In yet another Republican attempt to win the political #messaging war with social media and pop culture references, the women of the House GOP started #25DaysofObamacare, which turns classic Christmas movie quotes into reasons why Obamacare sucks. The Republican Women's Policy Committee took It's a Wonderful Life, a movie about a man who sacrifices his dreams to run a bank that provides affordable loans to the working poor, and repurposed it with "Every time a bell rings, someone loses their health insurance."
It certainly makes sense that the Republican congresswomen would try to get the public's attention with topical/seasonal tweets. This is a very common, if grating, bipartisan practice. It doesn't always go well. Last weekend, the GOP got in trouble for tweeting about Rosa Parks ending racism, all the more touchy in light of recent Republican-led efforts to limit voting access for minorities.
Classic Christmas movie tweets are far less likely to make people mad. But there's still something slightly off about using these movies — which almost all promote helping those less fortunate, like the millions of uninsured Americans in states that aren't expanding Medicaid — to bash a law that's meant to provide people with affordable health care.
December 1 — Charlie Brown Christmas
Talk about ending the war on Christmas. A Charlie Brown Christmas is about Charlie's attempt to overcome the money-obsessed, overly commercialized aspect of Christmas to focus on the real purpose of the holiday: to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. In the Republican meme at left, the sad little Christmas tree obviously represents how sad your Christmas is going to be under Obamacare.
Of course, in the movie, Charlie chooses a small little tree because he isn't impressed by the big, flashy, fake trees. So then the question becomes, is the wimpy tree a junk plan, because it's wimpy? In that case maybe the other flashy trees, the fake ones Charlie's friends tell him to buy, are the Obamacare plans. If Charlie likes his junk tree he can keep it, instead of getting a more comprehensive tree, even if it doesn't have maternity care ornaments, or a mental health coverage star on top.
Or, is it an Obamacare plan, because — despite what his friends tell him — its the one that takes care of his (spiritual) needs? The fake, flashy tree seems like a good deal, but it's not actually a real tree plan.
And, it's worth noting that, in the movie, the initial roll out of Charlie Brown's Christmas is a mess, but everything works out in the end.
December 2 — Home Alone
Okay, so maybe A Charlie Brown Christmas wasn't the best idea. But this is a pretty straight-forward Home Alone joke. After he gets left behind, Kevin rummages around his older brother Buzz's room and finds a picture of Buzz's girlfriend, who isn't much of a looker (according to IMDB, the director dressed up a boy because he thought, correctly, that it would be in poor taste to make fun of a girl with an ugly joke. The GOP obviously does not have the same reservations.)
But this one is a little confusing. Is the "WOOF" for Buzz's old insurance, which might not have been as comprehensive? Or is it for his new insurance with higher premiums? Buzz and Kevin are both minors, so they'd be on their parents insurance anyway. Do the McCallisters have employer-sponsored health insurance?
December 3 — It's a Wonderful Life
George Bailey, a small business owner and job creator, is driven to suicide after the president tells him he didn't build Bailey Building & Loan. Wait, actually, it's after a greedy member of the 1 Percent steals an $8,000 deposit in an attempt to destroy him. But this is about Obamacare, not the economy.
One of the most famous quotes from the film is "Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings." This meme turns something happy (angels) into something sad (cancelled plans). It's the reverse-Upworthy school of social media.
December 4 — Elf
Buddy the "Elf," played by Will Ferrell, amuses everyone in New York City with his child-like wonder. So when he sees a sign that says "World's Best Coffee" he takes it at face value.
Here @LadiesGOP is mocking America's health care system, which is brilliant, because it is the worst. Well, not literally the worst. According to the 2000 World Health Organization report on health care systems, America ranks 37 out of 191 overall. That's worse than Colombia, Chile, and Costa Rica, but better than Sierra Leone and Myanmar, at least. They actually have the worst health care systems in the world. But, obviously, we're meant to take these with a grain of salt.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.