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Oliver Stone’s “Secret History of America”

Tuesday, August 18, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

I’d like to thank Oliver Stone in advance for enough material to fuel 50 radio shows.

One of the most fascinating interviews I ever conducted for television was with Stone, and he is a brilliant filmmaker. But he does tend to wander off the reality road when it comes to history. “Facts are stubborn things” to most people, but not to Mr. Stone.

UPDATE: If Stone hires Howard Dean as a consultant to the series, it will make the director appear more mainstream. (HT: Brian Maloney at Radio Equalizer.)

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More on AARP from Bear in the Woods

Tuesday, August 18, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The latest from our favorite anonymous ad exec:

So, AARP doesn’t officially endorse the President’s health care proposal. Hmm. Could it be that because of their nonprofit status, they can’t — officially — endorse anything like that? I don’t know those rules. I do know, however, they can spend millions supporting it, even without an official endorsement. And the new spots that have broken on all networks in all major markets are, from an advertising standpoint, about as good as it gets. The ambulance chase is particularly well done. The production is on a level with any major product advertising out there. And the buy is in the same league as a fairly major national product launch.

So they don’t officially endorse it. But they’re spending a ton to support it, and they’re using the best possible marketing to do so.

Yet, from what I can tell, many, many seniors aren’t buying it. They’re worried about losing the Medicare and Medicaid they have. And they’re worried about not being able to get a hip replaced because the government doesn’t think they’re worth it. And being older and wiser, they know from experience that the government has this funny way of making even simple things complicated. So the homemade videos and signs at townhalls have, thus far, had a bigger impact than the high-dollar campaigns. Of course, the high-dollar stuff is just breaking now. But the roots of the opposition grass have taken a pretty firm hold. As I’ve said in previous posts, it’s important to craft the message well. But it’s more important to have a message people want to buy.

I wonder how many of its members AARP actually asked about the President’s health care plan before it decided to spend millions of their dollars like this. I wonder, if they did ask, did they listen?. That would be something an organization – or a government – who cares about its constituents might do. If I were a member of AARP, with actual memories of the days of draft card burning, I’d be tempted, now, to check my wallet for other cards that might make good tinder.

60,000 Here, 60,000 There, Pretty Soon You Are Talking Real Membership Losses

Tuesday, August 18, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The AP account of AARP’s membership loss as a result of throwing in behind rationing of medical care for seniors –otherwise known as Obamacare– swallows AARP’s spin completely. “Nothing unusual here, move along” says the AARP.

Perhaps that is true, but the damage to the AARP brand is deep and it will last because all across America seniors are watching their alleged “voice” speak mostly about selling them out in the cause of serving a hard left agenda by a hard left president and Congress.

This isn’t why the average American joins AARP. The deeper damage comes from products not sold, members not enrolled and services not solicited or accepted. Real reporting would look at the long term membership trends at AARP and discover what percentage of eligible Americans have actually joined in years past and whether, just as the Baby Boom moves massively into its retirement years, AARP has picked exactly the wrong moment to drop the veil and reveal itself as part of the left side of the Beltway establishment.

Two months ago if anyone thought about AARP at all, it was as a non-partisan service provider which, on occasion, would rally its troops on the side of larger slices of the pie for senior citizens. It took decades to build that reputation, and it is shattered in the space of weeks.

Some senior management within Big Pharma must also be asking themselves who exactly advised them to throw in with the suddenly besieged president and whether they ought not to be convening an emergency meeting to recalibrate their strategy of selling out American healthcare in exchange for a false security regarding their place on the profit hit list. Appeasement never works in foreign affairs, and it doesn’t work in domestic politics either.

“Government “panels” making “rulings” over your body: Acceptance of that concept is what counts.”

Tuesday, August 18, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Mark Steyn continues to bring clarity to the debate over Obamacare.

As did Victor Davis Hanson to the broader subject of the Administration’s many pratfalls over the past few weeks in my conversation with him yesterday:

HH: What do you make of a couple of things, other controversies? It’s been such a bad week for the White House. They had to take down the hey, report your neighbor and the fishy stuff they’re spreading website, and now David Axelrod was sending out spam from the White House that have got people upset, and some people questioning the legality of that.

VDH: Yeah, you know, I think it’s part of the larger part where these radical egalitarians are just so convinced that their utopian ends are so humane that the means to get there are excusable. So we have these Orwellian things that we’re going to…anybody who’s supposedly fishy we’re going to keep tabs on them, we change the names of terrorism and the war on terror, we all of a sudden tribunals and renditions are good when they used to be shredding the Constitution, Guantanamo’s no longer a stalag, Iraq is off the front pages. I think the American people are starting to think you know what, this is a little creepy that the media is calling him a god, and we don’t like all of this. We don’t like this at all, this idea that they don’t have to play by the rules because they think that they are so humane, that it’s very Orwellian. And remember, Orwell was a man of the left, and said that the threat to freedom would come from a smiling egalitarian, not some guy goose-stepping in jackboots.

(Transcript here.)

The GOP needs to get its most compelling candidates for seats currently held by Democrats out front and engaged in this debate that the entire country is watching closely. This is a moment where much of America –and especially seniors– are defining the president and his associates as well as the Pelosi Congress, and Republicans have to make sure they are not perceived rightly or wrongly as part of the attempt to sabotage Medicare and introduce rationing as a means of controlling health care costs. This requires effective communication and repetition, and allowing the new faces to do much of the talking and contrasting makes great sense.

So where are they?

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