House Democratic leaders have set up a healthcare “war room” to help their rank-and-file members navigate a tumultuous August in which they find themselves on the defensive on their signature issue.Funny, but it seems the only kind of war Democrats like is war against the American citizens.
The effort is being run out of Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s (D-Md.) office, but is being manned around-the-clock by a rotation of leadership and key committee staff members, according to leadership aides.
Although the war room or “healthcare hotline” is primarily designed to give members the ability to get immediate health policy answers and updates from leadership offices, top Democrats are also planning to use the war room to help their colleagues respond effectively to political and press attacks, if necessary.
“The news is being monitored very closely,” a leadership aide said in describing the various functions of the healthcare hotline.
Democratic leaders have more or less opted to operate as if the House were still in session and keep in much more regular contact with the Caucus.
In fact, even the war room itself is only one part of an aggressive internal communications strategy that House Democrats are embracing during their August recess, which is usually a time when party leaders loosen their grip on the majority of their members.
But this August is far from normal.
In addition to lacking a last-week-before-recess-triumph on a major bill that Democrats can tout back home, this August has Democrats deeply divided over what healthcare reform should look like, with liberals in the House threatening to block President Obama’s top priority if doesn’t include a “robust” public option to compete with private health insurers, and conservative Blue Dog Democrats still eyeing skeptically the concessions they won from leaders.
With more news accounts of Democratic town hall meetings running rampant with angry and even violent anti-healthcare protests, the bolstered communications plan is designed to help members respond to negative town hall coverage and push ahead with a message that is designed to resonate above the chants of protesters.
This isn't change you can believe in.
Hot Air links. Thanks!