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Bridge says that lying AFP ad is full of lies

by: Eric B.

Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 11:43:19 AM EST

Now they've done it. The liars at Americans for Prosperity have enraged the centrists at Bridge with their lying ad full of lies about Obamacare and Gary Peters. Won't someone think of the children?

Who: Americans For Prosperity
What: Julie’s Story: It’s Time to Listen
The call: Flagrant Foul


The ad fails to mention, as Boonstra has acknowledged, that her monthly premium costs dropped, from $1,100 a month to $571 a month, after she enrolled in a new Blue Cross Blue Shield plan under Obamacare. Boonstra told the Detroit News the new plan increased certain out-of-pocket costs, such as doctor’s visits, from $20 to $50. But it is unclear how the plan is “unaffordable” compared with her old plan. Under the terms of Obamacare, the out-of-pocket maximum for an individual in 2014 is $6,350. When the difference in premium cost is factored in, her new plan would cost just $2 more in a year even if she incurred no out-of-pocket expenses under her old plan.

Americans for Prosperity did not returns calls from Bridge Magazine seeking comment. Earlier, AFP President Tim Phillips told the Detroit News he stands by the ad’s claim that Boonstra’s new plan is unaffordable. “If you look at the script and she says they’re so high they are unaffordable and we know the out-of-pocket costs are not what they were — by definition they were almost nonexistent in the old policy. We feel very comfortable with that,” Phillips told the News. AFP and Boonstra have also said that, regardless of overall costs, the month-to-month unpredictability of her out-of-pocket costs creates uncertainty.

Americans for Prosperity president Tim Phillips didn't return Bridge Magazine's phone calls because he knows that their ad lied to the people of Michigan and wants no part of the process of it getting picked apart. This is a very reasonable conclusion to draw, but no one else will articulate it which is very troubling.

While emotionally wrenching, Boonstra’s assertion that the new health care coverage she received under Obamacare jeopardized her health is not sufficiently backed up. The ad offers no evidence Boonstra will not receive medication she needs under her new health plan. Boonstra told the Detroit News that she was able to keep the same University of Michigan cancer specialist under her new health plan and that she was continuing her chemotherapy treatment.

This is a lot of words to come to the very simple, reasonable conclusion that the ad is telling lies.

Eric B. :: Bridge says that lying AFP ad is full of lies
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New Julie Boonstra ad will start airing today
Ms. Boonstra, who should have won "Best Actress in a Deceptive Political Attack Ad" the other night, will deal out an entire deck of victim cards when she appears in the new AFP ad.

In the new ad, she'll allege that Gary Peters tried to "silence her." This is an amazing, considering that she's been on TV thanks to $2 million--and counting--of Koch brothers' money.  

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.

I find it bizarre
that her relation to the high-ranking Republican judge is not referenced in the media.  Seems like a legitimate identifier to share.

Great Lakes, Great Times.

[ Parent ]
I know, right?
It's beyong bizarre that this doesn't even get a passing mention.  It's not as if it's competely irrelevant.  Julie Boonstra isn't just some random woman from from the wilds of Michigan.  This is a woman that has some not unimportant political connections.

I also can't believe AFP thinks this is a good idea.  They are doubling down on an attack that's clearly not working, and not only that, but an attack they are being called out almost by the day.

This is what happens post-Citizens United.  I'm sure Land wants AFP to STFU, already, with this line of attack.  Too bad, 'cause conservatives created this monster of third-party superPAC money.

[ Parent ]
If her story were true, it wouldn't make any difference
If she really lost her insurance and her doctor, and was left with an option that was horribly unaffordable, it would still rate as a very serious tragedy even if she was Rick Snyder's personal secretary.

What's relevant here is that her story is not true and that she is probably actually better off under her new insurance (who actually has health insurance these days with no out-of-pocket expenses?) and that someone may actually be paying her to appear in these ads and tell what we now know to be lies. And, all of that would be true even if she were just some random person they scooped up off a street corner.

Among the Trees

[ Parent ]
A persons political connections are always relevant in a political commercial detailing a personal story, regardless of the substance of the ad.  The public has the right to now who Julie Boonstra is.  Julie Boonstra is a low-level political operative, and will eventually be revealed as such.  That she's going to do a follow-up commercial is disgraceful.  She's now firmly and officially put herself out there.  

Maybe, one could have argued the first time was a mistake. The second, well, Julie Boonstra and AFP know what time it is.

[ Parent ]
I'm just saying
if I was Jennifer Granholm's nephew and I starred in a commercial as average-Joe laid off worker, stating that Rick Snyder's failed economic policies made me less likely to find work (even though I actually DID find work, rendering it misleading)... Don't you think the media should or would reference that interesting connection?

I think it helps the public assess the authenticity of the message, messenger and sponsoring entity.

