King Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes that there is nothing new beneath the heavens. It is certainly odd then that even some conservatives in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate suffer from amnesia.
In the fall of 1995, Republicans shut the government down. The result was the 1996 re-election of underdog Democratic incumbent Bill Clinton. Democrats controlled neither the Senate nor the House. Americans had thrown them out of power in responding to a government they thought out of control. The heartland hated the Clinton healthcare reform plan, and they took it out on the nation’s legislative branch majorities.
Republicans gambled, thinking they could run the entire table, and marked Clinton for defeat. It didn’t work out that way. Americans may not have liked the Clinton healthcare reform plan but they really hated the government shutdown.
Nearly 20 years later, Republicans take a man with falling poll numbers — President Obama — and get ready to make him a hero by even threatening to shut the government. The outdated rhetoric being used sounds like a foreign language. They call the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — socialism. That would have been great code in the last century but it doesn’t mean much today.
Americans want less expensive healthcare and they probably have no idea what that has to do with stopping government. Nor do they know what Texas’ Ted Cruz meant when Sam, green eggs and ham, and who knows what else found its way from his mouth onto the Senate floor.
Hitting a president who’s been up nights with sick polls using partisan green eggs and ham will help few Americans solve the ragged puzzle called by Washington standards our government.
Being on the political right or the left now probably won’t matter much to the people who pay the bills. What matters is that they really hate when things they pay for don’t work. And to all those in Washington who think otherwise, here’s a secret: Folks back home know it’s not working at all. And that truly is nothing new.
Hank Sheinkopf is an early creator of integrated strategic campaigns using all forms of media and has won national and international awards for his radio and TV productions. He is a veteran of more than 700 political, public policy, and public relations campaigns around the world. Read more reports from Hank Sheinkopf — Click Here Now.
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