Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Luxury Furnace

President Obama is failing miserably in his argument for healthcare reform, and it's because he is letting his opponents control the argument. Right now, everyone is focused on the "how" of healthcare reform, instead of the "why." That argument is ideal for opponents of healthcare reform, and it's an argument Obama can't win. People aren't going to be convinced on the how - or even open to debate it - until after they have been sold on the why.

Think of healthcare as a new furnace. You won't upgrade your furnace just because you solved the "how" question by examining your budget and determining that you have enough savings to pay for it. First, you must convince yourself that you need the upgraded furnace in the first place (the "why" question). If you don't need the furnace, it becomes a luxury, rather than a necessity. You are much more likely to compromise on the how if you are convinced that a new furnace is a necessity. You might even cut back on other spending areas. There is no need to make those concessions if you don't need think you need a new furnace. It's a much more difficult sell when the buyer isn't even sure he wants to buy the product.

By taking on the how before the why is settled, Obama is selling a luxury furnace. Too bad America's healthcare furnace is leaking oil and stopped running years ago.


Pat Bateman said...

Agreed, DP. I think you do need a new furnace. And new pants. But the point is legitimate...

You're on the wrong playing field right now if you are discussing how before everyone has fully accepted the necessity. The need must be firmly established to the point where dickering over details in order to try to stillbirth the idea is not an option.

At this point, standing back and shooting holes in the plan is a perfectly acceptable place to be, politically - and the reason for that is that Obama has not yet pied-pipered everyone behind him on the issue yet. He has to make it political suicide to hold up healthcare reform and the only way to do that is to convince everyone that it's absolutely, 100% necessary and the need is immediate. Once he does that, standing in the way of progress will not look like such a good political strategy to his naysayers.

Defective Pants said...

For the life of me I can't figure out why he isn't trotting out "everyday Americans" who are dying, have lost their homes, have had relatives die, are trapped in their jobs for fear of losing their coverage, etc. in support of his plan. Personal stories whould hammer the need home through the "that could be me if I lose my job" argument. And the media might actually cover it!