Lowden triples down

LOWDEN TRIPLES DOWN…. I really didn’t intend to do three posts about this today, but Republican Senate candidate Sue Lowden keeps pressing her cluck, I mean, luck.

To briefly review, Lowden, the favorite to beat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) in Nevada this year, recently encouraged voters to “barter with your doctor.” On Monday, Lowden reiterated and expanded upon this, praising a health care delivery system in line with “the olden days” when those seeking medical care “would bring a chicken to the doctor.” Despite the mockery this had already received, she added, “I’m not backing down from that system.”

This afternoon, the Republican candidate’s spokesperson told Greg Sargent that the campaign is sticking by Lowden’s argument.

“Americans are struggling to pay for their health care, and in order to afford coverage we must explore all options available to drive costs down. Bartering with your doctor is not a new concept. There have been numerous reports as to how negotiating with your doctor is an option and doctors have gone on the record verifying this.”

The campaign’s statement went on to blame Harry Reid because, well, just because.

There are a couple of angles to consider here. First, when Lowden’s spokesperson says bartering “is not a new concept,” that’s true. But as Atrios explained, “All joking aside, there’s a reason we no longer have a barter economy. It’s tremendously inefficient.”

Second, the Lowden campaign went on to distribute some kind of background document, hoping to prove that bargaining with medical professionals is possible. But as we’ve talked about, haggling with doctors is hardly the basis for effective care and cost controls, and for that matter, bargaining and bartering aren’t the same thing.

In a purely political context, campaigns are rarely lost in April, but Lowden’s position has quickly made her something of a joke — and once a candidate is a laughingstock, it’s very difficult to recover. One Nevadan has characterized this as a “macaca moment” for the Republican hopeful, and that under the circumstances, that seems more than fair.

Sue Lowden could have walked this embarrassing incident back many times, but she’s now tripled down on a position that simply doesn’t make any sense.

Lowden has had a year to come up with a coherent approach to health care policy, and she’s failed rather spectacularly. We saw our first hint about this last month, when Lowden praised Medicare and condemned “government run health care” at the same time, and we’re getting an even better sense of her confusion now.

Sometimes, candidates just aren’t ready for prime time.