EDITORIAL: Giving thanks for Obamacare

President’s campaign seeks enrollment cheer in the holidays

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

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President Obama’s minions want family holiday gatherings to be a time for reflection on the blessings of Healthcare.gov. Organizing for Action, the rebranded version of Mr. Obama’s political machine, has unveiled an advertising campaign designed to boost Obamacare’s embarrassing enrollment numbers. It’s titled “Health Care for the Holiday.”

The campaign script urges people to “take advantage of downtime after meals or between holiday activities to start your talk.” It wants family members to pester one another with the question, “Have you thought about signing up for health insurance on the new marketplace?” The marketing material carefully omits use of the word “Obamacare,” just as it also silent about the canceled policies, premium increases and shrinking access to doctors and hospitals that have resulted from the government intervention into the marketplace.

In the unlikely event that someone actually wants to put down the cranberry sauce and stuffing in favor of logging in and downloading an Obamacare policy on Thursday, that individual will likely be disappointed. Officials at the Department of Health and Human Services hope the failed Healthcare.gov website will be almost functional by Dec. 1, but they’re not making any more promises.

Mr. Obama, on the other hand, is as committed as ever. “As we go into the holiday season,” the president said in a conference call to supporters last week, “… now is the time to remind people that, ‘Look, we’ve got to make sure that everybody takes advantage of the opportunity to get affordable coverage for the first time.’”

Turning a festive family gathering into an occasion for proselytization is just the sort of disruptive tactic that candidate Obama recommended in a September 2008 stump speech in which he urged supporters to carry his campaign message to their friends and neighbors. “I want you to argue with them,” he said. “Get in their face.”

A writer for the online magazine Slate agreed last week in a snarky essay “How to Pick a Fight With Your Relatives This Thanksgiving.” Though John Cook didn’t urge making a sales pitch for Obamacare specifically, he did advise sticking to “short, sarcastic, tendentious remarks to get things going.” He suggests saying, “I’m thankful for all that free stuff Obama gave me.” Liberals like Mr. Cook see a sporting value in rubbing passage of the health care takeover in the faces of its opponents. MSNBC host Chris Hayes likewise tweeted a promo for his program: “Devoting our whole show on Wednesday to how to talk politics, news with conservative family members,” he wrote. “Should be fun.”

The Tea Party Patriots is countering the effort to hijack the holiday, which coincides with the start of Hanukkah, with its own “Thanksgiving Toolkit.” The document offers rebuttals to the Obamacare spin machine along with ideas for health care reform that would actually make coverage more affordable.

Turkey Day has always been about recognizing and appreciating all the good things we have in life. One thing is certain: Obamacare isn’t one of them.

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