Wednesday, January 19, 2011


From Bakersfield Californian's  "Politics, Anyone?" ... It appears that our local Congressman Kevin McCarthy is getting his talking points from from GOP wordsmith Frank Luntz, again. Nothing of substance, just talking points that Luntz culled from his focus groups.

Here's what McCarthy has to say about health care, with my comments in bold/brackets. Kevin's references to the Frank Luntz school of political language from 2009 and Luntz' most recent health care survey appear in bold/red ...


“Well, I thank the gentleman for yielding.

First of all let me say, I respect my friends on the other side of the aisle and I do believe you all, like us, want to improve America’s health care system. Congressional Republicans and Democrats don't differ on that goal [this puts McCarthy on the side of reform, which is a Luntz demand; p. 2].  

Where we differ, and differ quite drastically, is on how to accomplish this goal.

And the American people's opinion on health care reform radically differs from that, Mr. Speaker, of President Obama and the Congressional Democrats.

Americans understand that our health care system [Second time referring to it as a "system" instead of "your health care programs"; it appears this reverses Luntz's 2009 call to personalize the debate, by referring to it as Obama's "system" now], warts and all, is still the very best in the world [not so; he's pandering]. We have the best doctors, nurses, hospitals and health innovators in the world. We should be working together to improve the system rather than turning it over to thousands of health care bureaucrats [as opposed to keeping it the hands of tens of thousands of for profit health care insurance bureaucrats?], who believe they can make better choices than patients and doctors.

You know the debate today is a little different than the debate I remember when this bill was passed, Mr. Speaker.

Members are not held over for a weekend vote. There are not protestors outside rallying, wanting to, Mr. Speaker, to have their voices be heard [he's referring to the Tea Baggers absence here]. Today is an open, cordial discussion [because everyone knows that House Republican efforts are a political stunt, and will be derailed in the Senate].

That’s what the American people asked for [we didn't ask for stunts ...], a health care system that works, that doesn't deter [nothing about access or soaring private costs here]. A health care system devised by the patient and doctor [see #7].

Mr. Speaker, our families deserve better, our small businesses deserve better and to all my colleagues, America deserves better [left unsaid is how McCarthy and the vast majority of his congressional colleagues enjoy what they want to deny to 32 million Americans - access to health care, though they don't want anyone to know they chose government health care over private health providers].

Let’s repeal this health care bill. Start to replace it with an open and honest debate where the American people are involved [which includes a role for government], patients are involved, doctors are involved and the American public can have a health care bill that lowers the cost without destroying jobs [disingenuous at best; really just a lie] and health care system that keeps the innovation we know so well. I yield back.”

Several clarifying points here.

First, since President Obama signed health reform into law on March 23, 2010, the economy has created approximately 1.1 million new jobs in the private sector. Second, if the House Republicans were to get their way - and somehow convinced the Senate to repeal the health care bill signed into law by President Obama (they won't) - the American economy would actually lose jobs. Finally, repealing the health care bill would add hundreds of billions to our national debt over the next 10 years.

Congressman McCarthy knows all of this (or should know this). But acknowledging these points would ruin the political narrative the republicans are trying to establish (private sector good, government bad). Specifically, it would undermine their efforts to say "See, we repealed Obamacare, but the Democrats became obstructionists ...".

On the positive side, at least Congressman McCarthy is not referring to the legislation or to his political opponents as "Democrat legislation" or to members of the "Democrat Party" ...

- Mark

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