The Government Control Card Still Plays Well

The Politifact Lie of the Year in 2010 was awarded to the term "Government Takeover." Government Takeover or Government Control in various forms emerged from Republicans, health insurance association consultants, and certain media outlets. A brief attempt at naming the new health design as "public option" lost out. The spin doctors succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. The first Democratic agenda moved on the defensive and in many ways never recovered.

The best interventions are the simple ones. The Government Control card played well from start to end. It will be interesting to see if Republicans are going to be perceived as in control and if Democrats can return the favor. This is, of course, a reason why America is difficult to govern.

The Government Control card has indeed been played by both sides dating back many political campaigns. The latest and most successful example paved the way for a simplistic and powerful campaign 2010 to 2014 with the results as we have seen. Successful political candidates profited by "We really do not want to disclose what we are for, but we are against government control, Democrats, government programs/spending, Obama, and Obamacare." Linking any and all together worked well. No one really listened to much of anything else apparently.

In the last few years, health care moved from backstage to center stage. This made the simple strategy even more effective.

Democrats had more than enough time to catch on. There were also any number of attack points that could have moved the debate in a different direction. But Democrats were divided from each other, from Democratic leaders, and from Democratic concepts.

The Democrats needed a major push to "take down" or appear to take down Wall Street, Banking, and other "perceived abusers". Going on the attack is preferable and is easier than defense, as Democrats found out. More and more defensive is a prelude to failure.

The Democrats were not willing to take on health insurance companies, Wall Street, or Banking. No one was adept enough to appear to take on these or others who have damaged America and Americans.   No Democrat could explain why Americans were being deprived a better piece of the pie, but the Republicans had many explanations. If you do not tell people how their lives will be improved, they will vote for someone else (or allow others to take control).

Multiple Democratic failures in health policies and in health appointments made matters worse. Americans began to feel more experimented upon with rapid change, more chaos, and less stability.

Many of the Democratic attempts had good intentions. Good intentions may or may not work out. Unfortunately they can also take quite some time. Many of the concepts that result in a more equitable nation are difficult to communicate well, and Democrats have failed most of all in communication.

Belief in Government Control plus belief in the inevitability of Wealthy Control plus voter suppression was a powerful combination.

Health care where needed faces similar challenges. Long slow steady improvements in economics, health, and education are difficult to sustain - but offer the best hope for a narrowing of divisions and overall progress as a nation.


Politifact Lie of the Year 2010 - Government Takeover

Rotten Apples, Rotten Support, or Rotten Media?

Improving Health Care is Not Likely for 2600 Counties

Global Fails Local But Local Focus Succeeds Globally

Domino Decline By Design - as ERs Close, Those Nearby Face Challenges, as Small or Rural Hospitals Close or Practices Where Needed...

Declines in Health Care Delivery Despite Increases in Health Spending - If We Keep Accelerating Non-Delivery Costs, We Can Continue to Remain Behind Health Care Demand


Blogs indicate that primary care can be recovered and should be recovered.

Dr. Bowman is the North American Co-Editor of Rural and Remote Health. He was the founding chair of the Rural Medical Educators Group of the National Rural Health Association and the long term chair of the STFM Group on Rural Health.

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