Great Lakes, Great Times.

[ Parent ]
That's not what she was cast as, however
She was cast as someone who has cancer and lost her insurance, with the implied outcome that she has suffered as a result. If her story was accurate, it wouldn't make the slightest bit of difference who she knows.

I tell you people this all the time, but you never listen ... outside the very small group of people who are very interested in politics, the public at large is not interested in seeing tragic figures attacked personally. This includes cancer victims.

The public at large has a point in being more concerned with perceived policy outcomes than political assassinations. The public at large wasn't interested when Michelle Malkin dispatched her readers to go rifling through the garbage of the SCHIP family, and the public at large is not interested in seeing Julie Boonstra attacked because she used to be married to a prominent Republican.

Among the Trees

[ Parent ]
Fine, whatever you want.
She was cast as a Michigan resident whose situation we as fellow residents could also find ourselves in... A validator from among our peer set.

I don't want her attacked for it.

I haven't even once said that she shouldn't have done the ad, or shame on her, or she was being manipulated, or retract the ad.

But I do think Americans For Prosperity should have to work harder than this if they get to purchase my state's U.S. Senate seat.

I said I thought it was bizarre that the media isn't referencing the connection.  The connection is not the determinative factor, here, but in my opinion it is relevant -- and could be a thread that revealed further unknown aspects of this matter, including the possibility of Tim Walberg's involvement or cooperation with a Super PAC, the Republican establishment's cooperation with a Super PAC, Land's continued cooperation with a Super PAC (in violation of federal laws) and who know what other unknown unknowns.  

I'd like my state's media to dig deeper on developing stories that may have substantial ramifications for who I as a citizen am represented by in our government.  Obviously you do as well.

Great Lakes, Great Times.

[ Parent ]
Here's where I think her personal life is part of the story
The story she apparently tells on set while doing these commercials is that she had to sell her house and drain her 401(k) to pay for health care. If she did that under her old health plan, that is very relevant because it speaks to the general awfulness of the plan she lost compared to the new plan she has, with lower premiums and capped out-of-pocket costs.

What isn't relevant, what is a red herring, is who she was married to or who she knows.

Rather than simply passing along the content of a political ad without checking to see if it's true, the state's media needs to ask whether she is, in fact, worse off under Obamacare than before. Her personal connections to GOP circles, while not part of that story, simply further beg the question ... is she really telling the truth, or has she fabricated part or all of her story to slur a candidate for office. The rest of us knew that her story is horseshit before knowing about her personal connections, however.

What's also relevant is whether she's been compensated to appear in the ads. If so, she really ceases to be a tragic figure speaking out about an injustice done her, and becomes a paid participant in political theater. I don't care how much or how little she's gotten.

The state's political media has badly bungled this story and continues to badly bungle it. There is no questioning this. This is one of the biggest races this year, and no one has thought to do any actual reporting on it. We get horserace coverage, but no one is asking any actual questions. The fact that AFP's president refuses to return phone calls about his own ad is very telling. There is no reason that the media can't simply tell people that they are being lied to.

Among the Trees

[ Parent ]
It is a credibility thing
Being a bleeding heart liberal, I want her to get medical care and I want her to beat her cancer.  I am more bothered that a woman fighting a serious illness has been made a pawn by the whack jobs at AFP.  

When she put herself out there like this, who she is connected to is part of her story and goes straight to her motivation and credibility because her story as it relates to the ACA is fiction.  If her story was true, then okay, what matters who she is connected to because she is being honest.  When she chooses to spout crap out there, it begs the question, why is this woman doing this, is she being paid, who is she connected to?

I agree the only people digging this deep are the true hacks.  

[ Parent ]
She lost her credibility when her story turned out to be false
I think we all agree that we hope that she receives excellent care and that she is healthy and happy for a very long time. I assume most everyone thinks that about everyone else.

The whack jobs at the AFP are the story here. I wholeheartedly agree that they took advantage of her illness and happily let her say things to the public that turned out to be false. They paid for the ad time and set the whole thing up, knowing that it wasn't at all true.

As for Julie Boonstra, I agree that speaking up and then getting mad when people give the things you say a serious look is a bit rich. I'm about out of patience dealing with people who think that the First Amendment gives them the right to speak without fear of counterargument. When you tell untruths to the public, there should be consequences and it's not unreasonable in this case for Gary Peters' lawyers to ask television stations to not air her ads on the grounds that they are untrue.

But, we don't really need to know about her personal connections to question her credibility. We already know her narrative has lost its credibility by being false. To me, this is a case of reverse engineering. We already know about the final product. Knowing her personal connections doesn't take away from that, and wouldn't even if her story were spot-on accurate.

