Commentary Magazine


Turkey with a Side of Propaganda

In 2007, with the fall holidays approaching, the Star-Ledger published a guide on how to handle uninvited guests. Do you tell the guest to get lost? How do you moderate their inappropriate behavior without making a scene? How do you adjust seating arrangements? Fortunately, you aren’t always obligated to confront the uninvited guest directly if someone else is responsible for bringing them to the party. According to one “conflict” expert quoted by the paper: “You find a way of saying, ‘The person who showed up is a jerk, how did you meet this person?’ You deal with it indirectly.”

The question the article didn’t address, but which many Americans may soon be wondering, is: what if it’s the president of the United States? Or the mayor of New York City? Though you may not have invited Barack Obama or Michael Bloomberg to your family holiday gatherings, they would like to be a presence at your table nonetheless. The president’s intrusion into your private family gatherings is due to, of course, ObamaCare. The health-care reform law is not only still broadly unpopular, but due to its disastrous rollout it’s also not getting much help from the media.

I wrote earlier this week about the limits of the administration’s ObamaCare propaganda efforts, but its supporters are poised to get more creative–and obnoxious. A portion of the website has been set aside for what it is calling “Health Care for the Holidays.” It begins with a typically unfunny (the administration’s famous lack of a sense of humor really hamstrings such efforts) video depicting parents having “the talk” with their wayward son.

The talk is about health insurance. The son seems to be old enough to be off his parents’ insurance plans but young and healthy enough to be exactly the kind of insurance consumer ObamaCare desperately needs to succeed in order to subsidize others. The video runs above the following tagline:

This holiday season, millions of Americans have a chance to get quality, affordable health insurance—many for the first time. If you have family members who are uninsured, you can play a big part in helping them find coverage that works for them. It might not always seem like it, but your family listens to you. So have the talk.

That is followed by the four steps to having the talk. The first is “Send a packing list”–tell your relatives that if they want to come home for the holidays, they really ought to bring their latest W-2 IRS form. Step two is “Planning Your Health Care Talk,” including the exhortation to “Be persistent.” Don’t take no for an answer, because coming from the government that message is never creepy or coercive.

The third step is “Conversation Tips.” Here is how the website instructs you to badger your family members into submission:

Start by asking: “Have you thought about signing up for health insurance on the new marketplace?”

Offer to walk them through it: “Would you like to take some time with me to sign up right now?”

Ask them to make a plan, and commit to it: “When do you plan on signing up?”

Don’t forget to follow up: “Have you signed up yet?”

No pressure, of course. And the final step is for the state’s dedicated servant: “Pledge to have the talk,” written above a form for you–the distinguished ambassador from the Ministry of the Best Interests of the People–to fill out to promise to use your time with your family to read the government’s talking points to them.

Though he cannot match that mobilization of resources, Michael Bloomberg wants in on the action. If you’re already planning to hector your family about the virtues of the benevolent state’s brave new programs, you might as well go all-in. The Washington Examiner reports:

Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the liberal gun control group bankrolled by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has sent out gun control talking points for supporters as they approach their friends and relatives.

“Everyone has friends and relatives with strong opinions and shaky facts,” the email informs supporters. “You can help set the table straight — all you need is this simple guide to Talking Turkey about guns!”

If you really want to give your family a memorable holiday season, give the gift of government-programmed self-righteousness. They won’t forget it. Because you won’t let them.