Thursday, October 30, 2008

Obama's 30-Minute Infomercial--The Reviews Are In

Last night Obama aired his 30-minute infomercial on three of the four major broadcast networks. The reviews are in and, not surprisingly, people were not impressed. That's just way too much time at a point where one more 30-second ad is enough to cause most viewers to grab the remote and change the channel.

Shockingly, though, the Associated Press was in the lead in criticizing the broadcast. AP writer calls Obama less than upfront and suggests he was misleading about budget realities. Here is one example.
THE SPIN: "That's why my health care plan includes improving information technology, requires coverage for preventive care and pre-existing conditions and lowers health care costs for the typical family by $2,500 a year."

THE FACTS: His plan does not lower premiums by $2,500, or any set amount. Obama hopes that by spending $50 billion over five years on electronic medical records and by improving access to proven disease management programs, among other steps, consumers will end up saving money. He uses an optimistic analysis to suggest cost reductions in national health care spending could amount to the equivalent of $2,500 for a family of four. Many economists are skeptical those savings can be achieved, but even if they are, it's not a certainty that every dollar would be passed on to consumers in the form of lower premiums.
Instapundit notes that infomercial "experts" thought it was poor performance. The link to the review of "All Sham, No Wow" was particularly entertaining. Though I'm not sure that last comparison is fair. I've actually owned a Shamwow purchased at a local home and garden show and it actually works! The same cannot be said for Obama's planned policies...

Bill Dyer comments that McCain and Palin have been to "charitable" in their discussion of where the money for the infomercial came from.
The McCain-Palin campaign correctly points out that Sen. Barack Obama's "30-minute prime-time address [tonight will be] a 'gauzy, feel-good commercial' that was 'paid for with broken promises.'" But for Obama's undisputed and indisputable violation of his solemn oath to accept public campaign financing, there's no way he could have spent hundreds of millions of dollars, including this hugely expensive cross-network TV buy.

But "paid for with broken promises" is the most charitable characterization. The Obama-Biden campaign deliberately has solicited and received hundreds of thousands of credit card transactions of $250 or less, whose details the campaign won't make available for outside review even though in the aggregate they amount to hundreds of millions of dollars — via a fraud-friendly credit card system (a) which accepts transfers from untraceable pre-paid credit cards, and (b) whose basic anti-fraud measures have been deliberately crippled. The Obama-Biden campaign might just as well have set up dumpsters all over the world into which illegal donors could dump shopping bags full of cash donations made in unmarked small bills.
It is of course impossible to measure the impact of the infomercial. But by all indications, it was at best a wash for Obama.

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