Students help create change once more


With the House of Representatives approving legislation key to health care reform on Sunday, President Barack Obama claimed a major victory for his presidency, thereby proving himself to be a strong leader capable of accomplishing his goals despite heavy criticism.

John Park | Daily Trojan

But it certainly wasn’t easy.

While it is true that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic congressional leaders played a large part in gaining necessary support for the bill, Obama himself led the charge to gather support from America. In particular, he turned to the demographic that came out in full force to help him win the election in 2008: young adults, especially students.

Once again Obama asked his supporters to make phone calls and send e-mails to their respective congressional representatives. By using his already extensive base of students from the presidential election, he was able to mobilize many to reach out to other citizens about health care reform.

But Obama didn’t stop there as he took the health care battle to the Republicans’ home turf — the radio waves. Obama mobilized his base of loyal supporters to call various conservative radio shows and offer viewers their opinion of the health care reform package.

Obama also set up a page for radio on his website similar to the phone banking page he created during the presidential election in which millions of calls were placed by regular citizens across the country all while sitting at their desks.

On this website supporters were able to find a radio show and its phone number, and were provided a script to follow while on air. The process itself was very simple, and the hope was that many supporters of Obama’s health care package would be willing to do some on-the-air campaigning and defend his policy against conservative leaders.

Obama made a good strategic decision by going after conservatives in their own arena, and in doing so also proved there is still a large number of people who are willing to campaign and spread his policies to others on his behalf.

Conservative talk radio remains a key part of the conservative political base. Thousands of people listen to their favorite conservative radio hosts, such as Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin and Sean Hannity, blast liberals and give their opinions on the news of the day. Limbaugh along with Levin, Hannity and other conservative radio shows, are seen as heroes in the eyes of many American conservatives. Many political analysts go even further and claim conservative talk radio is the heart of the conservative movement and Republican Party.

In creating his web page, Obama hoped to re-energize his youth base that helped him during the Democratic primaries and general election in 2008. Young people were especially helpful in turning out votes on university campuses and going into the surrounding areas and registering people to vote. This demographic would be the best option to take on conservatives on the radio because they are the most energized — and, one could argue, the most optimistic as seen in 2008.

Let’s make it clear that Obama isn’t done using his base to spread his health care message. The coming months will be key in determining whether or not his health care plan will be considered a success.

The polls currently show that a majority of Americans opposed his bill, and it will be very important to see if those people change their minds after seeing the bill’s benefits. Some experts predict that for these people, perhaps just knowing they can keep their health care plans without the entire system collapsing might be enough to sway their opinions.

Many opponents of Obama’s health care plan were acting on the fear spread by Republican politicians who claimed the bill would bring drastic and negative changes to all Americans with or without health care — a claim that Obama has said is false.

Obama must keep his support base mobilized and ready to continue making phone calls to citizens and radio shows.

Without a strong show of support for the bill over the next couple months, a midterm defeat for the Democrats is possible — a defeat that could lead to Republican control of both the Senate and House.

If Obama cannot convince and show the American people that the bill is beneficial, and instead loses Democratic control of Congress, he will face difficulty passing other legislation.

He is already looking into a comprehensive bill to reform the educational system and is also working on an environmental bill. It goes without saying that without Democratic majorities in both the Senate and House, it will be very difficult — if not impossible — for him to lead other comprehensive reform efforts on controversial topics.

Angad Singh is a sophomore majoring in communication and international relations.

  • Heinrich

    Diane, if I’ve swallowed liberal platitudes, then your post is nothing but a regurgitation of republican ones. It’s clear we’re not going to change each other’s minds, but I will say this: my generation is driven by documented, growing consciousness of social justice and diplomacy. The rest of the West has put these measures into policy, so why not follow? If these values are “just stupid” in your book, then you must be a deeply unhappy person, or just plain selfish.

  • Diane

    Hey Heinrich, go back and read Joe’s first post here. In fact, read all of his posts here. You are clearly in need of an education, as you have swallowed numerous liberal misconceptions.

    The reason we have a financial problem in this country is all about SPENDING, which Democrats do with absolute impunity (as evidenced by this “health care” disaster-of-a-bill). GOP has often been guilty of going along for the expensive ride. Only one group seems interested in getting us back on track, and the added bonus is that they also want to protect our individual liberties. That would be your conservative/libertarian types — the polar opposite, Heinrich, of Obama and his sheep.

    Your understanding of Wall Street is pathetic. Tell me, who do those “fat cats” contribute to, mostly? The records are very clear. Democrats and their buddies on Wall Street get “bailed out” — because they’ve greased the palms of the Democrats in power. Furthermore, the economy is “wrecked” in large part due to the insane policies instituted by Democrats that encouraged/forced mortgage companies to give bad loans to people who had no business getting loans (that would be in the name of “fairness”). So much liberal lunacy, so little time to go over it all. But Heinrich, you know nothing of what you speak. You are merely repeated liberal platitudes. Government — the FEDERAL government — is a big part of why health care is a problem in the first place. My gosh are you blind? Look what Medicare has done to the health care business. Look what Social Security has done with our money (where is it, anyway?)…

    Your comment about slashing education shows exactly the problem with your mindset. Probably educated in our public school system, you were never taught what the Constitution provides for… and WHAT IT DOES NOT. The federal government shouldn’t have anything to do with education! Things are worse now than when Carter started the Dept of Ed… why not just dismantle it? So you see, there are intelligent, legitimate ideas that you apparently have never wrapped your brain around. It’s all just “bad GOP wants to slash education.”

