When Stephen Sondheim wrote “You Gotta Have a Gimmick,” the song was about strippers but it applies universally to efforts to get public attention. Acronyms are especially good!
For years the poor old ASPCA struggled to get our attention but ASPCA was an awkward mouthful. Along came PETA and presto! And everyone was talking about animal rights.
Medicare was a wonderful program from its inception (except to the Republicans who almost all voted against it.) The name Medicare was perfect, and most people loved the program and still do.
But the GOP couldn’t stop hating it and anytime a modification came up in Congress, they would try to turn the word Medicare into something bad. In the Clinton years, they used Hillarycare to defeat the (then) First Lady’s ambitious effort at health care reform. The right wing’s obsessive hatred of President Obama has focussed on his name. (‘Goldurnit, an Amurican President oughter have a real Amurican name like Bush or McCain!’) When the President’s Affordable Health Care Act became law, expanding access to health care to 30 million Americans, the Tea Baggies found a perfect acronym: Obamacare!
The press, typically lazy, found the new acronym easy to use and it became common for people in favor of the Act to call it Obamacare.
Since then, Obamacare has become a GOP mantra, repeated mindlessly. If parrots could vote I’m sure they’d be Republicans: “Obamacare! Pretty bluebird! Obamacare! Pretty bluebird!”
When former Governor Mitt Romney was caught having enacted a reasonable health care bill for Massachusetts, the right wing jumped all over it and he’s been trying to avoid “Romneycare” ever since.
The health care debate will continue, but with Romney hiding, the Republican voice of it will become Senator Mitch (one track mind) McConnell. As he never tires of telling us, he’ll block any action in Congress at all to make sure President Obama isn’t re-elected.
Invest in education? McC0nnell doesn’t care. Create more jobs in America? He doesn’t care. Rebuild bridges and roads? Absolutely doesn’t care.
Energy independence? He — you guessed — doesn’t care.
About 50% of Americans now have no health insurance. That’s McConnellcare in action. Of course, Mitch’s Congressional gang are all signed up with first-rate federal health insurance. Guess how many opted out of their plan for McConnellcare? Does the word zero come to mind? The GOP may not know it, but they’ve offered us quite a choice: Obamacare or We Don’t Care!