Among the Trees

[ Parent ]
There are many bizarre angles to this story
When Ms. Boonstra received her cancellation notice, did she try to buy a replacement plan on the federal exchange?

Who did she complain to about losing her existing coverage?

Who put her in touch with Tim Walberg, and who paid for her trip to D.C. to attend the State of the Union with Walberg?

Who put her in touch with Americans for Prosperity, and is she getting any compensation for appearing in these ads?

Why has Obamacare gotten 100 percent of the blame for plan cancellations, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield gotten zero percent of the blame?

And finally, why hasn't the Peters campaign pointed out that because of Obamacare, Ms. Boonstra (a) can't lose her coverage on account of her pre-existing condition and (b) can't blow through a lifetime benefits cap?

All of this defies my imagination.

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.

[ Parent ]
Tricky ground to navigate
on this point: "And finally, why hasn't the Peters campaign pointed out that because of Obamacare, Ms. Boonstra (a) can't lose her coverage on account of her pre-existing condition and (b) can't blow through a lifetime benefits cap?"

A and B are strong, central tenets of the Affordable Care Act -- but the more Boonstra is made the issue from campaign retorts, the more Americans For Prosperity, the generator, funder and disseminator of the falsehoods gets off the hook and gets to use a woman's illness as a human shield. That isn't to say the media shouldn't raise these questions, but that approach would be a tough needle to thread for the Peters campaign.

He isn't attacking her, from what I have seen, but the right wing sound-and-fury machine has been whipping themselves in to an artificial lather about him silencing a sick woman anyway.

Great Lakes, Great Times.

[ Parent ]
Case in point:
Kelly ‏@KLSouth·Feb 23
@RepGaryPeters #standwithjulie Why do you hate women Mr. Peters? http://bit.ly/1ebUVrY  @HarbinHanson @Dolphieness @AFPMichigan #MI14

BigGator5‏@BigGator5·Feb 22
#ACA Watch: @RepGaryPeters Attacks Mother W/ Cancer http://moelane.com/2014/02/22/... ... @moelane @AFPhq #tcot #p2 #michigan #mi14 #obamacare #waronwomen

Shane Wikfors‏@ShaneWikfors·Feb 22
New Dem strategy: attack victims of #Obamacare to protect sitting congressmen. #MI14 #IamJulie

Shane Wikfors‏@ShaneWikfors·Feb 22
Are you for real @RepGaryPeters?! Shame on you for attacking cancer patient Julie Boonstra! #WarOnWomen in #MI14

AFP Arizona‏@ArizonaAFP·Feb 22
Shame on @RepGaryPeters for waging war on cancer patient Julie Boonstra in #MI14! #waronwomen pic.twitter.com/RuRzYXEniZ

The Repeal Pledge‏@RepealPledge·Feb 22
@RepGaryPeters Lawyers Up to Silence Cancer Patient Julie Boonstra http://americansforprosperity.... ... @MyCancellation #MI14 #MIpol #MIsen

Great Lakes, Great Times.

[ Parent ]
Republican trolls
on Twitter? Whoda thunk it?

[ Parent ]
In case anyone missed it, Eclectablog reports
that Mark and Julie Boonstra still own property together in Washtenaw County: http://www.eclectablog.com/201...

Great Lakes, Great Times.

[ Parent ]
I purposefully avoided this angle
It's irrelevant to the story, and only applicable if you want to malign her as someone from the "other side." If her story was true, it wouldn't make any difference who she had personal connections to, because she is as worthy of our sympathies as someone with more properly aligned political affiliations.

That's the kind of writing that makes people think that politics is all based on partisan expediency. I will have nothing to do with it.

Among the Trees

[ Parent ]
In my opinion, it is relevant.  It helps me as a viewer gauge the authenticity of the message, the messenger and the sponsoring entity.  

If Johnson & Johnson is passing off a company executive or their spouse as a real-live, unaffiliated consumer of their products in a commercial -- and it came to light -- I as a consumer would be interested to know that their validator doesn't speak with the same potency. Same with paid actors.  They are being paid to validate.  

I doubt AFP paid her much, if at all, because she is a true believer in the Republican cause.  I anticipate she did it because she wants to hurt Peters and help Land.  Just as it would be informative to know whether a commercial validator is on the payroll, it would similarly be informative if that person was an active participant in the opposing party.  She likely didn't participate in an AFRP press conference outside of Gary Peters house because she is concerned about her health costs; she wants Gary Peters to lose a Senate election.

She already has my sympathy, regardless of her relations or political involvement.  

If the point is to use sympathy to politically punish Gary Peters, which I believe it was, well, then it doesn't matter whether she was paid or not, whether it was honest or not, or whether she is a Republican precinct delegate or not... What the sponsoring entity is after is for the viewer to feel badly that she is ill and suffering -- and make Peters lose support or votes because of it.

