Earlier this month my colleague Josh Pugh wrote a piece which talked about a questionable political ad aimed at Democratic Senate hopeful Gary Peters. Josh believes that Gary Peters' opponent Terri Lynn Land should denounce the ad, given that it included an attack on Peters' daughters.
Anytime the media is going to give a politician a platform, you can expect to see some poll tested talking points.
For Terri Lynn Land that meant suggesting "this campaign is going to be about the issues that matter most in Michigan -- creating jobs, providing workers and struggling students with a fair shot, and making sure that our elected officials don't make promises that they can't keep, such as 'if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.'"
Yes, number three on the list of most important things that Terri Lynn Land wants to accomplish if elected to the most powerful legislative body in the United States of America, is to make sure elected officials don't make promises they can't keep.
You have to wonder if Land gets the irony of this statement.
If you follow Land on Facebook or Twitter, you would see that repealing the Affordable Care Act (affectionately known as Obamacare) has been a goal for hers for years now. It turns out this has also been a goal of many other Republicans as well. They have tried and failed numerous times to repeal this legislation. No political promise has been broken more often than this one. Yet it appears to be the basis for her campaign.
If elected, Terri Lynn Land would end up reneging on this promise because unlike the House, the Senate is more than a dog-and-pony show. A vote like this requires way more thought than "giving new members a chance to put their vote on record," which flies in the House.
While repeal may be an easy applause line among low information voters, the ACA contains a lot of good things that people like. This means Land needs more than just a talking point to address the problems with the ACA. Four years in and Republicans have put far less time into fixing the law than they have in opposing it.
Having said that, if the Terri Lynn Land for Senate campaign believes that a line like "if you like your doctor" represents "issues that matter" then they should be prepared to explain why Terri supported shutting down the government as a way to address government spending. That was a move that cost taxpayers some $24 billion.
It would also be interesting to find out why Michigan was one of the easiest places to get a fraudulent ID under Terri Lynn Land.
Or perhaps the Land campaign would rather talk about how their candidate went from wanting a full repeal of the ACA to later stating "we"re past that." Seems like that could be seen as someone making a promise now they realize they can't keep.
Maybe the campaign would like to discuss their literature and others suggesting Land is a small-businesswoman. That talk plays well with the base, but if you study Land's history, you will see that the business was a family thing and that her passion was for politics.
Land even touts that "she was one of the youngest attendees at the Republican State Convention in Michigan." Land began running for office just after college at age 23, choosing to focus on education instead of business. In fact her business roots apparently run so deep that they don't even appear on her LinkedIn page.
Of course, Gary Peters never said you could keep your doctor. He voted for the law but those are not his words.
If Land is being honest when she says "Michigan families deserve a spirited campaign focused on the issues....not these silly sideshows," then what is her plan to address the problem of people losing their doctor? Does she have a plan to help the 5 million Americans who still have no health insurance because Republican governors refuse to expand Medicare? Do the people who lost their health insurance at the whim of the insurance companies under the old system matter less than the people who are left to find new insurance now? Does she have a plan that cuts into the 131 percent increase in the cost of health care that we experienced the decade before the ACA? At some point, Land has to offer more than merely blaming Obama.
If Terri Lynn Land wants to rise above the "silly sideshows" she can start by eliminating "if you like your doctor," "we have to pass the bill," and "the bill is 2,700 pages" from all future arguments, because as a legislator she's going to have to do a lot more than just complain about what doesn't work and fringe rhetoric. She'll have to work with individuals who have different opinions to create policies.
Josh Pugh asked Terri Lynn Land if she would disavow any peripheral hyperbole and focus on what makes her the best candidate for the job. Her response suggests the answer is no.