Emory University's outstanding Drew Westen writes in today's WaPo about messaging in the health care battle, an article which should be required reading by everyone in the White House, the Congressional Democratic leadership and all health care reform activists.
Westen notes how Rethug wordsmith Fred "Dunce" Luntz circulated Rethug/ insurance industry/ AMA talking points last month telling them they needed to co-opt the language of "reform," and paint the progressive plan as a "government takeover" as the only way to scare the public, defeat Obama and not incur the wrath of 75% of Americans who want true reform. Cynical? Of course. Anti-middle class? Heh! The Rethugs have been at this for literally half a century, in league with the insurance and pharmaceutical industries and the AMA.
But Westen offers good advice to the Democrats (at least those who want true health care reform, and thus the preservation of their party). Using terms such as "universal health care," "public option," "the uninsured," and "the "under-insured" plays into Rethug/ industry hands. His key advice to those wanting a strong counter-message to the Rethug/ industry scare tactics: "Advocates should counter by asking Americans whether they prefer choices dictated by the insurance industry or the range of choices that their elected representatives get, including a high-quality plan that doesn't rely on the goodwill of industry executives."