My OFA (Organizing for Astroturfing) Adventure

I hope the establishment media is monitoring and interested in reporting the real results of the attempt by Organizing for Astroturfing, er, America, to lobby individual members of Congress to support ObamaCare. Sadly, I doubt they are.

If what I have learned this week holds elsewhere, it will turn out to have been a complete bust and will demonstrate that, despite attempts to make it appear otherwise, there is no grassroots groundswell for statist health care.

* * *

On Sunday evening, I received a compelling email that I simply could not ignore calling me to action (click here to see a graphic of the full email):

All throughout August, our members of Congress are back in town. Insurance companies and partisan attack groups are stirring up fear with false rumors about the president’s plan, and it’s extremely important that folks like you speak up now.

So we’ve cooked up an easy, powerful way for you to make a big impression: Office Visits for Health Reform.

All this week, OFA members like you will be stopping by local congressional offices to show our support for insurance reform.

Sign up now to visit Rep. Jean Schmidt’s office in Cincinnati this week.

Well, as a bona fide, long-ago signed-up “member” of Organizing for Astroturfing, er, America, I could not turn down such an important request. (Never mind that the email refers to “health reform” and “insurance reform,” which, last time I checked, are different things.)

So I went to the OFA website and found this sign-up form (red box at link added by me). It informed me of the 2nd District Republican’s office hours, address, and phone number, and asked me to select a time to visit. You’ll notice that the form also required me to provide my phone number, “so that an organizer can follow up with you.” How thoughtful.

Separately, in keeping with the spirit of the OFA email, I “cooked up” the idea of also visiting the office of 1st District Rep. Steve Driehaus, whose district’s boundary is about ten miles away from the BizzyBlog bunker. Driehaus is, at least in theory, one of the “on the fence” Blue Dog Democrats. At an August 4 town hall meeting that made national news, he got an earful from those opposed to the plan and told those who attended that he hasn’t decided how he will vote. Thus, Driehaus is a guy OFA should be targeting.

I made a commitment to visit Schmidt’s office at 4:00 p.m. on Monday, August 10, and to visit Driehaus at 3:00 p.m. In each case, I received a confirming email response that also directed me to a two-page “Office Visits for Health Reform Guide” (PDF).

As you’ll see, the guide has a few amazing claims, with no sourcing, about “the cost of inaction in Ohio”:

  • 1,500,000 are uninsured today in Ohio and 1,180 Ohioans will lose their health coverage every week because of rising costs.

  • The average family premium in Ohio costs $1,000 more because our system fails to cover everyone.

  • Our broken health insurance system will cost the Ohio economy as much as $7.1 billion this year in productivity losses due to lack of coverage.

I did my own sourcing and determined that the claims are either flat-out wrong or squishy deceptions.