Everything You Need to Know About RNC/Castellanos Healthcare Memo


Apparently, there is now some half-assed controversy about whether or not the Alex Castellanos memo that Sam Stein wrote about at HuffPo was a secret, or a double-super-secret, or free for public consumption.  For the RNC’s sake, I hope they meant for it to be a secret, but it makes little difference.

America, they are giving you the finger.  Everything in Castellanos’ memo is dishonest, except this, which is all you really need to know:

We need to bring new language to this debate. If we paint the house the same color, no one will notice anything has changed:We will still be the same, outdated Republicans who have no new ideas and oppose everything. We have to bring something new to the game.

We tested new language on the survey.

They are literally telling you they have nothing new to offer.  I wish I could show this memo to every American, so they could see what the Republicans think of them.

For the moment, I’m going to leave aside Alex Castellanos’ prior work in the field of evil, and focus only on this memo.  No, I’m not.  The RNC is taking marching orders from the guy who made this ad:

Back to the memo.  Further down the page, Castellanos explicitly details how he and the RNC are lying to you.  He creates phrases that make it sound like they’re not opposed to reform, they just want to be more careful, take their time to help get it right.  For example:

Slow down, Mr. President. We can’t afford to get health care wrong.

But in the very next section:

If we slow this sausage-making process down, we can defeat it

Finally, Castellanos’ memo uses the term “bottom up” 7 times.  Do you want to guess how many references are made to those at the bottom of our healthcare food chain, the uninsured?  Would you believe ZERO?

At the end of the memo, Castellanos throws together some idiotic “policy ideas” that I would knock down, except they seem to exist simply as a smokescreen.  Castellanos even calls them “bottom-up, common sense fixes (policy ideas) and new language that the patient-centered health care reform movement might support.”

In other words, they’re just sound bites, with no relationship to actual policies.  They’re just meant to sound good, and they suck at even that.  For example, doing away with pre-existing conditions limitations without covering everyone would simply make it so nobody would ever buy insurance until after they got sick.  Guess what that would do to insurance rates.

It’s a good thing they have the memo, though, if Michael Steele’s memo-less performance is any indication.  Dana Milbank reports that the RNC chair was fine as he hewed closely to Castellanos’ script during his speech at the National Press Club, but not so much after the speech:

Alas for the party boss, the memo did not prepare him for the question-and-answer period.

Does Steele favor requiring everybody to have health coverage? “I don’t do policy,” he replied.

Why didn’t Republicans deal with health-care reform when they were in charge? “There has been just a general lack of focus on this issue,” he said.

As Cenk Uygur noted, the media will continue to cover this issue as though both sides are equal. It’s up to you to know when you’re being played for a sucker.



  1. Talk about overwrought handwringing. Are you seriously trying to pretend you’ve never heard people discuss public relations before? Cry me a river, chicken little.

  2. […] Check: Republicans Have No Health Care Plan While readers of this blog already know this, FactCheck.org provides confirmation that all the GOP has, right now, are a bunch of disingenuous […]

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