Congress is returning to Washington and President Obama’s health-care overhaul is in trouble thanks in large part to the noisy misinformation spread at town-hall meetings while lawmakers were on their August recess.
The president and his team will have to fight back, and they should do so using the tactics of their opponents. And since it will be in Washington, the Democrats, who control Congress and the White House, will be playing on their home field.
Here are some tactics.
— Make stuff up.
Just as your opponents invented negative and wholly bogus provisions supposedly in the bill, Obama should do the same, but invent good stuff.
If you have to have your tonsils out, the government must buy you ice cream.
Cancer patients will be automatically entered in a lottery for luxury cars every time they have chemo.
The government will pay for a stunt double for your colonoscopy.
Under the Obama plan, you will never have to wear one of those hospital gowns that are open in the back.
— Take on the Granny issue, but with a special spin.
State unequivocally to opponents that not only is the government not going to pull the plug on Granny, it is going to move Granny and her incontinent cat into your spare bedroom. Government agents will check regularly to see if she has any complaints — about the food, the volume on the TV being too low or her lazy, surly daughter-in-law.
If you’ve been identified as having disrupted a town-hall meeting bleating about the government hurrying Granny’s departure from the planet, the Internal Revenue Service will have a life-extending tax break for her — tax incentives for Granny to spend your inheritance on tango lessons with a 28-year-old instructor.
— Take the gloves off — or, rather, pull on the latex gloves.
GOP Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina set a new low in civic altruism when he said it was important to defeat health-care reform because it would "break" Obama. When DeMint avails himself of government-run health care at the very fine Bethesda Naval or Walter Reed Army hospitals, bring him before a death panel.
Give motorcades to the Republicans who might be with you on health care — Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Mike Enzi of Wyoming. When other Republicans see them blowing through red lights and past stopped traffic on the way to and from the Capitol, they’ll want motorcades, too.
Obama should promise the Republicans that once he signs a satisfactory health-care bill into law, he’ll come clean about being an Indonesian. It doesn’t matter what he says since they won’t believe him anyway. But he’ll have his overhaul.