Rich Galen

A couple of weeks ago I made the point that Democrats had been on a mission to remove the word "Obamacare" from the American lexicon.

For the better part of January, using the word "Obamacare" would cause them to launch into a finger-wagging lecture on the name of the program - the ACA. I countered that the real name was the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. If the Left could chose a pseudonym, "ACA," then so could I, "Obamacare."

We have won that fight.

On the floor of the United States Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) was engaged in trying out mid-term election rhetoric about the Koch Brothers when, according to the Weekly Standard, he said:

"We heard about the evils of Obamacare, about the lives it's ruining in Republicans' stump speeches and in ads paid for by oil magnates, the Koch brothers."

Reid threw in the towel and used the "O" word.

Another example: The Atlantic Monthly is a seriously Left-leaning magazine (much as the Weekly Standard supports conservative thinking). If any publication would be true blue - so to speak - and want to lead the Democratic messaging parade it would be the Atlantic.

However, a quick search of "Obamacare" on the Atlantic website came up with nine articles with that word in the title - just since the beginning of 2014.

Why does this matter? Because words count. That's why you always hear so much about "messaging" as in "we couldn't get our message out" from the losers in elections.

Frank Luntz, the Henry Higgins of this sort of thing on the GOP side has been pitching the fact that words and phrases can change the course of an argument for decades.

"Estate Tax" sounds like something that only matters to Lord Grantham, owner of Downton Abbey. Frank trained Republicans to use the phrase "Death Tax" which sounds like something that matters to the owner of every small business in America.

As far back as 2009, according to an article by Randy James in Time Magazine, Luntz was writing the health care dictionary.

He said that Republicans should use the phrase "health care rationing" (although I don't think he takes, or even wants, credit for Sarah Palin's "Death Panels"). Worse yet, the people who were going to do the rationing were "politicians" so GOP politicians should warn against "putting politicians in charge" of their constituents' health care.

Frank warned against running into the Congressional GOP's usual hidey hole - economic arguments - when, according to James, he wrote that there should be "less talk of consumers and free markets, more talk of patients and wellness."

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at