Weekly Pulse: DCCC Ad Shows Grandpa Stripping for Extra Cash to Pay for Medicare

By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger


How will the next generation of seniors pay for health care if Republicans privatize Medicare? The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) suggests some options in a darkly funny ad featuring a grandfatherly gentleman mowing lawns and stripping for extra cash. The ad will run in 24 GOP-controlled swing districts, Suzy Khimm reports for Mother Jones.

The ad is a riposte to Paul Ryan's budget, which would eliminate Medicare and replace it with a system of "premium support"--annual lump sum cash payments to insurers. These payments would be pegged to the growth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) +1%, even though health care costs are growing much faster than the economy at large. That means that real benefits will shrink over time. Seniors will be forced to come up with extra money to buy insurance, assuming they can find an insurer who's willing to sell it to them.

Josh Holland of AlterNet predicts that the GOP is committing political suicide with the its anti-Medicare budget. The more ordinary voters learn about Ryan's budget, the less they like it:

A poll conducted last week found that, “when voters learn almost anything about [the Ryan plan], they turn sharply and intensely against it.” And why wouldn't they? According to an analysis by the non-partisan Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), the Republicans' “roadmap” would “end most of government other than Social Security, health care, and defense by 2050,” while providing the “largest tax cuts in history” for the wealthy.

Holland interviews an economist who estimates that the Medicaid cuts in the Ryan budget alone would cost 2.1 million jobs.

Under the bus

The Democratic spin about the deal to avert a budget shutdown was that Democratic leaders held fast against Republican demands to defund Planned Parenthood. However, as Katha Pollitt explains in The Nation, the Democrats capitulated on other reproductive rights issues in order to save Planned Parenthood.

For example, under the budget deal, Washington, D.C. will no longer be allowed to use local taxes to pay for abortions. Democrats also agreed to $17 million in cuts to the Title X Family Planning Program, Planned Parenthood's largest source of federal funding.

American women aren't alone under the bus. Jane Roberts notes at RH Reality Check that the budget deal slashed $15 million from the U.N. Population Fund, and millions more from USAID's budget for reproductive health and family planning. At least Democrats successfully rebuffed GOP demands to eliminate funding for the United Nations Population Agency.

Roberts observes:

And this is at a time when the whole world is coalescing behind the education, health and human rights of the world’s women and girls. What irony!

Blood for oil

Nearing the one-year anniversary of the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that killed 11 workers, Daniel J. Weiss writes for Grist:

The toll of fossil fuels on human health and the environment is well documented. But our dependence on fossil fuels exacts a very high price on the people who extract or process these fuels. Every year, some men and women who toil in our nation's coal mines, natural gas fields, and oil rigs and refineries lose their lives or suffer from major injuries to provide the fossil fuels that drive our economy.

Oil rigs are just one of many dangerous places to work in the fossil fuel industry, Weiss notes. Last year, an explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia killed 29 workers. Nearly 4,000 U.S. miners have been killed on the job since 1968.

Natural gas has a cleaner image than coal, but natural gas pipelines are also plagued by high rates of death and injury--892 natural gas workers have been killed on the job and 6,258 have been injured since 1970.


Ashley Hunter of Campus Progress brings you an exciting roundup of the news you need about college and alcohol, just in time for Spring Break. In an attempt to discourage rowdy off-campus partying, the College of the Holy Cross is encouraging its students to drink on campus by keeping the campus pub open later and allowing students under 21 inside as long as they wear different colored wrist bands to show they are too young to be served alcohol.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Pulse for a complete list of articles on health care reform, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.



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Obama's New Ad Hits McCain On CEO Pay

This is very smart. Knowing full well how much anger there is out there about the exhorbitant pay of Wall St. CEOs, especially the severance packages they get even when they leave having failed, Obama here is both tying McCain to that trend by citing his economic advisor, Carly Fiorina's $42 million golden parachute from Hewlett Packard and casting himself as the champion of the little guy.

Notice that the ad shows Obama actually talking to people in an intimate setting. It was visually jarring for me at first because it's a strategy that Obama has shied away from in his ads, but echoes exactly the sort of thing Clinton did in her early ads. Message: he's one of us.

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An idea for a new Obama TV ad

A friend and I, while chatting on the phone this evening, may have thought-up a new, relevant and powerful Obama campaign television ad that would cost very little to produce, and would speak volumes. Even if impractical, it's at least humorous... to Democrats, anyway.

You're going to need to use your imagination, though, to see in your mind what I'm about to describe... so put on your imagination caps.

We've all seen the nonsensical, incoherent CNN video of Palin introducing at least some of us to the word "fungible" while trying to explain to us energy concepts which are clearly unclear to her. (Judging by the look on McCain's face in the background, they would appear to have been unclear to him, as well. Then again, it doesn't really take all that much for him to achieve that state... but I digress. Sorry.)

In your head, edit-out of that video all but Palin's part. Just edit the Wolf Blitzer bookended parts right out of the video in your mind's eye, and imagine a short video clip of just what Palin said. We'll call that the "Palin video."

Now imagine a new Obama television ad the goes something like this:

Medium fade from black to the Palin video, then at its conclusion fade fast back to black.

Once fully black, fast fade a single line of text centered on the screen in a white Times Roman medium-weight font the words "Res ipsa loquitur" with a period after it, and hold for four seconds, then fast fade to black.

Once fully black, fast fade a one-eighth frame sized centered still headshot of Obama's smiling face, while Obama as voiceover says,"I'm Barack Obama, and I approved this ad," then fade to black and end commercial.

MoveOn.org should do it, don't you think?

New McCain Ad Hits Obama On Rezko

The ad hits Obama on Rezko, Emil Jones, Mayor Daley William Daley, and Blagojevich. I think McCain took the wrong meaning from that SNL sketch.

Is this really what they wanted to do? None of these will stick, because Obama was cleared of all guilty associations. Unlike John McCain, who continually surrounds himself with corruption while telling himself that he's above it all.

Well, if they decided that the "liar" meme was the direction they wanted to go in, they've got it. Just hope that Obama doesn't have a plan for it. Even though it already came up and he already swatted it down once before.

Update [2008-9-22 7:41:8 by vcalzone]: Jesus, as it turns out, I was wrong, it doesn't even mean Mayor Daley, it shows William and casually mentions that William is his brother. This is by far the sleaziest, most dishonest ad yet. What is their game on this one?

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Funny New Ad- Houses

Sometimes humor is the best medicine.  

This is funny, I enjoyed it, I could fake more filler in this diary but this is the point.

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