Those against it are winning the war: Shame on them for groveling at the sphincter of politically idiotic extreme right wing shibboleths. These kinds of mindless, garrulous attacks are obtuse, dilatory and negligent. That said, the plan is clearly not shovel ready in the “court of public opinion” proven by the fact none of us really know what it’s all about – “Could you be a little more vague please?” The Republican right wing shows that (sadly) you can build a communications strategy out of sound bite e.g. the popular use of the phrase death panels has been highly effective.
Let’s not forget, fear and uncertainty breed contempt. It’s the classic three ways we respond to change: anger, resignation or seeing the possibilities. We can’t see the possibilities because we don’t really understand the benefits. As Bob Dylan sang, “The answer is blowing in the wind.”
You can’t satisfy all the people all the time or some of the people all the time, but you can help all the people sometimes. To do so the Obama administration needs to apply the fundamentals of marketing communication – AIDA:
1. Create awareness. They get full marks, but where’s the beef? Facts are stubborn things and vision without action is a daydream; action without vision is a nightmare.
2. Generate interest. They achieved in buckets, sadly the wrong buckets because they didn’t properly communicate the benefits. They’re focused and too concerned about losing, rather than anxious to win (over the nation and media’s fears). Therefore, they need to be the ruthless enemy of ambiguity, so that we can understand the benefits i.e. sell me the headache not the aspirin.
3. Desire is built by demonstrating, not asserting. To win the Obama administration needs to help people understand and become vested in the plan: If you just tell me I’ll forget, if you show me I won’t remember, but if you involve me I will act. For that to happen it is not just about 50 Million uninsured people!
4. Actions taken now around the country are critical. Currently it’s like a sow trying to feed 12 babies with 9 teats. Obama hitting the town hall circuit is a much-needed tonic, but the stump pitch needs to be relevant to me, not just the uninsured. The simplest answer is to act and if bipartisan approaches are not going to work, the alternative is a rifle shot solution.