’s literally got his name on it, he doesn’t seem to care that anyone understands what it does.
Look, I voted for Obama on the strength of one book: The Audacity of Hope made me think, “Man, this is a guy who knows how to communicate complicated ideas.  This is who I want in office, pushing my Democratic agenda.”
Instead, what I got was a genius politician.  Seriously.  For all of the Republican smear campaigns crying, “Why, he’s as inexperienced as a child!  He’ll paw like a confused kitten at the levers of government if elected!”, they forgot that Obama got his start in backroom-dominated Chicago, and wouldn’t have gotten as far as he had if he didn’t understand the rules of the game.  So he snuck through Obamacare in what was a magnificent act of legislative juggling, making all the right concessions to do something no other President has ever been able to do.
The problem is, he was so busy getting shit done in the halls of Congress that he forgot to speak to the streets.  And FOX News and company dominated the conversation, talking about OBAMACARE as though it was a dirty bomb someone had smuggled into a church.  Did the man on the street know what OBAMACARE did?  Fuck no.  But he DID know that Obama had pulled off kind of a sneaky trick to pass it, and Obama certainly hadn’t stumped for it in the same way he’d run for election, and he decided that OBAMACARE didn’t pass the sniff test.
So America dislikes it.  And they STILL don’t fucking know what it does.  The number of times I saw this “Explain Obamacare to me like I’m five” link passed around Twitter by people expressing surprise (“Oh, it does THAT?”) by progressives was amazing.  Here’s Twitter, where people are usually a little more politically involved, and here’s liberals, who should have a good grasp on the overall picture, and they’re still like, “What?”  To this day, when I’ve seen people polled on the individual things that Obamacare provides, and the results appear to be, “Yeah, I like that.  And I like that.  And that’s good.  But I despise OBAMACARE like it was the love child of Hitler and Sauron!”
I do not think, as many conservatives would have me believe, that the man on the street has done a complex analysis of the many contributing factors of the insurance companies and the overall economic picture and the long-term effects and come on the downside.
I believe, rather, that Obama’s done such an astonishingly shitty job of touting his plan that people don’t actually know what benefits it provides.
So now that it’s officially here to stay, why isn’t Obama taking ads out in every state talking about what OBAMACARE does?  Why aren’t there thirty-second commercials saying, “My child got cancer, and when I switched jobs the insurance company told me they wouldn’t insure him because, well, he had cancer.  Thanks to Obamacare, they can no longer deny children for pre-existing conditions.”  Or “My insurance company turned me down for treatment for my emphysema.  No reason.  They didn’t have to tell me why, and if I didn’t like it all I could do was hire a lawyer.  Now, thanks to Obamacare, there’s an appeals process I can go to without having to spend $2,000 to retain an attorney.”
Why is Obama so concerned with passing laws and so little concerned with changing hearts?  There’s a lot that people like in this bill, and he’s inextricably associated with it.  If people think better of it, they’ll think better of him.  So why is OBAMACARE still treated like a ticking time bomb that Jack Bauer needs to defuse, its innards mysterious?
That’s fucktastic long-term politics.  Yes, Obama, you passed the law and the Supreme Court, by luck more than skill, upheld it.  (I don’t think anyone saw Roberts coming down on your side, son.)  But because America’s still treating OBAMACARE like it’s a tumor in the genitals, but if they understood it, then at least they’d see that there are tradeoffs.
Obama needs to start using some of the Audacity of Hope on America, explaining the healthcare bill’s strengths in a bombardment.  Otherwise, it’ll remain so hated that legislators will have voter support in getting rid of it, without the voters even really understanding what they’re doing.
(And yes, he’ll get pushback from the Republicans on it, but at this point Obama literally can’t talk about pushups without Republicans bitching about it.  Blowback is not an excuse for inaction, because frankly there are enough stupid-crazy conservatives who feel Obama’s doing too much by drawing breath.)

1 Comment

  1. John Arkwright
    Jul 10, 2012

    You have more faith in politicians’ abilities to fix everything than I have. I only believe in God. I can’t bring myself to believe in either O or W.

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