Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Controlling the Message, Ctd

The Republican response to Health Care Reform over the past year was to delay, disinform, and generally refuse to cooperate. It seems only fitting that now that reform has passed via reconciliation, Senate Republicans now seek to delay HCR by "vowing to introduce hundreds of amendments" (source: CBS News) to try to force the bill to return to the House.

One of the proposed amendments is one that would deny erectile dysfunction drugs to sex offenders. According to the article linked above, "By opposing that amendment, Democrats are, at least in theory, opening themselves up to charges that they support using government money to provide sex offenders with Viagra -- surely an unpopular position if ever there was one."

Note how CBS is phrasing this debate - if Democrats oppose adding this amendment to Health Care Reform, they SUPPORT giving Viagra to sex offenders. This is a classic example of controlling the message. The real story about this particular amendment isn't whether Democrats support ED drugs for sex offenders - few rational congresspeople would support such a policy. Rather, the story that should matter is, if Republicans were serious about stuff like this, why didn't they work with Democrats during the run up to Health Care Reform to include provisions like this? The fact is Tom Coburn isn't serious about the amendments he's proposing. He's interested in trying to stop a reform that, if anything, is centrist in nature.

I'll give you three guesses as to what message will control this debate, and I'll give you a hint - it's not that Republicans delayed and lied for over a year and are attempting to continue to do so through political actions that could stand on their own aside HCR.

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