During a speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) railed against the flood of anti-Obamacare ads that the billionaire Koch brothers are bankrolling. Essentially, Reid stated that the Kochs, thought their SuperPACs, are intentionally lying to the American public about the Affordable Care Act in an effort to help the Republican Party retake the US Senate.
Reid did not pull any punches while on the floor. Considering that the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity released what might be their most dishonest ad yet recently in Michigan, Reid felt the need to speak up and decry the Koch’s constant effort to mislead about the health care law.
“I can’t say that every one of the Koch brother’s ads are a lie….but a vast, vast majority of them are. What is going on with these two brothers who made billions of dollars last year in an attempt to buy our democracy is dishonest, deceptive, false and unfair. Just because you have huge amounts of money, you should not be able to run these false, misleading ads by the hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Also, in his remarks, Reid called the Koch brothers ‘un-American’ and pointed out that they have to lie to create made up horror stories despite the fact that over 4 million people have signed up through the health marketplaces. You would think that if the law was so awful, and that it was negatively effecting millions of people, there would be no need to embellish, mislead or straight out lie about peoples’ stories in political ads. Yet, that seems to be all we get from the GOP and their supporters.
Of course, conservatives tried to twist around Reid’s words and then also claim that they are attacking a woman suffering from cancer. An executive for Koch Companies, Phillip Ellender, made the following statement regarding Reid’s comments.
“We believe it is disgraceful that Sen. Reid and his fellow Democrats are attacking a cancer victim as part of their campaign against Charles Koch and David Koch.”
This is in reference to the ad that most likely set Reid off, a Michigan ad targeting Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Gary Peters. That ad featured Julie Boonstra, a woman suffering from leukemia that stated that Obamacare was costing her far too much money and that it could be life threatening. She made claims that she could lose her doctor, she was being hit with too many out-of-pocket expenses and that she could be denied her medication. She also said that the costs were unaffordable compared to her old insurance policy, that was cancelled.
Multiple fact-checkers looked over her claims and found that the ad was, at best, being deceptively misleading and , at worst, being completely and heinously dishonest. Since the Kochs and Republicans got caught lying, and using an untrue ‘horror story’ to push that lie, they are now playing victims and trying to turn things around on Democrats and the media. Essentially, they are stating that it is unfair to point out these lies because it means you are attacking a poor cancer victim. Because she has cancer, she is allowed to lie in a Republican ad and nobody should point out the lies.
Republicans can continue to play victim here. They can continue to have billionaires fund dishonest ad campaigns and make under-the-table contributions to lawmakers to get them to play ball. However, the fact of the matter is that Obamacare is here to stay. Millions of people have already signed up and millions more will. The public’s taste for repealing the law is no longer there. Running against Obamacare in this year’s mid-terms and 2016 is going to be a losing strategy.