When it comes to selling Obamacare, Democrats are certain that it’s not the steak, it’s the sizzle

juicy-steakThe old advertising adage holds that “It’s not the sizzle, it’s the steak.”  Rightly or wrongly, I’ve understood this to mean that, even if a brilliant advertising campaign gets a product into consumer’s homes, if the first purchasers end up not liking the product, you’re not going to get a second wave of purchasers.  Instead, you’ll get a second little swell, followed by a trickle, followed by nothing but a dead-in-the-water product.

Eugene Robinson, however, who has been one of Obamacare’s most stalwart cheerleaders, thinks sizzle is all one needs when it comes to evaluating Obamacare’s merits and popularity.  In a rah-rah column celebrating Obamacare’s triumph, Robinson boasts about how the numbers of uninsured have decreased by millions.  (For purposes of this post, we’ll ignore that when it comes to Obamacare most of the millions who bought Obamacare on the exchanges were the previously insured who were kicked off their beloved policies by . . . Obamacare.  We’ll also ignore the fact that people didn’t voluntarily step up to buy this sizzling new government product; they were forced to do so.  And lastly, we’ll also ignore that the largest number of new insureds are now covered under Medicaid, which isn’t real insurance.  Picayune details, right?):

new report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that, despite all the problems with the HealthCare.gov Web site launch, 12 million people who previously lacked insurance will obtain coverage this year. By 2017, the year Obama leaves office, the CBO predicts that an additional 14 million uninsured will have managed to get coverage .

And so it goes for another 14 boastful paragraphs:  The numbers don’t lie!  More people have insurance!  Republicans are mean-spirited idiots!  (Robinson is writing for the WaPo, so his language is more refined than that, but the point is the same.)  What I didn’t see anywhere in Robinson’s victory dance was a discussion about the steak behind the sizzle.

Yes, people have dug deep into their pockets to buy mandatory sizzle.  But by pretty significant numbers, these purchasers don’t seem thrilled with the product.  The previously insured, having been forced into the system as official subsidizers, have come face-to-face with the Obamacare steak behind the sizzle and learned that Obamacare is a maggot-ridden, rotten piece of gristly meat.  Their insurance premiums and deductibles have sky-rocketed and their doctors have waved them goodbye.  The really sick ones, the ones who used to survive thanks to a carefully-built, delicate infrastructure of special doctors and hospitals, have found themselves flung, communist-style, back into the general ward.

Nor is there any indication that America’s poverty-stricken sick people are benefitting from the middle-class subsidizers’ downgrade to Castro-style medical care.  I pointed out a few weeks ago that the word from the trenches is that the really poor have no intention of changing their ways.  They like that they pay nothing per month (as opposed to a low, subsidized fee), and they’d rather get the best doc at the ER instead of the worst doc at the regular clinic.  In other words, nobody wins, but the middle class loses.

Robinson seems quite convinced that the American people will be so happy that they have insurance that they won’t care that they don’t have the health insurance to go with it.  The Obama administration, having forced upon them the sizzle, can go home happy without providing the steak.

Is Robinson right?  Have our American expectations become so low that we’re happy merely to own a product, never mind that it doesn’t work as promised?  Are we so desperately afraid of being castigated as some sort of “ist” or “phobic” (racist, classist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic) that we will no longer protest when our representatives provide us with fraud and bad service?

Currently, the greatest threat to small government is the rising numbers of illegal immigrants who Democrats hope will create a permanent lock in the Democrat vote.  (And the RINOs go along because the Chamber of Commerce wants cheap labor.)  The current guesstimate seems to be that, if amnesty passes, Democrats will get about 8 million newly-minted, locked-in-Democrat formerly illegal alien voters.  This 8 million number works, though, only if other Americans continue to stay home.

Think about it:  As of 2012, America had around 313 million people, of whom about 126.5 million turned out in 2012, a presidential election year.  In 2008, best estimates were that there were about 227 million Americans who could have voted.  (I couldn’t find 2012 numbers on potential voters, but I assume they’re similar.)  In other words, around 100 million people stayed home in 2012.

Are all of these “stay at homes” Democrat voters?  Or are there tens of millions of latent Republican voters staying home?  (We know Evangelicals retreated to their homes on election days after the 80s ended.)

If the majority of non-voters like our country as it was (individual freedom, not government servitude), and wish that it could be that way again, are the events we’re facing sufficient to rouse them?  If that giant can be awakened, the 8 million “bought and paid for” illegal immigrant votes will be as nothing.

Or more cruelly, are the 100 million silent Americans silent because they truly don’t care?  Are they are so sedated with their  continuous pop culture diet (a la the proles in 1984), that nothing can rouse them.

When I heard Trevor Loudon speak, he correctly said that Republicans don’t win votes by trying to convince Independents to side with them.  Instead, they win votes by exciting their base, because an excited base becomes a parade, and others want to join in.  That’s why he suggested that whoever wins the Republican primaries, or — even better — whoever’s even thinking of entering the primaries, boast a full ticket, from president down to the last cabinet member, that offers something to everyone in the base.

