To an illustrator, a cardinal sin is getting your metaphor wrong. Leave it to the GOP. Sen. Jim De Mint, who recently called for health care reform to be Obama’s Waterloo, is a case in point. He should have said that it would be his “Willet’s Creek.” The better metaphor is Frank Capra’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, in which, you’ll remember, the young naif accidentally steps on the boss’ toes and eventually and painfully discovers who really runs things in Washington. The Taylor Machine in the film crushes him with public opinion. Telegrams ginned up by a controlled media put the finishing touches on Smith and his bill. The fix is in (Capra’s Hollywood ending notwithstanding).
Mr. Obama’s health care bill is stuck in the August recess, now hanging out in the open for a one-million-dollar-a-day ad campaign by well-oiled Insurance and Big Pharma industries. Already people are frightened out of their skulls with nonsense about old people being driven to suicide.
And now the results are coming in. In the new NY Times/CBS poll we see the numbers change in just 30 days…and these are the first 30 days.
Very concerned that a “government program” will force your health care to get worse? In June, 28 percent, now July 41 percent. Should the government guarantee health insurance for all Americans? June 64 percent, July 55 percent. Would you be required to change doctors? June 33 percent, July 37 percent.
The numbers creep with the onslaught of the campaign. So now it’s August. The bill is stalled, just as the industry and GOP and Blue Dog Dems wanted. The Congress goes on holiday and the ads and the right-wing echo chamber really can get to work. And they are just warming up.
What is the strategy now? It’s just Obama, his allies, their money, and the common sense that a public may or may not be able to hear anymore. For those who can’t see the clip, here’s what Jeff Smith (played by Jimmy Stewart, screenplay by Sydney Buchman) says before they lower the boom:
Get up with that lady that’s up on top of this Capitol dome…take a look at this country through her eyes if you really want to see something. And you won’t just see scenery. You’ll see the whole parade of what man’s carved up for himself after centuries of fighting. And fighting for something better than just jungle law. But fighting so’s he can stand on his own two feet and be free and decent, like he was created…There’s no place out there for graft, or greed or lies or compromise with human liberties…And it’s not too late. Because this country is bigger than the Taylors or you or me or anything else. Great principles don’t get lost when they come to light. They’re right here. You just have to see them again.