The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Making the Rounds

Public Option Annie, the musical health-care protest

By Garance Franke-Ruta
Washington has long attracted demonstrations, but the contentious debates over health-care reform and climate change appear to be reanimating protesters' absurdist impulses.

There's public option street art in the Logan Circle and U Street neighborhoods in the District. The Yes Men impersonated the Chamber of Commerce at the National Press Club earlier this week, leading to a bizarre standoff. And now, in a video clip starting to circulate online, we have "Public Option Annie" -- the singing protest at the America's Health Insurance Plans state issues conference in Washington on Friday morning.

The protesters interrupted a presentation by Republican pollster Bill McInturff, whose work for AHIP on the series of early-90s "Harry and Louise" anti-health-care reform commercials has been called by Advertising Age "among the best conceived and executed public affairs advertising programs in history."

AHIP represents insurers who provide coverage to more than 200 million Americans, the group says. Singing out against them were a small group of protesters from the group Billionaires for Wealthcare, which specializes in dressing up as members of the groups it is critiquing (often in an exaggerated or satirical way, as with top hats or suspenders).

Posted at 3:20 PM ET on Oct 24, 2009  | Category:  Making the Rounds
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It is so said that no public official and no news organization has truly tried to inform the public on the health care issues. What is true is that the insurance industry is doing a lousy job of making health care available to all. Unless forced by regulation they will not because IT IS NOT THEIR RESPONSIBILITY. Their responsibility is to their shareholders (In general, they do a lousy job here also because of management with questionable ethics, but that's another issue). What is insanity, is to believe that the government will do the job better. Just examine Medicare, Social Security, the USPS, campaign reform, the SEC, the FDIC, FEMA, etc., etc., and think of the massive failures. Would any sane person reasonably expect the passage of what will be an admittedly flawed bill by the same bodies, which gave us these wonderful examples of their insight and expertise, will be the start of the solution to the health care problems? Do you think a process which consistently ignores and attempts to marginalize opposition is the right process? All I know for sure, is that generally speaking, we need just about an entirely new slate in Washington, if we want to hope for real improvement. Think about it the next election day. Are you voting for your candidate because he brings home the bacon (according to his tax payer funded newsletter)? Is your candidate just a familiar name? Has your candidate really expounded on the issues and showed an understanding? If you have to mindlessly vote Democrat or Republican, go ahead. Just do not vote for the incumbent. Finally, many of you should consider, for instance, 68 million people voted for President Obama. 149 million people elected him (81 MILLION PEOPLE DIDN'T BOTHER TO VOTE FOR THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!!!). Similair ratios hold true for every Congressman and every Senator elected. What might be the outcome if people were informed and if they then voted?

Posted by: thinking1962 | October 25, 2009 10:04 AM

The use of such 'creative' methods to get their message of support our on reform speaks to the urgent need to have this legislation passed in a timely fashion.

This is a great representation of our democracy. Keep the pressure on!

Posted by: Victoria5 | October 25, 2009 9:37 AM

The public support for the public option is a reflection of how much the average citizen hates the insurance industry. It appears that true universal health care still remains a pipe dream, but the public option is viewed as the next best thing... a consolation prize. Pelosi was wise to tap into discontent.

Each issue before Congress must stand on its own merits. Climate change is no slam dunk. The take no prisoners approach to climate change legislation is folly. The public buys into solar energy and hybrid cars, but rejects a new energy tax.

Many people are fed up with the lack of a national energy policy that discourages exploration for natural gas and oil and demonizes coal and nuclear energy.

Posted by: alance | October 25, 2009 7:13 AM

That was awesome. It sure aggravates exec types when their meetings to keep the disadvantaged down is interrrupted. They couldn't get security quick enough. (And how silly did security look LOL) That's one of the main reasons I quit going to a church (being a white suburbanite). I see so many of these type there. Who would Jesus heal? And when he healed, did he rake in astounding profits while turning away ones without insurance? I must have missed that particular Sunday School lesson where the disciples went out to collect on an overdue medical bills. LOL

Posted by: leaningtoleft | October 25, 2009 5:19 AM

scrivener50, Obama and his accomplices are using the same strategy used by Hugo Chavez and the rest of the Marxist thugs in Latin America to force us to submit to Marxism. It's a strategy based on lies, manipulation, intimidation, coercion, fraud, and the control of the media.

Obama already controls the Executive and Legislative branches of power and is working on controlling the Judicial branch. He already controls 80% of the media and is working on taking over the rest. Even the blogs are controlled. The blogs in much state-controlled media do not allow any real dissent.

Just like the Marxist thugs in Latin America, Obama is passing, as fast as possible, bills that will enslave us using as pretext "URGENT" "health care reform,” cap and trade," etc. Those bills are NOT urgent for the people. They are only "URGENT" for the would-be dictator because, when people realize what's is happening, they try to defend themselves.

The state-controlled media is not reporting what Americans need to know to defend themselves. Were it not for FOX, we would not know about the ACORN fraud nor about the Marxists working in key post in the Obama administration.

We are in grave, grave danger. What’s amazing is that, in 1948, people would have been better able to defend themselves because they were not yet dumb down. There’s a cartoon that shows they understood the danger ---

Posted by: AntonioSosa | October 25, 2009 2:11 AM


I attempted to post this comment to Alex Jones' "" web site early this morning. I received an on-screen message that the comment was being "held for moderation" -- while many other comments were posted instantaneously, according to their time stamps.

I believe the very federal multi-agency program that I reference in the comment below is misusing warrantless surveillance programs to harass, and to CENSOR and exercise prior restraint on the telecommunications of American citizens.

Is Team Obama naive, misinformed, or complicit? I still don't know. But I do know that our Constitution apparently continues to be shredded by agents of government.


Why are liberals so gullible?

Obama is handing the noose to the executioners of liberty and his own administration.

Is he -- and other Obama officials -- under the Pavlovian influence of silent, neurologically damaging, illness and injury-inducing microwave/laser radiation directed energy weapons -- which a federal "multi-agency coordinated action program" has deployed against "targeted" Americans -- in one iteration, reportedly disguised as cell towers?

Read this and call your congressperson:

Posted by: scrivener50 | October 25, 2009 1:43 AM

Posted by: scrivener50 | October 25, 2009 12:42 AM

You can get instant quality full coverage medical insurance for entire family at the best price from

Posted by: westbrook2510 | October 25, 2009 12:16 AM

MadasHelinVA, if you have Medicare, the implementation of Obamacare will affect you! Seniors are going to have to share medical resources with the additional millions of people that Obama wants to serve, including it seems ilegals.

And recourses are likely to diminish given that many doctors are considering not practicing medicine any more, at least not in the U.S., if the Obamacare scam is forced on us.

Additionally, although in communist doublespeak, Obama and his accomplices would call his death panels, "life panels," or their government-takeover of health care "public option," their lies do not change the fact that, as per the House bill (pages 425-430), we would be asked to receive end-of-life (death) counseling when we turn 65.

Lies do not change Obama's pro-abortion and pro-infanticide (late-term abortion) stand, nor the aberrant eugenic stands of Obama's Health Care Czar Ezekiel Emanuel and Science Czar John Holdren.

Dr. Emanuel has said that "Medical care should not be given to those who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens." As per Dr. Emanuel, your mother suffering from Alzheimer’s or your child diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome SHOULD NOT receive medical care.

And Obama's "Science Czar" John Holdren has called for population-control policies such as forced abortions, mass sterilizations, and mandatory population controls.

Lies do not change the FACT that we are broke and Obamacare will further destroy our economy, our future and the future of our children and grandchildren.

Lies do not change the FACT that Obamacare is another scam to enslave us.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | October 24, 2009 11:31 PM

The protestors are probably ACORN-type "community organizers" who are paid with the money Obama is stealing from our children and grandchildren.

We may have issues with insurance companies, hospitals and doctors, but that does not mean we want the criminal Obamacare scam! Under the one-payer system (socialized medicine) that Obama and his accomplices plan for us sooner or later, doctors will be working for the government, following government’s orders.

Who in the government? Obama’s Health Care Czar Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel? Dr. Emanuel (also called Dr. Death) has said that “Medical care should not be given to those who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens.”

If doctors report to Dr. Emanuel, they will have to refuse medical care to the elderly and the handicapped because they are “irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens.”

Obama and his Czars, including Science Czar John Holdren, seem to share Dr. Emanuel’s thinking. As a Senator, Obama voted in favor of abortion and infanticide (late-term abortion). And Science Czar John Holdren has called for population-control policies such as forced abortions, mass sterilizations, and mandatory population controls.

We DO NOT want Obama and his ACORN and Marxist accomplices to “take care of us.” We would be safer in the hands of the mafia!


Posted by: AntonioSosa | October 24, 2009 11:17 PM

I loved it! It's in the spirit of "Billionaires for Bush" and its offshoot, "Billionaires for Wealthcare."

Posted by: Rdobrick | October 24, 2009 10:56 PM

Yes, it is indeed pathetic that we the public have little enough power to thwart the greedy, mindless corporate thieves by doing "absurdist" things.

But it's all we have -- unless of course you want violence, and it may well come to that as people are further forced into poverty while top executives argue about whose Learjet is faster.

There is NOTHING 'free-market' about what these corporations are doing to the USA and our middle-class -- it is nothing more than brazen, politician-sanctioned larceny.

So we dance and sing and poke fun at these greedy cretins to make our feelings known, when in other times we would have been burning down the Prudential Building and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Executive Tower and stringing up the occupants, ala 1776.

While I sit here at 60, having worked all my life, now without any hope of insurance, and in desperate need of a pacemaker my family and I simply cannot afford -- I have to believe that that 'man at the top', with his multi-million dollar annual bonus, thinks of me as nothing more than a statistic that enabled him to become obscenely wealthy.

Yes, I too am an "absurdist".


Posted by: GooberBoy | October 24, 2009 10:54 PM

This is part of America the rest of the world love and admire. Not the reasonless crazy tea baggers.

Posted by: bluelagoon21 | October 24, 2009 9:42 PM

Should be PERFORMED on the Floors of the Senate, House of Representatives, and in the Oval Office!

Posted by: lufrank1 | October 24, 2009 9:42 PM

The 60's are alive and well and thank God for these THOUGHTFUL young people.Power to the People. The insurance companies have made plenty.Have them give something back!Yes We Really Can.

Posted by: misewicz | October 24, 2009 9:40 PM

Music to my ears. After the Democrats deny America a single payer health care plan they will be singing the blues with the rest of us.

Posted by: steveconn1 | October 24, 2009 8:54 PM

I am always amazed by the "religious" zeal of those in favor of the so called "public option." Social security, medicare, medicaid, Fanny Mae, and Freddie Mac are all examples why any government run "public option" will ruin us financially and only provide terrible medical care.

The other extreme of everything being run by "for-profit" insurnace companies whose top executives have no checks&balances on their salaries and bonuses because the governing boards are all part of the same group also does not instill confidence in the future.

So, my question to those who are so over-zealous for the "public [government] option" is this: why not make it the law of the land that ALL health insurance companies, medical providers etc. can only be non-profit companies??? That way you have your "fairness" issues addressed and it would still be market driven to satisfy most of those so-called "evil" Republicans and corporate elitists.

Posted by: ARickoverNuke | October 24, 2009 8:52 PM

Being as I have Medicare, insurance reform will not directly affect me, but it will certainly affect many of my loved ones and many people I don't even know. Americans need real reform and without a PO open to all without a trigger or limitations on who can enroll, any final Bill would truly just be a mandated giveaway of billions to the insurance industrial complex.

I especially loved their song 'working for the billionaires' on health insurance reform where the stoooopid teabaggers didn't have a clue as to what was going on. I applaud these people and hope they never stop singing about all the issues. They have spine and I love them for it!

Posted by: MadasHelinVA | October 24, 2009 8:37 PM

Excellent talent, guts, message and grace in keeping up the delivery while being ushered out.

These protesters were only the musical voice of 64 to 80% of America. No need to be concerned, Congress. Your lobbying checks from the insurance industry will sustain you long after we vote you out for ignoring the needs of ordinary Americans. Have a nice lame duck ride now - unless you decide to change your minds and actually represent us.

Posted by: B2O2 | October 24, 2009 8:22 PM

One common theme amongst European health care systems, whether it be private insurance providing 100% coverage in Germany, or government run clinics in the United Kingdom is . .. . not for profit.

These insurance execs need to join us or be punished into oblivion.

Their bloated systems repeat bureacratic excess over and over and over to deny care and seek profit out of another human beings misfortune.

Posted by: delantero | October 24, 2009 8:12 PM

Funny because it's true. The AHIP really is about wealth care.

Posted by: protagoras | October 24, 2009 8:10 PM

AWESOME! I wish I had a third the musical talent and a quarter the cajones needed to pull that off.

Bet you won't see this youtube video on Glenn Beck!

Posted by: delantero | October 24, 2009 8:09 PM

i thought this was a brilliant piece of theatre -- kudos to billionaires to healthcare.

it's quite a contrast to the gun-toting, teabag screamers the country was subjected to over the summer.

wit and talent vs red-faced hysteria.

Posted by: mycomment | October 24, 2009 7:59 PM

Besides the fact that they sang well, it seemed like an effective tactic for getting the point across. The public heard all of the lies and scare tactics and continue to support public option. Rev. Bookburn - Radio Volta

Posted by: revbookburn | October 24, 2009 7:39 PM

Health care reform a cruel joke for victims of secretive silent atrocities


• A genocide-politicide hiding in plain sight, enabled by security/military/intel agencies of the federal government -- America's horrific shame.


Where is the DOJ Civil Rights Division investigation into the covert deployment of silent, harmful, injury- and illness-inducing, health-degrading, neurologically damaging microwave and laser directed energy weapons systems on unjustly targeted Americans and their families by a Bush-legacy, secretive "multi-agency coordinated action program" that continues to commit civil and human rights violations under Team Obama...

...including government-enabled, warrantless GPS-activated, covert "community stalking" harassment, surreptitious home entries, and domestic terrorism -- a secretive, federally-enabled grassroots Gestapo? OR RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | October 24, 2009 6:54 PM

Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness "Bottom-line: Get off your arse, get a job and learn to negotiate for better benefits, not rely on government assistance or WELFARE."

My mom was lazy because she worked six days a week as a cleaning lady for TWENTY SIX YEARS with no health insurance? She was a "displaced homemaker" (remember that term from the 80s) because she did the good homemaker routine but had to leave the financial security of her marriage to my dad because he became a violent creep that terrorized that whole family.

I'm lazy because I've had trouble finding work despite being the first in my family to go to college and to build a really amazing career? Are you at all familiar with the unemployment rate?

Do you have ANY IDEA how few jobs provide benefits like health insurance any more? And that these are also the jobs that pay like crap?

Or that many of the products and services you depend on each day are delivered by people who don't have health insurance or the wages to pay for it out of pocket?

Or that it's obnoxious beyond belief to call people losers because they can't afford to see a doctor?

And guess what? The people who don't have jobs have Medicaid. The "lazy" people you're talking about are WORKERS who make too much for Medicaid but not enough to afford insurance.

The only entitled loser here is you, buddy.

Posted by: TracyDC | October 24, 2009 6:50 PM

ekim wrote: "... jungle rhythms at 130DB to an inescapable audience in traffic, under the protection of artistic freedoms...."

"Jungle rhythms"? That slur is so old. Same slur they made against Elvis Presley and just about 90 percent of American popular music. Without jungle rhythms there would be no bluegrass, country music, or rock and roll. If not for the "jungle rhythms" American popular music would be Danny Boy and Lawrence Welk.
Although I agree it is obnoxious to hear people playing their music too loud in public, there is no need to refer to "jungle rhythms" unless you are trying to disparage African American culture. No need unless you are a bigot that is.
The only thing "fowl" is your spelling which evidently has flown the coop.

Posted by: exbrown | October 24, 2009 5:17 PM

Yes, Wilson should have just song "YOU LIE" and he would have been even more of a hero.
Rap 'artists' get away with their fowl language and their aficionados broadcast the 4 letter words with to jungle rhythms at 130DB to an inescapable audience in traffic, under the protection of artistic freedoms....

Posted by: ekim53 | October 24, 2009 4:39 PM

The only thing that the US Government has run and run well, was the Panama Canal.

The US Government should not even consider this "Public Option" since it is not the government's responsibility to be in the insurance business.

Some states have tried the "Public Option" or "Single Payer" and are on the verge of bankruptcy.

Bottom-line: Get off your arse, get a job and learn to negotiate for better benefits, not rely on government assistance or WELFARE.

No FREE RIDES to enabled losers.

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | October 24, 2009 4:37 PM

Maybe this kind of tactic will finally be what succeeds in waking us up to the central fact of American national politics: our elected leaders are bought and paid for by corporate interests, and care nothing about the public interest.

Or, more than likely, we'll just be good little consumers and drift back to our TV-induced hypnotic stupor.

Posted by: DupontJay | October 24, 2009 4:27 PM

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