Viral zombie video replaces Harry and Louise in health care debate

The Kansas City StarJuly 7, 2009 

In 1994, before YouTube and "The Daily Show," the kitchen-table conversations of a TV couple named Harry and Louise helped derail federal plans for universal health care.

They were the suburban 40-somethings next door, wrought with worry, put off by paperwork, soft-spoken, serious …


Americans now prefer zombies — or so implies one video groping for attention across a multimedia landscape.

Today's debate over health care reform is just beginning to ripen with TV ads and online clips, including:

• From stage right, a bow-tied and bespectacled geek from the "Federal Health Police," who magically appears between a patient and her doctor.

• From stage left, a woman with a foot on fire, who can't get help until the flames spread to her thighs.

• Back to the right, the proverbial $400 federal hammer and $600 toilet seat.

• And toggling left, courtesy of Americans United for Change, the walking dead.

The zombie video runs two minutes on the Internet, a medium not yet mainstream when President Bill Clinton's calls to overhaul the health system were silenced by Harry and Louise (courtesy of the insurance lobby).

Almost anyone with a keyboard can get text to drip like blood over footage from the film "Night of the Living Dead."

"Like a zombie army, Republicans want to kill health care reform with long-dead FEAR PHRASES like … 'takeover' (and) 'rationing,' " intones a voice accompanied by screams.

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