This Ad Campaign Shows the GOP's Hypocrisy in Its Fight Against Obamacare

In politics, hypocrisy isn't unusual. It's tough to find a career politician who hasn't flip-flopped on a position or issue. As senator, Obama was against raising the debt limit in 2006. As commander-in-chief, he has demanded its unconditional passage. That's normal in Washington. Sometimes, though, the hypocrisy is so blatant and disturbing that it reaches a completely different level. That's exactly the case with a series of new advertisements opposing Obamacare that were released last week.

Generation Opportunity, a conservative organization deeply opposed to Obamacare, unveiled an advertising campaign aimed at convincing young people to opt out of government-sponsored health care. Many groups are looking to convince students to forgo insurance, but Generation Opportunity's ads are deeply disturbing. Each ad features a creepy Uncle Sam showing up suddenly in a physician's office, intruding on the patient's health procedure. The ads are not only weird, but also have no basis in reality. The campaign is meant to scare college students away from purchasing insurance.

Here's one intended for female students:


If the creepiness of the ads isn't enough to turn you against Obamacare, then maybe the hypocrisy of the ads themselves will. For many conservative groups, the image of the federal government intruding on your privacy, coming between you and your doctor, is the scariest part of the government's involvement in health care. Sarah Palin coined the term "death panels" in 2009 to reference how Obamacare would make intimate health care decisions for Americans. The charge was thoroughly debunked, but it became a rallying cry for the Tea Party and demonstrated the powerful threat of the government infringing upon a patient's rights. Generation Opportunity is attempting to tap into that same power.

Many conservative groups are unconditionally opposed to the (non-existent) government intrusion under Obamacare, but are entirely comfortable with the even greater level of intrusion of the government on women's rights. This July, Wisconsin became the fifth state to require women to undergo a trans-vaginal ultrasound before seeking an abortion. Republican legislatures have passed a number of other bills in recent years that have similar requirements. Such laws are an example of what Generation Opportunity imply will happen to college students if they enroll in Obamacare. The organization effectively messages, "If you sign up for Obamacare, the government will invade your doctor's office and infringe on your rights." That's exactly what Republicans around the country have been doing to women for the past few years. The irony is overwhelming.

Conservatives must either distance themselves from these ads, or admit to the hypocrisy of requiring women to have ultrasounds before getting abortions. They can't have it both ways. 

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Danny Vinik

I'm a recent graduate of Duke University majoring in economics and public policy. I write frequently at my own site, called Political Algebra (www.dannyvinik.com). My main interests are economic policy and political analysis. Outside of journalism, I'm a big sports fan, particularly of Duke Basketball and the Boston Red Sox.

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