I'm not forcing you to have anything to do with it.  I'm raising a point that I find relevant in a discussion.

Great Lakes, Great Times.

[ Parent ]
It is relevant.
It helps people evaluate the motivation for her statements. It exposes AFP's deceptive tactic of passing off a political operative and partisan as a non-politically motivated innocent victim of a tyrannical law. In short, when it comes to critically evaluating the mud that gets slung during the election season, full knowledge of the players and their possible motives is just as important to the general public as the facts that us liberals love to recite, and which fail to sway opinions half the time.

[ Parent ]
What if she was telling the truth?
Would her political connections make her any less deserving of sympathy if her story were true?

The only thing that knowing about her connections does is make it more imperative that the media scrutinize the ad and the conduct surrounding it. But most of us already knew that there was something highly fishy about it, so there's no reason to start flinging poo at Julie Boonstra.

Among the Trees

[ Parent ]
Of course not.
Why do you insist that focusing on her political connections has anything to do with sympathy for her disease? This is not about her condition, nor is it an unjustified, irrelevant personal attack meant to deflect from the substance of her words. It is about the veracity of her statements, and the political motives behind them, and yes, her status as a political operative is very relevant to not only the fact checkers, but to the general public.

[ Parent ]
Because the two are related
If her narrative turned out to be true, then it wouldn't make any difference what political connections she has. We'd say, "This is something that needs to be fixed because it's not right that cancer victims should lose their insurance and be saddled with prohibitive expenses."

Learning about her personal and political connections, if this were all new, would simply demand that we closely scrutinize her narrative. But, we already did all that without knowing about her political connections. As a result, aside from adding a "That figures" side of this, knowing about her personal life adds nothing.

Among the Trees

[ Parent ]
I see your point
But I think it is natural for most of the people that follow this page to think of this as what it really is, which is a hit on Peters by Land.  And in the age of Citizen United the way that is done is to play connect the dots with the players, which Boonstra has made herself, either accidentally or intentionally.  

Peters is a seasoned campaigner and they can spin out that crazy silence me response if they like, he will answer that as well and then they can spend more money.  He knows how to handle bloody knuckle campaigning.

The media selling people are the winners here.

[ Parent ]
But her narrative is NOT true.
That is the entire point. If it was true, she could be a former member of the Weather Underground and it wouldn't matter. But it isn't true, it's a fabricated and transparent lie. The fact that she is lying makes her personal and political connections very germane. It goes to motive, and credibility, and it tells the public a lot about Land and her supporters, and what to expect from them as the campaign progresses.

Why give her, and AFP, and Land, all a pass on this? They got caught, and they deserve to pay. Democrats never seem to want to throw back the mud that gets slung in their direction. If the shoe was on the other foot...

[ Parent ]
AFP is going to be made to regret this.  Dearly.  And, they are going to have a lot of apologizing to do to the Boonstra's when this is all said and done.

As these "Christians" are always happy to say to everyone else: You reap what you so.  Well, Americans for Prosperity are going to have the most rotten of harvests come fall, let me tell you.

[ Parent ]
Getting personal is exactly the thing to avoid.
Doesn't matter if she was married to John Engler--like all such low-level foot soldiers, she's to be used, exploited and discarded when her usefulness is over. A few years from now we'll get a WHT article; I hope to read that she's healthy, well cared for by ACA and a bit rueful that she allowed herself to be used.

I think the present strategy of going after the Kochs and Land is correct. Hammer at the puppetmasters, and leave Boonstra to become yesterday's story.

Actually she lives in Walberg's district--Dexter, she said. So I can't help but wonder what would happen if you were to call your Rep's local office and ask for help with ACA. I wonder if the Dems would give you a contact for a navigator or help you themselves; I REALLY wonder what a call to Walberg's office would get you in the way of help.

(And a lot of ex-wives would be interested in how much help Boonstra's ex-husband gave her.)

I, too, wonder what Walberg did to constituents with ACA problems
Some Tea Party members of Congress reportedly instructed their staff to tell constituents to take their complaints to the White House because Obama signed the ACA.

That Walberg took an interest in Ms. Boonstra's ACA experience--and even invited her to be his guest at the State of the Union address--gives off an especially sharp odor.

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.

[ Parent ]
Counter Point
The best response to these ads are counter ads from people who have benefited from ACA. Each ad from AFP moves further from the facts and leans more heavily on the emotional angle. Eventually, your going to run out of facts to try and counter or call lies. Peters isn't going to win the battle on those grounds. Instead, line up some of the many people helped by the changes that ACA has brought and have them tell their positive stories about how the ACA has helped them. Those will go a million miles further than fighting over the details of Boonstra's situation or who she was married to in the past.  

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