What’s Worse: A Liar or a Realist?

ryanIn the wake of the horrendous roll-out of Obamacare, there’s been a new narrative emerging, not just in the political rhetoric flying around Washington, but also in the national media. That narrative is that the Republican Party needs to come up with a comprehensive healthcare solution of their own to present as an alternative to the troubles spawned by the Affordable Care Act.

The talking heads on network news have been asking for it. Congressional Democrats have been asking for it. Even President Obama finally seems interested in hearing what ideas the Republicans have to offer on healthcare – of course framing it in the context of proposed “improvements” to his own healthcare law.

The feeling seems to be – primarily from people on the left but also from some on the right – that it’s not enough for Republicans just to focus on the flaws of Obamacare and loudly point out the hardships the law is causing for millions of Americans. They also need to offer a viable alternative to present to voters during the 2014 elections.

On its surface, the thought seems to make some sense. After all, politicians and pundits are always telling us that the American people are looking for solutions, and not heated rhetoric.

That might be true, but is that the kind of thing that wins elections? Proposed solutions?

It sure doesn’t seem to be.

Back when the Iraq War was acting as a political albatross around the necks of Republicans, there was never any serious pressure being put on Democratic politicians to offer up an alternative solution. Quite the opposite, in fact. Mere opposition to the continuation of the war was enough to gain them majority support from the electorate. And I would argue that the Democratic Party’s repeated calls for a withdrawal date were no more a proposed solution than the Republican Party’s repeated calls for repealing Obamacare.

Do I want the Republican Party to formulate a viable alternative to Obamacare? Sure. And despite what the liberal media and the White House are always telling people, the Republicans have offered several ideas for lowering the cost of healthcare for Americans. Those ideas include tort reform and allowing insurance competition across state lines. The Republicans just haven’t packaged those ideas together as part of a comprehensive healthcare campaign strategy to run on in elections.

My message to the GOP is: Don’t bother. Stick to opposing Obamacare for now, because that’s all you’ll need until after the 2014 elections.

You see, the last time President Obama and other Democrats called on Republicans to put forth a serious solution to deal with a serious problem, Congressman Paul Ryan stepped forward with a comprehensive, realistic plan to reform our entitlement programs and significantly trim deficits. This was back in 2011.

That ended up being a terrible, terrible mistake on Ryan’s part – politically anyway. The president and his party immediately waged a campaign of shameless demagoguery against that plan, claiming that it would essentially lead to the destruction of America. They said that it would let bridges collapse, force disabled children to fend for themselves, and throw wheelchair-ridden grandmothers over cliffs.

As any honest, informed person knows, any realistic plan to effectively deal with a problem as serious as our national debt requires a big change. Ryan’s big change was to keep Medicare intact for people 55 or older, while altering the program for everyone else by turning to private sector solutions and providing government subsidies.

But that sure isn’t the way the plan was portrayed by the Democratic Party and the mainstream media. No, they successfully convinced many people that Ryan’s plan would actually end Medicare for the millions of senior citizens that depended on the program. They went all-in with that narrative and put a ton of money behind their messaging.

Politifact
later awarded the Democrats’ false charge with the title of “Biggest Lie of the Year”, but that didn’t matter. The campaign proved to be an effective way of distracting Americans away from the failed economic policies of the Democratic Party, and it even won the Democrats some special-election seats that were previously thought to be shoe-ins for Republican candidates.

The strategy took the heat off of the Democrats (who were reeling from scores of terrible economic data that kept pouring in), and deflected it onto the Republican Party that was still enjoying some momentum off of the Tea Party landslide of 2010.

In other words, an honest, realistic solution, that was put forth to deal with a serious problem, was defeated by a baldfaced lie. And to this day, far more ill-will is harbored toward Paul Ryan for presenting his plan than is harbored toward the Democratic Party for lying about that plan.

Sometimes it’s worse to be a realist than it is to be a liar.

You see, right now a good portion of the American public is mad at President Obama for lying to them repeatedly about the impact of Obamacare. And even though the Republican Party isn’t faring well in public opinion polls, most political analysts seem to believe that the hit Obama’s approval rating is taking, and anger over Obamacare, could very well lead the GOP to maintain the House of Representatives and pick up the Senate in 2014.

It seems to me that the Republicans would be foolish to lay out a comprehensive alternative to Obamacare. As we saw with Paul Ryan’s plan, it would simply give an opportunity to the Democrats and the liberal media to twist whatever realistic solutions are in it, completely misrepresent and demagogue the affect they would have on Americans, and lift some of the negative Obamacare attention off of themselves.