    That’s simple-minded, obtuse, and sad in a student here at USC. Joe’s right. Your generation, if they continue to embrace these policies, is just stupid. Your future is one of enormous, burdensome taxes, a nanny state, big brother government, and decreased personal liberty. That sound “a lot more optimal” to you?

  • Joe

    Jack, the Bush administration was no more “responsible for the wars” than FDR was responsible for World War II. Winning the war was, and still is, the responsibility of the federal government. Furthermore, no one praises Bush’s failure on domestic policy and deficits. Yet, compared to what came after — Obama’s tripling of the deficit, massive expansion of the debt, with trillion-dollar deficits projected INDEFINITELY — Bush seems in retrospect like a modern day Benjamin Franklin. Obama has increased the debt in 14 months by more than Bush did in eight years, and he has done it while destroying employment, especially for the young, and saddling you with new taxes and entitlement burdens, none of which you will ever see a benefit from.

  • Jack

    Joe,

    I am going to repeat a simple sentence, copied and pasted, from what you wrote-

    “And when they themselves get older, they get the added pleasure of paying off the national debt that the past couple generations have run up faster and faster for decades.”

    A good deal of that national debt arising from the George Bush administration in power from 2000-2008, which was responsible for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which cost a trillion dollars.

  • Heinrich

    Well Diane, I suppose young people like myself are “flocking like sheep” to Obama because unlike our last president, he has continuously voiced and demonstrated his commitment to bettering the existence of all American citizens, including students.

    Tell me, who is going to be paying the lion’s share of the deficit that Bush and Cheney accumulated through their illegal wars and tax cuts? Who is going to have the worst time finding work due to the blind eye Republicans turned to Wall Street as they gambled with the livelihoods of millions and wrecked our economy? Is it surprising that many young people support Obama, as Republican lawmakers attempt to slash the budgets for education and placate the insurance companies whose premiums force many of us to neglect necessary medical attention?

    Given your insulting dismissal of young people and our legitimate concerns, I can only assume you are considerably older. Believe me, the future prospects for your generation was a lot more optimal than ours before Obama won the presidency.

  • Joe

    I do support winning the wars. The alternative to winning wars is losing wars. The war is not a luxury that we chose, something we can simply opt out of and somebody else (Mom and Dad?) will take care of it for us. Winning wars is the duty, the reason, for a federal government.

    Obamacare, on the other hand, is an unfunded welfare program whose sole purpose is to screw over the young and healthy in order to benefit the Baby Boom, the “me” generation, the most liberal generation in American history, a rotten cohort whose sole contributions to the world in their lifetimes are abortion and debt. I know you don’t get it now, you probably think this is all about “helping” people, because you’re a kid. I believe it was Winston Churchill who said, if you’re not a liberal at 20, you’re heartless, and if you’re not a conservative by 30, you’re brainless. Five or ten years from now, when you start to understand the adult world, is when the bills are really going to kick in. Hence my comment “congratulations, stupid”.

  • Jack

    John,

    While you have a good point, it is safe to assume based on many posts John has made on political articles that he is a supporter of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I am not simply assuming because he’s anti-health care bill he’s pro-war.

  • John

    Jack,

    Did Joe mention the money being spent in Iraq and Afghanistan as justified? I for one am against both the high cost of the health bill and the two wars we are currently fighting. Don’t assume that everyone follows the exact same mindset as party leaders.

  • Jack

    Joe,

    Is it possible the national debt has also increased due to the what? Trillion plus $ spent in Iraq and Afghanistan? Oh wait…. those are justified. Whoops.

  • Joe

    What really blows my mind is how quickly and eagerly the young and stupid have signed on to cheerlead for Obama. A recent poll I read showed that the ONLY demographic that supports Obamacare is the 20-29 group. And yet the young are EXACTLY the group that are punished most by this bill. The basic premise of Obamacare is to force young, healthy people to buy unnecessary insurance at extremely high rates (as opposed to the cheap insurance they can buy today) — or face being thrown in jail — all for the purpose of transferring their money to the aging Baby Boomers. And when they themselves get older, they get the added pleasure of paying off the national debt that the past couple generations have run up faster and faster for decades.

    Congratulations, stupid.

  • Diane

    Obama can count on young people because most of them, educated in our public school system, are unable to critically analyze issues, and instead flock like sheep to whatever cause seems “coolest.”

    The fact that young Mr. Singh has apparently swallowed the Kool-aid proves my point.

    The fact that there are so many overwhelming reasons why the American public does not support this bill (which make no mistake, was rammed down our throats with much backroom dealing and other shenanigans) apparently escapes our young editorial writer.

    So, Angad, Obama says the GOP claim that this bill will bring drastic and negative change is a false claim? How would you know? Did you read the bill? Did you run the numbers? Nobody in their right mind thinks this is financially feasible, not to mention the loss of personal liberty inherent in the whole concept.

    What’s more, our president is a LIAR. This has been proven over and over again. Do you remember when he said any bill that crossed his desk would be available to the public for five days so they could review it before he signed it? It’s on video, my friend. Now get out your little calculator and your calendar, and figure out how long it’s been since the bill passed. He’s signing it now, as I write this.

    So… why should we believe Obama’s claim that this bill is NOT going to do great damage? He has absolutely not trustworthiness left, and only the very most mindless sheep are still following blindly, bleating all the way. That’s you, Mr. Singh. For gods sake wake up already.