I continue to think that’s a brilliant idea, although I’m not invested in the ticket he proposes.  It’s enough that we offer a package, not a lone man whom the drive-by media will savage.  I do wonder, though, whether an exciting package, coupled with a hunk of fetid, rotten, maggoty Obamasteak, will rouse the sleeping 100 million Americans who can’t usually be bothered to get to the polling booth.  And if those two things — a dynamic ticket and a horrifying “fundamental change to America” — are enough only to sway the malleable independents, rather than to reach the stay-at-homes, will the independents’ numbers be sufficient to beat back, not just the 8 million illegals, but the predictable votes from dead people and those with multiple personalities.

All of which gets me back to Robinson’s article:  Is his confidence that sizzle is enough to declare Obamacare a success the result of cognitive dissonance and denial, or does Robinson have a much more accurate reading of the American people than conservatives do?


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  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    They think Obamacare is numbers up because they thought the Lancet had the numbers on Iraqi casualties.
    These people think whatever they are told to think. The same goes for a significant super majority of independents, who aren’t as independent as people would like to think. Crowd management, mob rule, and democratic tyranny are propaganda that affects everyone. There is no absolute immunity and only people who think they are high up, would consider that as a point of benefaction.

  • Spartacus

    Dinesh D’Souza, in 2016: Obama’s America, makes a compelling argument that the inner demons which animate Barack’s soul hold as the objects of their wrath the 1) Christianity,  2) Capitalism, and 3) Colonialism which his grandfather and father so hated.  Hence the name of Bill Ayers’s biography of him, Dreams From My Father.  His simplistic worldview is to destroy these things by supporting their opposites, with all the thoughtful deliberation of a man hacking madly away at the rubber liferaft which sustains him in the middle of the ocean.
    But I get this nagging hunch every so often that a fourth category was left on the cutting room floor:  Truth.  Maybe it’s just a sampling bias of the streams of information produced by the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy (TM), but it seems the rare exception that Barack can be bothered to put down his golf clubs and go stand behind a microphone unless there’s a lie that needs to be told.  It’s as if Truth, like the other three, is an Overdog, and he’s for the Underdogs.  Or perhaps that Truth will take care of itself, and given that… there’s golf to be played.
    Mrs. Bookworm, you posed the question with careful neutrality, but it can’t have escaped your notice that Mr. Robinson is a flack, hack, and shill, and never to be taken seriously.  The point of all of the above is that the president sets the tone and the example, and Mr. Robinson seems to be imitating his master in rushing out only when there’s a bald-faced lie to be told.  It’s an absurd piece, and the only reason to write it instead of any of a hundred other non-absurd pieces is… political necessity.
    That’s the good news.  The bad news is that the Republicans excitedly have all of the same conversations every four years (and many of the same ones in off-years as well).  “This time” is always going to be different.  Sometimes it is, but more because the tide was flowing in or out than because of that ineffectual thrashing of the water the GOP calls rowing.  The game can indeed be changed, but… it takes a game-changer to do that.  Is Mr. Loudon’s proposal a game-changer?  Certainly not one to bring in half of those 100 million potential voters, but properly done, maybe enough of one.  Definitely better than the circular firing squad.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    The Demoncrats can forge 20 million votes at this time, as I estimate it. They can’t focus it all on one district or state, due to OFA goons and zombie distribution, but without fighting voter fraud, Americans must gain 20 million additional votes for the side of patriotism and love.
    That’s around 90% of what the Dems would gain via immigration reform.
    So long as people ignored that facet of the Left, all their talk of diplomacy, bipartisanship, or elections were meaningless in 07, 08, 10, and 2012. Even the people who want to win the elections, had no clue how the vote was being manufactured, and thus they had no chance of countering it. A problem can only be fixed once you recognize it.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    What Loudon crafted is not a package but an alliance. An alliance to counter the Left’s.
    Did Hussein offer the package of Clinton and Kerry? No, Hussein was competing with Clinton. But that doesn’t matter in an alliance, you see. Power isn’t so much shared as mutual aid is offered.

  • Mike Devx

    I believe that what matters here is what the vast middle thinks of ObamaCare.  Do they care that they’ve voted away a huge chunk of their liberty, freedom, and individual responsibility?  Do they care about Obamacare?  Is their disapproval because it IS NOT Working?  What if it sort of maybe starts working?  Will that be good enough for them to shrug their shoulders and say, “Oh. whatever, I guess it’s OK.”
    I think that’s what the Democrats are thinking, that by November this will be a ho-hum issue.  As long as the program is stumbling along like Frankenstein, sort of doing the sort-of right thing…
    I think the resistance runs deeper than that.  Those high deductibles and high bills, the forced change to new doctors, the new insurance, the lost jobs, the lost hours in the work-week… all of that is not going anywhere.
    Will the Reublicans have the wisdom to stick to theirprinciples?  Will they have the guts to buy in to the idea that ObamaCare ***WILL*** still matter in November?  Or will they get scared and fold their tents and run?  What is the wise choice?  You must choose your summer setup campaign wisely.  The Democrats have chosen theirs.  What will the Republicans choose?