Birthers Winning The Health Care Message War?

Bill Scher

Last week I noted that right-wing Birther conspiracy theorists were simultaneously fueling right-wing rage against health care reform, distorting perceptions of public opinion in Washington and making current legislation appear less popular than it actually is.

Today, after Birther-led health care smears were brought up at yesterday’s AARP presidential town hall, MSNBC’s First Read concluded: “Perhaps the biggest thing that stood out to us at President Obama’s AARP town hall yesterday was that the White House appears to be losing the message war on health care. How do we know? Just listen to the questions the AARP callers had. Several of them asked about ‘rumors,’ and they also brought up GOP talking points on ‘rationing’ or the government coming to your house to ask how you want to die (!!!).”

This smear that the government will kill your grandma was launched in part by the Birther fever swamp of World Net Daily and quickly embraced by right-wing talk radio despite being completely untrue.

With such a well-developed conservative media machine, It doesn’t take much for a right-wing smear to travel through the Land of Wingnuttia, so I don’t know if such questions really amount to a loss of the message war with the broader public. But MSNBC’s reaction shows how it can shape perceptions within the Beltway.

Another example, Blue Dog Co-Chair Rep. Charlei Melancon told CQ, “Part of what America is screaming about is that they are trying to ram down the biggest piece of legislation that affects every man, woman and child . . . in a short period of time.”

But America is not screaming. The insane moonbat Birther-led conservative base is screaming. It’s just Beltway folks like Melancon who transpose their inanity onto the heartland of America.

You know who’s screaming? This nutcase hanging a congressman in effigy for supporting a health care bill backed by nearly 6 in 10 independents. Is he screaming on behalf of all of America. Manifestly, no.

However, lunacy breeds opportunity.

The President may need to take a reasonable approach, calmly swatting down rumors at town halls. But the rest of us should be loudly calling attention to just how crazy the health care opposition is, to prevent them from hijacking the debate and distorting what’s actually in the bill.

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