Taking a cue from Abe Simpson

TAKING A CUE FROM ABE SIMPSON…. Way back in the sixth season of “The Simpsons,” Springfield Mayor Joe Quimby was telling a group of seniors about a new highway, explaining that it would “bring increased commerce to our local merchants.” Grandpa Simpson was unimpressed, asking, “What’s in it for us?” Jasper added, “Yeah, give us something we like or we’ll ride you out of town on a rail!”

The mayor, flustered, replied, “Well, uh, what do you people like?” Grandpa Simpson eventually says, “Maaatloock!” Quimby acts quickly, and declares, “Well, I suppose I could name it … the Matlock Expressway.” And with that, the seniors are happy.

This occurred to me when I saw the latest ad from the Obama administration related to health care policy. There’s ample polling that suggests there are generational differences in how Americans perceive the Affordable Care Act — and seniors’ attitudes are easily the most negative. Given that the right went to great lengths to try to terrify the elderly with ridiculous lies, the polls aren’t especially surprising.

So, the administration created a new spot starring … Andy Griffith. The actor who played Matlock talks up the new law, telling a targeted audience, “With the new health care law, more good things are coming — free checkups, lower prescription costs and better ways to protect us and Medicare from fraud…. I think you’re going to like it.”

The 30-second ad went live yesterday, and will air on four national cable networks: CNN, Weather Channel, Lifetime, and Hallmark.

If this doesn’t help address seniors’ concerns, I might recommend labeling the new law Matlock’s Affordable Care Act.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.