Beyond the Senate Health Reform Speeches

The knives are out in the Senate health reform rumble. To be sure, a vote in support of health reform is politically perilous. Voters are very nervous about how the complex proposals will impact their lives.

But political admakers are also spotlighting how a vote to KILL reform can sting politically. After all, as nervous as people are about change, this is also a nation that overwhelmingly opposes the health system status quo.

Memo to C-Span addicts: These kinds of ads, both pro-reform and anti-reform, will have more to do with what ultimately passes the Senate than the speeches being made on the Senate floor.

– Lovelandadecco payroll nice

Let the Pirates Stand Up and Filibuster

Senator Joe Lieberman threatens a filibuster to fend off the dreaded Public Option. It’s a serious threat — who would want to listen to Lieberman blither and dribble for hours on end?lieberman2

Why are the Democrats so afraid of a filibuster — other than the reasonable concern that there wouldn’t be enough air-sickness bags to go around?

What better view for Americans of what’s going on in Washington? What a perfect symbol. Let the Party of No stand up and stop progress by talking endlessly. What a perfect way to focus the media on the stakes in the health-care reform struggle. While the Republicans — and Senator Joe — blather on, the media will be hijacked. Reporters and TV hosts will have to talk about issues such as insurance companies not insuring you if you’re already sick, not insuring you when you get really sick, the rising cost of coverage, the number of bankruptcies due to medical expenses, and so on. Democrats can say “America, we want to bring you less-expensive, more-effective health care coverage that you’ll always have and that will always cover you, and here, standing and talking, are the people keeping you from better health.”

Bring it on. Let John Ensign or Sam Brownback or Thad Cochran or Orrin Hatch or James Inhofe show us what giants they are by trying to better Strom Thurmond’s filibuster record of talking for 24 hours and 18 minutes straight — mouthing the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, and George Washington’s Farewell Address (only Strom himself didn’t leave for almost another half century) — trying to stop the Civil Rights Act of 1957. strom1

The filibusters by Southern Democrats let the country clearly see who was standing in the way of Civil Rights for black Americans.

When Southerners were planning another anti-Civil Rights filibuster in 1960, Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson was ready. According to Robert Mann in The Walls of Jericho,, “If Southerners wanted to prevent a vote, he would force them to wage a full-fledged filibuster — not the gentlemanly nine-to-five variety that had been the rule in recent years.” LBJ said, “I think all members should be on notice that their presence may be demanded at any time during any evening, or in the early morning hours of the morning, all night around the clock, every night next week or the following week, until a vote is obtained.”

“Filibuster” comes from the Dutch word for “Freebooter” — which means pirate. Let’s let the country clearly see who the pirates are. Let the pirates stand up, let us see them standing in the way.

Bring it on. It’s a symbol that will clarify the battle over health-care reform.

— Bruce Benidt

Brand Management

obama-mccain-liebermanIf you are Barack Obama, surely nothing would feel better than to see Senator Joe Lieberman (?-CT) stripped of power by the Democratic Party. After all, the guy spoke against Obama at the other party’s convention, belittled him at every turn, called him a socialist, and served as the official on-stage McCain-Palin bobblehead at dozens of ugly attackapaloozas, including the one where Governor Palin accused him of treason, or “palling around with terrorists.” Nod, nod, nod.

Just as Joe the Plumber turned out to be not much of a plumber, Joe the Democrat turned out to be not much of a Democrat. But Barack Obama promised a new kind of politics, and punishing people who disagree with you a minority of the time would feel like the same old kind of politics. The American people are hungry for a new tone, and would not take kindly if BHO went all LBJ on us.

So the ever-disciplined Brand Manager-in-Chief made a good brand management decision by urging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, through gritted teeth, to not cast Lieberman into the political wilderness. To do otherwise, would have sacrificed precious brand equity when Obama needs it most.

– Loveland

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Election Night Prep: Senate Curtain Raiser

While the Minnesota Senate race has generated a fair amount of visibility, Senate races overall have been mostly ignored across the nation as the presidential contest has sucked up nearly all of the oxygen in the room.  That’s too bad, because there’s an interesting macro story there as well as a number of fascinating local races worth watching.  As you settle in for a long evening of election viewing next Tuesday, here’s a quick snapshot of what to look for in these races and an overall story that will unfold all across the nation and may make it worth waiting up to see what happens in far-flung Alaska.

The Big Picture: The Democrats currently have a 51-49 advantage in the Senate.  That majority is about as thin as possible because it is achieved through the support of Joe Lieberman, Independent (and McCain supporter) of Connecticut, and Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont.

Continue reading “Election Night Prep: Senate Curtain Raiser”

The Elephant In The Room…

Listening to the speeches tonight on the first real day of the Republican National Convention, you might think that the party of John McCain, Sarah Palin and Fred Thompson was named something other the “Republican” and had been wandering in the wilderness for the last eight years, out of power and reduced to guerilla warfare against the wicked “Washington insiders,” “corrupt Republican lobbyists” and “do-nothing Congresses.”  

I guess the speakers and the handlers in the trailers behind the stage think that if they say stuff like that often enough and stridently enough somebody might forget who’s been in the White House since 2000 (you know, what’s-his-name, that guy who got 8 minutes via satellite early in the evening) and who’s controlled the Congress for six of the eight years.  If they say “outsider” and “maverick” often enough, they apparently hope we’ll forget that John McCain has spent the last 31 years solidly inside the Beltway (during which he’s voted more than 90 percent of the time with old whats-his-name) and that Sarah Palin – before she saw the political advantage of being against them – was one of her state’s leading proponents of pork projects.  

Good luck with that.  It’s a technique that’s been used effectively in the past, but mostly in authoritarian societies with control over the media.  Not so effective in a more pluralistic society.

– Austin marketing tools fine