Sunday, February 24, 2008

Experts Condemn Obama's Health Insurance Attack Mailer

From Larry Johnson's "Harbage, 2/23/08: “As Senator John Edwards former Healthcare Advisor and a currently unaffiliated healthcare reform proponent, I think that anyone familiar with the Harry and Louise campaign from the early 1990s would immediately recognize the similarity between the insurance industry’s attacks and the Obama Campaign’s mailer. This attack simply drives the debate to the lowest common denominator of generating fear.”

Ezra Klein, American Prospect: “When I say that Obama is demagoguing universal health care, this sort of campaign literature is what I’m talking about…The Obama campaign kept their hairstyles and barely even changed their clothing — which is really quite unfair to Harry and Louise, who probably let go of the plaid years back. What’s worse is that the argument they’re making is applicable to any kind of universal health care arrangement, including the arrangements Obama himself will eventually have to adopt.”

Paul Krugman, New York Times, 2/1/08: “Sorry, but this is just destructive — like the Obama plan, the Clinton plan offers subsidies to lower-income families. And BO himself has conceded that he might have to penalize people who don’t buy insurance until they need care. So this is just poisoning the well for health care reform. The politics of hope, indeed…I know that Obama supporters want to hear no evil, but this is really, really bad.”

Trudy Lieberman, Columbia Review of Journalism, 2/4/08: “[Obama’s] new mailer attacking [Senator Clinton’s] proposal resurrects the ghosts of Harry and Louise, the infamous pair in TV commercials sponsored by the insurance industry, which helped sink Bill Clinton’s efforts at reform. In those ads, a man and woman seated at the kitchen table worry that under his plan they wouldn’t be able to choose their doctor. The message: “If we let the government choose, we lose.” In Obama’s mailer, a man and a woman are seated in the same positions at a kitchen table—the woman even has the same long, blonde hair. The message: “Hillary’s plan forces everyone to buy insurance even if you can’t afford it. Is that the best we can do for families struggling with high health care costs?”