Personally, I’m sick of watching liberals successfully deflect criticism of them by portraying an opposing, logical solution as being more fearful than the grim reality they’ve created for this country. So my advice for the GOP would be the following:From a Dead Sleep by John A. Daly

Relentlessly highlight the numerous problems with Obamacare, continue to put the spotlight on the millions of people the law has hurt, and continue to call for its repeal. But don’t get bogged down in the nuance of articulating a comprehensive alternative.

Keep in mind that prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, polls consistently showed that over 80% of the country was satisfied with the healthcare system and the access they had to it. These people don’t need to be sold on a big new plan. They just need to be reminded of how much worse things are now.

Stay on the offense. Don’t force yourself onto defense. When asked, go ahead and talk about things like tort reform and competition across state lines, but don’t get hung up on the specifics.

The election successes the Democratic Party has enjoyed over the past seven years or so haven’t come from stating specifics, and they sure as heck haven’t come from proposing serious solutions. There’s something Republicans can learn from that.

Then, once you win the Senate and maintain the House, prepare to repeal Obamacare as best you can, put forth a viable, realistic solution, and then – and only then – sell that solution to the American public.

That’s my advice. The GOP can take it for what it’s worth.

Author Bio:

John Daly couldn't have cared less about world events and politics until the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks changed his perspective. Since then, he's been deeply engaged in the news of the day with a particular interest in how that news is presented. Realizing the importance of the media in a free, democratic society, John has long felt compelled to identify media injustices when he sees them. With a B.S. in Business Administration, and a 16 year background in software and web development, John has found that his real passion is for writing. His first novel, entitled "From a Dead Sleep", is now on sale! He lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two children. Like John on Facebook. Follow John on Twitter.
Author website: http://www.johndalybooks.com/
  • Tim in California

    John – Good thoughts and ideas… you and Bernie do a fine job of balancing realistic ideas, with idealism…..

    • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

      Thanks Tim.

  • D Parri

    John, I couldn’t agree with you more. Let’s hope that this day of ‘rude awakening’ for the American people is not coming too late to recover from this ObamaDebacle.

    A few added thoughts

    _______________________________________________________________

    “…it’s not enough for Republicans just to focus on the flaws of Obamacare….”
    I think it should be interpreted as the answer presented on a silver platter. That is, the Dems will be the most vociferous in their push-back in areas of greatest vulnerability. Their biggest weakness is obviously in producing a good product, and this is now the albatross about their neck.

    “…several ideas…tort reform…competition across state lines…packaged….”
    Although there should be no packaged presentation of the GOP platform on an alternative, there is a desperate need for uniformity within the internal GOP body facets. As an assault strategy the well-known “divide and conquer” is a bedrock of military command. Perhaps the only way for the GOP will be able to defend against this attack strategy is to adopt a uniformed and structured answer, en masse. Plan details are not important, but a realistic uniformed answer is critical.

    “Stick to opposing Obamacare for now….”
    To paraphrase the answer to success given by another, the key to success may be summarized in three words, “focus, focus, focus”.

    • T Ko

      ε

  • Chuck

    John, you make sense and I think you are unfortunately correct. I say “unfortunate” because you also make the case that the Republicans are unable to handle the critical onslaught of the Democrats to tarnish Republican ideas. Basically, you could be saying, “The Republicans should not be goaded into creating an alternative plan, even if it is much better, because they do not have the acumen to successfully rebuff the Democrat’s political abilities to form public opinion against a better proposed plan.” Basically, you are describing the Republican Party as too inept to defend their ideas and sway public opinion to their side, despite having a better solution. This could be the fault of the media or is the Republican Party just not very good in communicating to the public? This issue should be your next editorial.
    Respectfully, Chuck S.

    • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

      I agree. In addition to the overwhelming liberal media bias that the Republicans have to contend with, I think the Democratic party understands the electorate better than they do. I don’t think the Dems relate to or represent the public better, but I do think the “understand” it better.

      They understand how short attention spans have become. They understand how shallow and self-centered our society now is, and how today’s decisions are often made impulsively, based on emotion, instead of carefully, based on logic.

      The Republicans always assume that voters are more logical and informed than they are, and that assumptions always comes back to haunt them.

  • Brian Fr Langley

    Speaking of realists and liars. (About realists) This time I have to give it to the moderates on capital hill. Can you say, PASS A BUDGET. Okay, so right now it doesn’t do much. But it doesn’t have too do much, because it will be repudiated by the next Congress, which now has a chance to be loaded up with fiscal hawks in both houses.

    • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

      Agreed. The Republicans need to pick their battles in a smart way instead of drawing hardlines that they can’t possibly win the war with.

