If Republicans were smart (I know, but stay with me) their focus during the Obamacare debate should have been less on blocking its implementation and more on a page they might have taken from the Democrat's playbook, which is to rally the country to its side by use of sentimentality and the threat of impending doom. The good news for Republicans is that there's still time.
It's a sure bet Democrats are right now writing sob stories of tearful children barred from the Lincoln Memorial because of the government "shutdown." The National Zoo in Washington inexplicably turned off its unmanned Panda Cam, which showed video of the newborn panda cub on the Internet. Boohoo.
A recent CBS News poll found that 54 percent of Americans disapprove of Obamacare. Republicans should respond with a campaign to encourage citizen outrage.
The Republican Party might create a series of TV and radio ads to run in states where Democrats are vulnerable in next year's Senate and House races. Here are a few suggestions as to what these ads might highlight:
-- Doctors who have quit their practices because they can no longer make a living under the voluminous federal requirements and rising costs of the new health care law would tell their stories. Similarly, because with Obamacare you may not be able to keep your old doctor, depending on the network you choose, show people lamenting this loss.
Yes, the Democrats could counter with ads showing people who say they had no insurance before Obamacare and they can now have their chronic diseases treated. Republicans might respond by saying the insurance "cure" may be worse than the disease and could ultimately reduce the quality and affordability of treatment for many others.
For example, instead of saving $2,500 per person as President Obama promised, according to Forbes magazine, "Obamacare will add $7,450 to average health care spending for a family of four between 2014 and 2022."
-- People can be shown opening envelopes from their private insurance companies that announce higher premiums, contradicting the president's promises regarding the low-cost benefits of the Affordable Care Act.
-- Show young people who had planned to become doctors choosing other professions, claiming Obamacare has made the practice of medicine less desirable.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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