. . . Monday January 10, 2005

And You Think You’ve Got Problems

Kevin Drum has an interesting take on W’s plans when it comes to medical tort reform:

There really are things that could be done to restrict frivolous lawsuits against doctors and hospitals … But none of Bush’s proposals would have any effect at all on frivolous malpractice lawsuits. As usual, instead of trying to solve a problem, he’s merely using a problem as an excuse to do something else that he wants to do anyway – regardless of whether or not it has any effect.

Pay close attention to that argument. It gets right to the center of the GOP strategy when it comes to moving legislation.

The first step is always to demonize some system or group. The messaging around the problem that supposedly needs to be solved will be hammered into the public conciousness relentlessly.

Once that goal has been achieved, a set of laws or actions are suggested as a cure for that which afflicts us. If you are against the cure, then you must be for the problem. And if the messaging gurus do their job well, then arguing that there is no problem is utterly hopeless.

Think about the Iraq messaging strategy. The first several months of groundwork revolved around the idea that Saddam presented a major and significant threat to U.S. security and that the current policy was broken.

As I mentioned earlier, you will see this strategy in all its glory when it comes to social security reform. Step one, make sure everyone sees the current system as a problem. In the first post-election press conference on the matter, White House spokesman Dan Bartlett repeated the phrase social security problem nearly forty times.

That’s it. The patient is sick. Who will you turn to for the cure? Well, the doctor who offered the diagnosis of course.

No wonder this administration is so worried abot malpractice lawsuits.


Concentration is important!