Thursday, March 13, 2014

The GOP Prescription: Lyin', Cryin', & Snake Oil

When you take in as much media as our staff does, you tend to see trends that the average American who might read one newspaper, or only looks at a small handful of news websites, would likely miss. One of those trends has been the growing sounds of desperation coming from the Republican Party as their extremist, tea-tinged wing continues to drag the rest of their party to the edge of oblivion.

The worried cries of Republicans were evident Wednesday, after the special election in Florida. As many legitimate ethical journalists forecasted they would, Republicans read too much into the results and hyped a minor win -  a "win" that cost Republicans the lion's share of $12.7 million to retain for eight short months a U.S. House seat that the GOP had held comfortably for over 40 years. The stink of fear, rank as it was, didn't seem to stop a flood of hypocrisy from Republicans like House Speaker John Boehner, who - even as he spun the Florida race like a top in a tornado - told Democrats they shouldn't be spinning the race.

As journalists like Brian Beutler, Steve Benen, and E.J. Dionne plainly noted Wednesday, Republicans' foolish attempts to peddle snake oil about the Florida election didn't stand up to the historical facts of special elections.

Another topic that also hasn't been standing up to facts is the right-wing's futilely screamed claims that Obamacare still isn't working, and that Americans don't want something so liberal.

In fact, as Greg Sargent pointed out Tuesday - using CNN's latest poll on the Affordable Care Act - a majority of Americans actually favor Obamacare or think it isn't "liberal" enough.

While the enrollment numbers for the exchanges may not reach the ambitious goals originally set by the Obama administration, as Jonathan Cohn noted earlier this week, the numbers of enrolled Americans are about what experts had predicted all along. So far, thanks to Obamacare, more than 4.2 million Americans have enrolled in private health insurance they can afford, with another 4.4 million enrolling in Medicaid.

That's more than 8.5 million Americans who now have affordable health insurance, who didn't have health insurance just a few months ago, who now won't be simply stumbling into emergency rooms, expecting taxpayers to foot their bill.

That kind of success is exactly the medicine that President Obama and some Democrats prescribed for America's previously exploding health insurance and health care cost problem - and it appears to be working.

It should have been no surprise then, that President Obama's attempt to get even more young people to sign up for health insurance this week, with the humorous and satirical interview video made with actor Zach Galifianakis, made those on the right cry out in anger and frustration.

According to White House spokeswoman Tara McGuinness, the web video directly led to a 40% increase in visits to Healthcare.gov, and was the single biggest event or action to drive web traffic to the health insurance website since it began less than six months ago.

As with the race in Florida, Republicans may be able to scream their empty policy prescriptions on health insurance louder, and they may be able to scream them in more places, thanks to the conservative-dominated media. However, Democrats and those on the left need to stick to the facts, which are in their favor - and unlike Alex Sink in Florida, don't be shy about promoting the fact that progressives and liberals currently have the right medicine for what ails America, while Republicans have nothing but the snake oil of anger, hatred, and selfishness.

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