Four years after Tea Party Summer, when the FreedomWorks organization, backed financially by the Brothers Koch, brought hundreds of overwrought and under-informed citizens to Washington, DC to raise hell about government spending in general and healthcare legislation in particular;
Three years after the Congressional debate over the healthcare reform and passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,
Finally, President Obama effectively framed the current situation in Washington in which the Republican-led House of Representatives has accomplished nothing in more than six months and now departed for a five-week August vacation.
In a White House news conference on Friday, the president was asked about Republican threats to shut the government down if appropriations legislation contained funding to continue putting the Affordable Care Act in place in the 50 states. He replied, “The idea that you would shut down the government unless you prevent 30 million people from getting health care is a bad idea.”
Finally! After all this time, President Obama framed the issue in powerful, effective and memorable language that makes a strong case about the real Republican agenda and their endless obstruction of a plan to make healthcare available to more than 30-million Americans who couldn’t afford it before.
Obama also expressed wonder that making sure 30 million people don’t have health care is “the one unifying principle in the Republican Party at the moment.”
“Why is it that my friends in the other party have made the idea of preventing these people from getting health care their holy grail; their number one priority?”
The president also pointed out that Republicans used to say they would replace the law with a better health care proposal. “Repeal and Replace” were the GOP watchwords.
“There’s not even a pretense now,” Obama said. “The notion is simply that those 30 million people, or the 150 million who are benefiting from other aspects of affordable care, will be better off without it. That’s their assertion. Not backed by fact. Not backed by any evidence. It’s just become an ideological fixation. That’s hard to understand as an agenda that’s going to strengthen our middle class.”
Finally, three years after Republicans began to do everything and say anything to derail healthcare for 30 million Americans, President Obama has found the words to fight back effectively. If we see and hear variations of those same words from other Democratic officials and spokespeople: “Making sure 30 million Americans don’t have healthcare is the Republicans’ number one priority,” then we’ll know that Democrats have at long last learned that political debates are usually won by the side that frames issues in a way people hear and remember.
It’s about freaking time!
Dave Helfert has been a political and governmental communicator for more than 30 years, writing speeches for elected officials and candidates, creating media in more than 200 political campaigns, working for six years as a Communications Director in the Clinton Administration and then nine years in the U.S. House.