Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Mental Manipulation.

Watch this brief commercial from the Republican National Committee and see if you can spot the ways they're trying to manipulate you.



The ad begins with a thinly veiled accusation that Washington Democrats are blaming citizens for opposition to health care reform, when they're actually trying to correct misinformation that has spread like a California wildfire.

The ad then builds on this misinterpretation of misinformation by presenting a seniors "Bill of Rights" relating to healthcare. These rights include:

  1. No cuts to Medicare to pay for another program.
  2. Make it illegal to ration health care based on age.
  3. Prevent any government role in end-of-life care.
  4. Stop bureaucrats from getting between seniors and their doctors.
The implication is that Democrats have proposed doing all of these things. But if you listen carefully, Mr. Steele never actually says Democrats are doing that - because they aren't! Had Mr. Steele said they were actually planning these things, the RNC could no doubt be fined or sued for false advertising.

Instead, the RNC has left those accusations to the far-right opinion commentators who are not obligated to tell the truth. These people have thrown the public into a panic over proposals that don't exist, at least not in the form described. The RNC ad simply gives a wink and a nod to the rumors and implies they are true.

From what I've seen, the Democrats have no reason to disagree with the RNC's points. In fact, these are exactly the sort of things health care reformers are working to accomplish! As I noted in my previous Mental Note, this isn't about telling the truth. It's about defeating the Democrats.

AARP has posted an excellent article Health Care Reform: The Assault On Truth which corrects the Republican distortions in clear language. I'm sure the AARP is more concerned about seniors than the RNC, because all of its members are over the age of 50, and cover a broader range of the political and economic spectrum.

As for the RNC's "Bill of Rights" I think Congressional Democrats should call the GOP's bluff, and pass a resolution endorsing those very same points. After all, Mr. Steele says in his commercial these are "things we can all agree on." I just wish the GOP would acknowledge that Democrats already agree.

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