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Reply #18: I posted the audio from his vinyl record on YouTube last October... [View All]

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Turborama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-13-10 11:38 AM
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18. I posted the audio from his vinyl record on YouTube last October...
Here: Operation Coffee Cup: Ronald Reagan's Early War Against "Socialized Medicine" - AKA Medicare

Here's the text that went with it:

The idea behind Operation Coffeecup, as the name hints, was to arrange a series of coffee-klatches hosted by the members of the Womans Auxiliary. The Auxiliary members receiving the Operation Coffeecup materials were instructed to downplay the purpose of the get-to-gathers, depicting them as sort of spontaneous neighborhood events: Drop a notejust say Come for coffee at 10 a.m. on Wednesday. I want to play the Ronald Reagan record for you.20

The idea of using women in this wayas the grass-roots defenders of medical caretapped into a long tradition of what historians now typically call maternalist approaches to social reform. From the earliest days of the Revolutionary Period when the mothers of the Republic were thought to be special repositories of civic virtue, to the settlement movement and the campaign for Mothers Pensions during the Progressive Era, Americans have often viewed women as providing a kind of motherly succor that gives them a special claim to authority on matters relating to social welfare. Thus it was a clever tactic to have the members of the Womans Auxiliary and their friends and neighbors write the first-person grassroots letters to members of Congress, rather than having the largely male physician-members of the AMA do so.

The attendees at these coffees were trained and encouraged in writing apparently spontaneous letters to members of Congress expressing their strong opposition to the pending King-Anderson bill. It was essential, the attendees were instructed, that their letters appear to be the uncoordinated, spontaneous, expressions of a rising tide of public sentiment. If the letters were perceived as being part of an organized campaignthe organizers of the organized campaign told the attendeesthey would be dismissed by members of Congress, who were routinely inundated with such mail.21

The kit of materials sent to each Auxiliary chapter contained:

A cover letter, informing the attendees that the chips are down, in the next months Americans will decide whether or not this nation wants socialized medicine;

A list of members of Congress;

A ten-point check-list on how to write effective letters to Congress;

A set of instructions to hosts in what Operation Coffeecup was and how it was to be carried out,
including Provide guests with stationery, pens and stamped envelopes. Dont accept an Ill do it tomorrow replyurge each woman to write her letters while shes in your houseand in the mood!;

A report form listing the number of attendees, the number of times the accompanying record was played, and the number of letters written.

All of this material was packaged as inserts to an LP vinyl recording entitled Ronald Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine. The 19-minute recording featured a 2,000-word, 11-minute, impassioned address by Reagan, followed by an 8-minute follow-up by an unnamed announcer. Reagans work on behalf of the AMA was, listeners were assured, unpaid (although there was no mention of the fact that Reagans father-in-law was a top official of the AMA) and was motivated only by his own strong political convictions on the issue.

The record was the focus and the central product of Operation Coffeecup. It was the motivational message from Reagan that was expected to inspire the attendees to write those spontaneous letters to Congress. The AMA pressed 3,000 copies of Ronald Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine and distributed them to AMA Womans Auxiliary members nationwide. The resulting letters to Congress, the AMA boasted, were legion.22 At the June 1962 convention each state President presented the highlight accomplishments of her state during the preceding year. The convention was told that Operation Coffeecup spurred many members-at-large to personal action, and one state president reported that one of her auxiliary members was personally responsible for getting 250 people to write letters to Congress opposing the King-Anderson bill.

Full original article:
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