Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Health care brown shoots

Josh Marshall is worried about a dip in health care's poll numbers. He doesn't posit an explanation, but it seems simple to me: over the past few weeks, Republicans and the media hyped up the decisions by several companies to possibly cut benefits after HCR ended senior prescription drug subsidies. The Democrats, to my observation, had hardly anything to say on the matter. Of course, these cuts are eminently defensible, as they were a sort of double-counting giveaway left over from Bush's Medicare bill, but nobody seemed to figure an explanation was warranted. I'd give half the Democratic majority for a competent press shop, I swear to you.

The way I see it, approval for this bill is going to be won on the basis of headlines. If there are lots of headlines about new consumer protections, coverage going up, new community health centers being built, etc., then people are going to think the venture is a good idea. If there are lots of stories about benefit cuts and the like, the opposite will occur. Democrats obviously think the former will outweigh the latter in time, and I do suppose it will. But in the here and now, this pretty much explains it. Of course, I'd feel a lot better if the Dems had someone manning the press shop that was actually good at getting messages into media coverage like Howard Wolfson, instead of Robert Gibbs.

By the way, I'm not ever sure if Gingrich is telling the truth or bullshitting, and it's especially unclear here. That he thinks that this polling dip is due to the public finding out more about the bill is pretty hard to believe. The round of coverage after the bill passed that focused on the benefits of the bill, and the polling went up. Then there was coverage of these write-offs, and the polling went down. The next round might well be positive, and the polls will go up. Gingrich isn't much of a politician, but rather a great self-promoter. That he is becoming a more plausible presidential candidate by the day is...interesting.

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.