“ObamaCare” — the “Celebrity” Ad’s Enduring Legacy

Down in the polls, and without relief in sight, McCain ran in August 2008 what was to become one of the more shameful TV spots of his campaign — the “celebrity” ad:

McCain was roundly criticized for the ad, as contrary to his reputation for honesty and honor. While McCain has moved on, though, the Republican Party has not. We don’t normally identify proposed legislation by Presidents, but conservatives and some moderates have, for some time, exclusively referred to health care reform proposals as “ObamaCare.” Why?

This has to be seen as a perpetuation of the “celebrity” attack, an attempt to blame the President for an ego that he’s never showed, and imply a coordinate lack of substance. “ObamaCare” joins the deliberately misstated “Democrat Party” as proof that you can always depend on the Republicans to create a vocabulary of derision.



  1. I heard someone the other day complaining about his media blitz this past week, when he went on Letterman. They brought up this line again, about him being a celebrity.

    What’s funny to me, is that as president, that’s most of his job. Since the executive branch has no power with legislation, he has to exert influence to make it happen. He has to be charismatic, do town-halls, appear on tv, try to win people over both in public and in congress.

  2. There was a really insightful comment made this morning on Morning Joe and all the guests (liberal and conservative) agreed. The question was asked, when you have a President this popular and this well-spoken, why can’t he explain healthcare reform to the masses? The answer seems to be that it’s not his plan and he wasn’t involved enough.

    Whatever will be said about this when it’s all said and done, it wasn’t his finest moment. He was quiet for too long and hasn’t taken ownership of the bill. I’m fine with a President using the bully pulpit for issues they believe in. I just never got the impression that Obama really knew what he believed in. He’s been extremely willing to dump anything that got the least amount of negative blowback. That lack of commitment is why this is still being debated in September.

  3. Mike, I didn’t get a chance to say so earlier, but I find that neither insightful nor, really, correct. Obama has had & taken the chance to explain his views on the bill, and done it fairly well — if a bit late. But, the finest train may be derailed by the lowest penny. With an opposition willing to make race-to-the-bottom arguments like “death panels,” “socialism,” and “OMG IMMIGRANTS,” and a populace partially willing to believe it, civility, rationality, and, really, reality find themselves in something less than a fair fight. We’ve won it before and we will again, but that we haven’t is more than half due to the opposition’s willingness to lie and obfuscate to defray or defeat meaningful change.

  4. Ames,

    If the bill is so great, then why are Democrats so desperate to have Republicans on board?

  5. See earlier post on bipartisanship?

    1. So it was an attempt at political cover…

%d bloggers like this: