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July 29, 2009

Health Care: New Lower Prices!

Obamaa Kroger.jpg

I’m looking at the wire photos just coming in from Obama’s health care townhall at a supermarket in Bristol, Virginia.

I’m interested in your thoughts on this image, and whether the Prez set himself up here given how the Administration has been maddeningly vague, to the point of insincerity, perhaps, in avoiding conversations, based on the various emergent scenarios, about the true cost (scenarios) of health care “reform” (especially in the midst of this rotting recession).

I’m also thinking about the whole marketing and branding of the “campaign,” and whether an image like this would even exist but for the weakness of the Administration to better manage public perceptions about the process. I’m not talking about how one could liken the process to a lemon, or anything that fruitfully cheap, so much as how well and thought out a setting like this matches Administration strategy, and why there isn’t a consistent (let alone, logical) set of symbols or visuals or phrases or words to shape this critical, and otherwise anxiety-producing process in the public mind.

One thing about the photo that did leave a sour taste in my mouth, though. I first read that sign as “New Lower Prices on Producers” rather than “On Produce.” Isn’t that the crux of the public’s anxiety about the Obama approach, however, that the producers are having too large a role in setting the table?

(image: Larry Downing/Reuters. caption: U.S. President Barack Obama holds a town hall meeting about health care at the Kroger Supermarket in Bristol, Virginia, July 29, 2009)

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