A number of armchair activists, Huffington Post's Sam Stein and The Hill's Brent Budowski just to name a couple, sparked into their righteous (or perhaps Lefteous) indignation. Why? Is anything factually wrong with the ad? Did this man lose his job after Bain bankrupted his company? Yes. Did he and his family lose health insurance coverage because of it? Yes. Did she get seriously sick when they did not have insurance? Yes. Did she pass away from that sickness? Yes. These are all facts not in dispute.
So what's the beef? Well, the beef is that Soptic's wife (the deceased) had her own insurance while Soptic was employed, and that her husband insurance was her secondary insurance. She, however, lost that insurance after being injured and losing her job due to that injury, and any thinking person would realize that had her husband still had the job Mitt Romney's vulture capitalist firm stole from him, his insurance would take over as his wife's primary after she'd lost her own job.
The other excuse, stunningly, is that Soptic's wife died four years after Bain screwed him out of his livelihood. I don't even know why people who don't like the ad would make this argument. It's actually an argument in favor of the ad. She passed away from stage 4 cancer. Which can take.. umm... a few years to develop, during which time, had she had insurance through the job that Romney took away from her husband, she might have been able to get screenings and, I dunno, get it detected early?
So the ad had nothing factually inaccurate, and in a one-minute-spot, it makes a point about the real impact of vulture capitalists like Mitt Romney on real people. The best one can accuse Priorities USA Action of is condensing an important conversation about economic policy down to a minute and thus not including details that, ultimately, does not change the basis of the story.
Is the ad hard-hitting? Yes. Does it show a take-no-prisoners approach? Absolutely. Does it do what the President's campaign probably could not do directly thanks to the media's melting soft spot for protecting their own corporate interests? You betcha. And more relevantly, would it be better if we got a substantive debate about the policies of the two respective candidates and their records rather than 30-second to one-minute on-air punching and counterpunching? Without a doubt.
But let me introduce the soft-underbellied Professional Left to something: politics in the Citizens United era. We didn't set the rules of the game here, but we'd be damned if our team fought with one hand tied behind our backs. The corporate media has no interest in a serious political debate. They are only interested in the horse-race. The debate about what kind of an economy we want - and what kind of an economy each of the candidates have advocated for throughout their lives - can only be introduced into this disgusting media culture by the means of shock. And ads that generate that shock will be the only effective ones to spark that conversation - not just on our TV screens but in our living rooms, over our kitchen tables, and in our coffee shops. That is what this ad does.
Another point the professional whiners don't seem to grasp, in addition to the fact that after what the Republicans have done to this president lying about him, there should be no holding back on our side telling the truth about them, is that it involves the health care debate. Mitt Romney's side has already stepped in it by defending against the ad by using Romneycare - the prototype example that the Affordable Care Act was built on. Mitt Romney has promised to repeal the ACA, and now that his campaign is defending against the ad by using the Massachusetts version of the ACA, it should tell us that he is aware of the fact that the ACA would save lives - like that of Soptic's wife - and he'd repeal it anyway, even if doing so would cause someone like her to die again.
Where is the conversation about that? Where is the conversation about how the ACA is saving lives? Where is the conversation about how real lives will be put in jeopardy, and how people would literally die should it be repealed and the insurance company powers to drop people when they get sick and discriminate on the basis of pre-existing conditions return? Oh, I get it. You professional Leftists didn't like the Affordable Care Act much (because it didn't meet enough of your checklist items), so why embarrass yourselves?
Let's face it: families and individuals have been devastated - and yes, been killed - thanks to the Romneyhood Republican policies of stealing from the poor and the middle class to give to the rich. Killed is not an exaggeration here, either. We know that nearly 50,000 Americans die each year from the lack of health insurance coverage, and the Republican "solution" to that problem has been to hand the insurance companies and drug companies more power and money (see: preventing Medicare from negotiating on drug prices and opposition to regulating insurance companies). We know that severely under-resourced school systems and public safety departments are leaving our communities more vulnurable to gang and gun violence. We know that shipping our jobs to China to be done by near-slave labor condition is devastating lives here and there.
Yes, people can die from the policies we pursue as a country, and on the converse, people's lives can be saved through other policies. Our lives - and in some cases life and death - is intricately tied to the kind of system we live in, and that story needs to be told. If that story can be told through the example of one family's tragedy, it only makes it more human, more effective, and the shock that it takes to jolt the media's and pundits' laziness.
Let me ask something to the Sam Steins and Brent Budowski's - and the rest of the moron media heads - of the world. Who's going to make Mitt Romney answer for what making a fortune meant for him - namely making families and communities destitute? Who's going to make Mitt Romney answer for the fact that his tax plan as a presidential candidate would raise taxes on everyone but the rich so that he can give a fat check from the government to every millionaire? Who's going to make Mitt Romney answer for all of that? You guys in the media? You guys at the Huffington Post? You guys at The Hill? You and your weak-kneed friends in the press have had over a year to do just that, and all you have done is to be almost as far removed from the struggles of average Americans as Mitt Romney himself, while your bosses prepare to vote for Mitt Romney.
You haven't done much. You can't, really, even if you wanted to, in the post-Citizens United world. Well, you could do one thing. You could have caused an unrelenting uproar with Citizens United and its detrimental effects to until under pressure, the Supreme Court reconsidered the case, or at the least, a full disclosure law passed Congress. You did not. You - the whole combined you - didn't want to screw up your corporate ownerships and sponsorships.
So don't give me this pious baloney about how Priorities USA is doing something wrong. Don't give me this high-horse manure. This is a campaign to pick which direction America is going to take: investing in our country as a people or destroy the social compact. This isn't the time to sit back and nitpick fights with the president's supports. This isn't the time to get horrified of the fact that - gasp - for once, the Democrats have a team that knows to hit back as well as it gets. This is the time to celebrate the fact that we have people supporting the president who can do this work.
The response to being asked about this ad is not to recoil in horror because this is a "character attack" on Romney. The proper response is this: what this ad shows is Mitt Romney's character - he cares about no one but people like himself. The ad is factually accurate. The conversation it is sparking is the most relevant one in this election. For goodness' sake, Mitt Romney is still blaming President Obama for deficits and job losses caused by George W. Bush and his policies, and an ad linking Mitt Romney to the actions of a company he ran and was full owner of is what's bringing out all the howling from the so-called "Left?" Give me an effing break.
This kitchen is about to get a lot hotter. If you don't have the constitution to stand the heat, please see yourselves out.