  • Wheels55

    Any suggestions by conservatives will be purely subjective – just opinion based. It does seem like an attempt by liberals to shift focus off of their failed health care solution.

    My solution would be to reinforce the idea of personal responsibility. To reward Americans if they buy or have Catastrophic health care – or better (via tax credits). Strongly promote the use of HSA and HRA accounts. Let the consumer be in charge of what they need.

  • VermontAmerican

    Absolutely right, John. The Democrats are desperate for the Republicans to offer suggestions. They’re goading them into it just so they can rip them apart. They need the Republicans to open their mouths: “Just one word. One itty bitty word. Pleeeeeaaaaase!”

  • helplessinil

    Good piece John, thank you. You are right that the Republicans don’t need a plan to run on. They should think about putting up around 5 talking points that they would consider as an alternative to ACA, no more. Include the one I am sick of hearing “keep your freeloading kids on your healthcare until they are eligible for Medicare”, sales across state lines, a chicken in every pot, etc. And whatever they do don’t go anywhere near rape, abortion, Medicare, or cutting welfare “SNAP”. Just tell them that we may need to take a look at what the Democratic administration and Democratic Congress has done over the last
    7 years and see if it needs any adjustments. This would put it all on them, are
    they going to admit that what they did is wrong, I doubt it. This Prez has a
    problem with admitting he has done anything wrong, “I didn’t know” or
    “I was never informed”. I can’t imagine any successful business being
    run like he is doing with our country.

  • Gratefulconservative

    I think you are right, John. Stick to the two points you mentioned and keep pounding on the disasterous un-affordable care act of which nothing will be changed by suggestions from Republicans until the mid-terms. If there was a useful idea, the low-life democrats would take it and tout it as their own. When will the Republicans wake up and really SEE what dogs they are dealing with!!!!! Fight fire with fire; not water…

  • SAWB69

    John, for one, Rep. Tom Price of GA has put up an alternative plan http://tomprice.house.gov/HR2300. He is a former orthopedic surgeon, an Emory University Med Sch grad, and knows of what he speaks.

    • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

      That’s great. I want there to be a plan. I just think that if the Republicans RUN on a comprehensive plan for 2014, it will do them more harm than good.

      Obama and the Democrats never ran on a specific plan in 2008. They ran on generalities and bumper-sticker slogans. Politically, the was the smarter play.

      • SAWB69

        I can understand that. However, the Dems still get away with declaring daily that Repubs have no alternative to ObamaCare, which is a lie just like the one you referred to in your piece.

        • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

          True. It’s a defense mechanism they’re trying to use to spread the blame around.

  • I Hate Fascists

    Alternatives to the Iraq war? Invade New Zealand and rape all their sheep?

  • http://www.e-marketingpartner.com/ Bob

    John, as always, you make a good point. I have been one that has thought the Republicans should have a plan to address overall healthcare costs, but as you point out, any plan put forth will instantly be twisted by the Democrat’s propaganda machine.

    • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

      Thanks Bob. I think they should have a plan ready to go behind the scenes, but I think trying to campaign on it in the lead-up to the 2014 election will only give the Dems a bat to beat them with. The Dems can’t really twist a couple of stray ideas like tort reform and competition across state lines into something sinister or heartless.

      • Bob Olden

        Actually, it’s easier to put forth a plan than you might think. When the Dems say, “You don’t have a plan!”, say “Yes we do!” Then when they ask for details, simply say, “We have to pass it first and then we can find out what’s in it!”

        • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

          lol.

  • Jeff Webb

    Your advice for the GOP candidates makes sense. Another suggestion for them I’d like to add: your opponents don’t deserve to be treated as if they have so much as a shred of decency or character. First of all, they don’t. Secondly, they couldn’t care less if you do. Most importantly, they’ll end up getting the job.

    People who constantly lay down for bullies are seen as weaklings; people who spend millions of campaign dollars laying down for bullies are seen as stupid weaklings.

    • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

      Hi Jeff. Good points. Something to think about for sure.

  • Brian Fr Langley

    The give us a solution is a Hobsons choice. What it really means, is let the federal Government continue to invade health care, NOT the states (whose jurisdiction it is) or a free market. Free enterprise across a nation will in the end be the best allocator of the resource. The only reason politicians want it done by Government, is so they can use it to buy votes. Period. A game by the way the Republicans themselves keep playing. (Which is kind of odd considering it’s a game they mostly lose)?

    • http://www.e-marketingpartner.com/ Bob

      Agreed. The best thing for healthcare would be to eliminate the employer tax deduction for health plans. Reduce the market distortion and let the free market work while generating new taxes.