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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Make GOP Sens, Reps Explain Their Hypocrisy on HCR

Brian Beutler has a short post up at Talking Points Memo about House Dems use of the “motion to commit” procedural vote to compell Republicans to publicly announce whether they will be accepting the government health care plan provided to members of congress. Beutler quotes the text of the motion:

“Not later than 15 days after taking the oath of office, a Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner shall notify the Clerk of whether that Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner elects to participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.”

As you might imagine, the Republicans voted the motion down in lockstep unity. A tell-it-like-it-is translation of their responses to the motion would be something like “How dare those dastardly Dems require us to divulge whether we accept government-provided health care benefits for ourselves, even as we deny it to the American people.”
There will undoubtedly be more such procedural votes from Dems as the House minority, as Beutler points out. Good. They should seize every opportunity to make the Republican account for their hypocrisy in taking government health care, while calling similar coverage for their constituents ‘socialism.”
Democratic members of congress are doing their part to publicize GOP hypocrisy about their health benfits. Now it’s up to Democratic activists, bloggers and rank and file to hound and badger Republicans wherever they make public appearances, for as long as they try to destroy HCR. Make them explain their double standard, as they hem and haw, stutter, dodge and prevaricate — there is no way for them to look good, no credible response they can make in defending ‘coverage for me, but not for thee.’ Always, always use the word ‘hypocrisy’ in confronting them, until it becomes a boilerplate question, even in the MSM.
But don’t stop there. Republican members of congress can only make so many appearances. Democratic activists should raise the hypocritical double standard on call-in shows, in letters to the editor, flyers in the community, emails to friends, facebook, twitter — all the digital platforms. This should not be a hard meme to propagate, because it’s embarrassingly true and easy to understand. Make their hypocrisy resonate until the last attempt to withhold funding for HCR has failed.
A couple of Republican congressmen have mumbled something about how they are “considering” declining the government health care plan. I think one or two has actually done so. Fine. They make the others look even worse, and themselves look like jailhouse converts.
Nailing the Republicans collectively and individually for their personal hypocrisy on HCR is not a substitute for making them explain their opposition to a bill that has several very popular provisions. Thus far, their explanations about how they would put the good stuff in a brand new bill have also been tortured, unconvincing and raise the dreaded spectre of reopening the whole interminable HCR debate. It’s a tough sell, especially if Dems play a strong hand in making them account for their hypocrisy at every opportunity.

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