Editor's note: This contribution by the late journalist I.F. Stone first appeared in our January 1975 magazine.
A "message of the week" is handed out, talking points (including "lines of attack") are distributed, "social media tactics" are taught, new messaging tools like "digital fliers" are deployed, "opinion articles" are pre-written, and a 17-page "playbook" lays out the strategy.
All this (and much more) is part of an all-out, centralized, military-style assault that House Republicans are making in a desperate attempt to kill Obamacare -- with their larger mission being to crush the idea that every American deserves good quality health care. The campaign is being directed through Speaker John Boehner's office, with all 231 GOP members expected to take marching orders, penetrate every media market, and stir up as much negative noise as possible to sabotage Obama's Affordable Care Act.
Most members of this anti-care brigade, however, seem blissfully unaware of an explosive irony in their furious assault on the Obamacare: It was their idea!
While Democrats long advocated that universal health care should be achieved by simply extending Medicare to everyone, Republicans always countered that coverage should be run through insurance corporations, with a requirement that younger and healthier people buy into it. Richard Nixon proposed this concept in 1974. Then, in 1989, the Heritage Foundation (a Republican-allied think tank) basically proposed the full privatized system embodied in the ACA, including the "individual mandate" that everyone buy an insurance policy. Such far-right GOP congress critters as Sen. Orin Hatch and Newt Gingrich became leading champions of this scheme -- the very one that they and fellow Republicans are now trying to demonize and slay.
The deeper irony is that, should the GOP succeed, Democrats can then return to the much simpler, more sensible plan of Medicaid for all.
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Photo: Flickr user LaDawna Howard, creative commons licensed.