Turning the Democrats' favorite tactic against them

Noemie Emery:
Irked at the gall of Republicans in using the Democrats' votes for health care against them, liberals have discovered a plot that is even more sinister: the GOP is using "anecdotes" (i.e., the stories of people who have been hurt by the measure) in an effort to take the Left down.

By "anecdotes" they mean stories like the those of Edie Littlefield Sundby, the stage-four cancer patient who can't keep her old team of physicians; the parents who can't take children to the hospitals at which they were formerly treated; the people having trouble paying their premiums; or the story related in the Wall Street Journal on Monday by Stephen Blackwood, whose mother, also suffering from a rare form of cancer, can no longer get access to the medicines that have kept her alive.

This isn't quite what the Left had expected. Last year, Obamacare-a-war-on-bros.html">Jonathan Chait mocked the frustrated quest of the Right for Obamacare victims, as the only ones likely were selfish rich people, and "neither the medical specialist nor the hospital executive nor the upper-income taxpayer quite offer the politically sympathetic face of the Everyman struggling under Obama's socialist boot."

This was in June. Since October, conservatives have been overrun with sympathetic and lovable Everymen of every description, leaving liberals and their flacks in a war to contain them, culminating in the assault on a leukemia patient in Michigan, where Democratic Senate candidate Gary Peters threatened the license of any television station that runs an ad daring to mention her woes. But this was a problem that the Left has created in forming a plan to fund new enlistees by squeezing the middle in money and coverage. Its mistake was in thinking that those hurt wouldn't notice, or, failing this, wouldn't care.

When the first wave of cancellations hit the individual market and Bill Clinton suggested his party make efforts to "fix" it, Jonathan Cohn helpfully told him no fixes were needed and that this simply proved that the whole thing was working: Middle-class angst wasn't a bug in the feature, this was the idea all along.

The best excuse one can make for Cohn (and President Obama) is that they were too naive to realize the damage this would wreak on the national market, and too dense politically to comprehend the impression that the cries of the wounded would make. They thought this would affect a small number of people who could buy new plans they loved on the exchanges, and that the praises of those who were helped by the program would drown out the protests of those who were hurt.
Peters "attack the victim strategy" also is backfiring on him and other Democrats.  They are floundering trying to come up with some counter to the ads and so far are only digging their hole deeper.  They need to admit that the whole Obamacare scheme was a massive screw up that can't be fixed and must be replaced.  Until they do that they will continue to see a series of the victims they created explaining why it is a mistake to trust Democrats with your healthcare.


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