Political issue ads are a sad fact of life. One thing I really wish would happen is that issue ads would be required to be factual about the issue in the ad. One ad which lacks the facts is one featuring Mike Huckabee speaking out against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act derided by the right as ‘Obamacare’. The ad gets heavy play on the Military Channel and plays fast and lose with the truth about the law and the reaction to it. Free speech shouldn’t give cover to a false political advertisement.
I couldn’t find the exact ad online that is playing on the Military Channel but below is one that is 98% close. I did transcribe the audio from the one playing on TV following the clip.
Mike Huckabee: In locked rooms in the middle of the night Obamacare was passed and rammed down the throat of the American people. It’s time the people’s voice be heard.
Narrator: Americans have spoken in record numbers to repeal Obamacare. On October 5th we delivered 1.6 million petitions to the Senate making it the largest citizen petition drive in US history. Now we urgently ask all previous repeal Obamacare petition signers and a million more concerned Americans to pick up the phone within the next 10 minutes. We must convince these Senators to honor the will of the American people. Add your voice to immediately bring Obamacare to the floor of the Senate for a new vote. We are asking all original petition signers plus 1 million more concerned Americans to call now to send massive waves of phone demands into the Senate…
First of all “Obamacare” wasn’t passed in the middle of the night behind locked doors and was not “rammed down the throat of the American people.” The law was introduced in 2009 and passed after the usual committee meetings and usual work done in Congress to pass laws. PPACA passed the Senate on December 24, 2009, by a vote of 60–39 with all Democrats and two Independents voting for, and all Republicans voting against and passed the House on March 21, 2010, by a vote of 219–212, with 34 Democrats and all 178 Republicans voting against the bill.
The news media was filled with stories about the law and the massive debate about it. One would have to have been living in a cave without the Internet not to have seen and heard about the law and its travels through the Congress.
Also turning in 1.6 million signatures for a national issue is not that big of a deal. In the 2008 General election there were over 231 million people of voting age and almost 133 million voted. That 1.6 million signatures are only approximately 1.2% of those who voted in 2008. The ad asking for an additional million callers would only bump up the percentage to only 1.95% of those 2008 voters.
That 1% of people who signed the petition don’t represent “the will of the American people”. I think of them as the grouchy Uncle who always ruins Christmas each year.
As a side note, I checked out the repealitnow.org’s YouTube page and one of the ads there said they needed 5 million signatures. They only got 1.6 million.
A new Post poll shows that 50 percent of those surveyed oppose the “Obamacare” law, while 45 percent support it. But these numbers are misleading, since The Post reports that “a quarter of those who oppose the health-care law say the legislation is faulty because it did not go far enough, not because it pushed change too far.”
In other words, one-fourth of the law’s opponents believe it should have been more ambitious and far-reaching, not less so. These are people who would have liked to see single-payer universal care, or tighter regulation of insurance companies, or less restrictive language on abortion rights — hardly positions that John Boehner and Eric Cantor would endorse. By counting them among opponents of the law, Republicans are essentially arguing that Michael Moore is on their side.
The will of the American people wanted to see the law do more. Personally I wanted to see single-payer or a public option not a rule forcing me to give my money to a private insurance company that may or may not cover my medical expenses. If the law had turned out like it should have then businesses across the country wouldn’t have to provide health insurance to their employees and that would be less money they would have to spend on labor which equals more profit.
That’s probably the real reason people like Mike Huckabee and the GOP are against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It forces businesses to spend more money on their workers by buying coverage for the first time or improving the token coverage millions of workers are over charged for each year. If they could shift all the costs to the government – like they do in Europe – profits would rise considerably because you know they wouldn’t pay their workers more.
This is why I wish there were laws against false advertising of political issues.
*Update – 08/30/2012* – It was pointed out in a comment that I had said the anti-health care law group had turned in “1.6 million signatures” when the ad says “1.6 million petitions” and I’m sorry for the mistake – however my point still stands. It’s curious that the ad refused to mention the number of signatures they turned in. When the people against Ohio’s SB-5 in 2011 turned in their petitions they were giddy in telling everyone how many signatures they got. Why doesn’t Huckabee’s group?
One reason could be that “1.6 million petitions” sounds better than the reality that they may have had less than 1 million actual signatures. The group never gives a number except to say they were “60,000 signatures short of being the largest public policy petition drive in U.S. history” – whatever that means. I couldn’t find out what was the largest public policy petition drive in U.S. history to compare it to.
For the sake of argument, let’s say each petition sheet had space for 25 signatures. That would be 40 million signatures total based on 1.6 million petitions.
Why wouldn’t they be screaming THAT from every newspaper and TV news program in the country?
I don’t think they had even close to that amount. And even if they did it’s still only approx 3% of the people who voted in the 2008 elections.
My point stands. It is not that big of a deal.