Following his sophmoric campaign ad about getting hit by a child in his, tee hee, senatorial privates, Minnesota U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden has a new metaphoric television ad about the harm he wants to inflict on Obamacare.
The ad opens with Mr. McFadden establishing his bona fides as a Common Man, just like us. Sitting in a plush leather chair in a well polished den, the son of the CEO candidate — who is worth between $15 million and $57 million dollars — tells viewers about the McFaddens’ hardscrabble existence:
Conor McFadden (son of the candidate): “My dad, Mike McFadden? He’s cheap.”
Mike McFadden (candidate): “With six kids, it’s called a budget.”
In Romneyesque fashion, the “with six kids” and “budget” references are intended to imply that Millionaire Mike is struggling from paycheck-to-paycheck, just like a dang minimum wage worker. This is as close to an obligatory “Honest Abe was raised in a primitive log cabin out on the wild frontier” yarn as Team McFadden can muster. (Of course, the $2,000 hockey table on display next to junior doesn’t exactly support the Frugal Mike image. But, hey, he didn’t get the kids the $3,000 table, now did he?)
Then comes the metaphoric meat of the ad:
Conor: “When I was 10 and had to get stitches out after a hockey injury, the nurse said it would cost one-hundred bucks. Dad was so horrified he grabbed the scissors and took them out himself.”
Mike: “You lived.”
Conor: “Trust me, nothing will stop Dad from trying to take out Obamacare.”
Mike: “Send me to Washington and give me some scissors. I’ll put ‘em to work.”
Note the tough, no-nonsense daddy image that McFadden’s political consultants are constructing. Linguist George Lakoff has documented how GOP candidates very consciously frame themselves as “strict fathers” of the family — “you lived” — while portraying Democrats as the overly permissive mommies.
Wait until daddy comes home! Daddy will stop mommy and and the children from spending irresponsibly. There is a lot of that patriarchal “father knows best” vibe here.
So, to recap the ad narrative, strict daddy on a budget is so darn frugal he will remove son’s stitches with his own scissors to save money, and he will do that with Obamacare too!
There are at least a couple of major substantive problems with the mac daddy’s metaphor:
Problem #1: America’s health care system is far from a healed wound. In fact, America’s health care system is an open, festering wound. According to the non-partisan Commonwealth Fund, the United States has the worst health care system in the developed world. After Mr. McFadden “takes out” the ACA stitches in this gaping wound, what is he going to do about the bleeding:
- The 99,643 Minnesotans newly enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) who would be uninsured again.
- The 2,318,738 Minnesotans with some type of pre-existing health condition who would once again be denied insurance without ACA protection.
- The 35,000 Minnesota young adults who, thanks to the ACA, are currently insured under their parents plans until age 26 but would be uninsured again without ACA.
- The 2,043,000 Minnesotans who, thanks to the ACA, are free from worrying about lifetime limits on coverage, but would face such dangerous limits again.
Are we really prepared to let McFadden re-open that wound?
Problem #2: “Taking out” Obamacare stitches with McFadden’s scissors doesn’t save money. In fact, it would cost a lot of money. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Joint Committee on Taxation (JTC), eliminating Obamacare would:
“…cause a net increase in federal budget deficits of $109 billion over the 2013–2022 period.”
In other words, McFadden may be cutting, but he is certainly not saving. That’s an important little $109 billion detail to keep in mind.
Also, McFadden has made it clear that he wouldn’t use his scissors on fellow CEOs at private insurance companies. McFadden opponent Senator Al Franken successfully authored an ACA measure that, for the first time, requires private health plan CEOs to spend at least 80 to 85 percent of the premiums they collect to pay for actual health care, instead of corporate overhead, salaries, bonuses, marketing and profits. In 2012, Franken’s “medical loss ratio” provision led to the average Minnesota family with private insurance receiving a rebate of $303.
But Mr. McFadden has made it clear that he opposes Franken’s scissoring of private insurance companies’ overhead, salaries, bonuses, marketing and profits. Instead, McFadden prefers to take his scissors to millions of Minnesotans benefiting from Obamacare.
So, McFadden wants to scissors an unhealed wound even though it will cost billions and cause massive bleeding. Why? Because the Minnesota GOP’s rabidly Tea Party base demands red-faced Obama-hating, and McFadden will say anything to curry their favor. As McFadden’s son promises them, “Trust me, nothing will stop Dad from trying to take out Obamacare.”