I’ve taken on so many right wing articles over the years, I
think it’s time I took on a left wing blog for a charge.
I have received a certain article from
four different “progressives” thus far, and every time I read it, the first word that comes to mind is "bullshit." It's from a blog entitled "Single Payer
Action," and the breathless crap
coming from it just really pisses me off. The article is basically about
why you should NOT vote for Martha Coakley if you live in Massachusetts, or why
you shouldn’t care whether or not Coakley should win election tomorrow if you
don’t live there.
Before I get started ripping this piece of crap apart, let
me reiterate two things;
One, if you live in Massachusetts, and you do NOT vote for
Martha Coakley, you’re a damned fool. It’s unlikely that not having her vote on
health care would completely derail reform, but it will make it far easier for
Republicans to filibuster everything. It’s not just about health care; Republicans
are trying to block everything, and having 41 votes will make that job easier
Second, I am all for a single payer health plan and we do have to work in that direction. In a
perfect world, I would love to see us scrap the entire health insurance system
and start over. But it’s not going to happen all at once, and anyone who thinks
it can has a screw loose. Keep in mind three things; 85% of Americans have
health insurance; about 90% of those people get it through their employer, who
pays the bulk of the cost; and most people won’t get sick in a given year. To
expect a groundswell of support for scrapping the whole system and starting
over puts you in Never-Never land, people. It’s just not happening.We will have to work in that direction, step-by-step.
Now, about this article…
First off, the centerpiece of this garbage is a Powerpoint
presentation from an idiot from the Cato Institute who's selling a book. The premise of the book and presentation is that
Barack Obama is bankrupting us, in order to “enrich() his Wall Street friends,
corporate lobbyists and union bosses."
Let’s leave out the fact that Obama isn't bankrupting anyone, and that the very concept should be enough to laugh out loud at this guy. Leave out the fact that he has no Wall Street
friends, and he's showing that more every single day. Who do you think is behind the teabaggers? Let’s also leave out the reality that the term “corporate lobbyist” is
a great catchphrase with no real meaning. And where, exactly do “union bosses” fit
into that mix? In other words, the very title of the seminar is a complete
joke. It requires a leap of faith analogous to trying to leap a bicycle over
the Grand Canyon.
You have to also remember what the Cato Institute is. The
Cato Institute is a (Big L) Libertarian “think tank.” What they are charged
with is knocking down all institutions that go against their warped view of “liberty,”
which basically consists of the philosophy, “I can do what I want, screw you.”
Essentially, a Libertarian is a right winger who likes his marijuana.
Throughout, it is suggested that Coakley is a corporate
whore, simply because she held a “corporate fundraiser.”
Check it this simple-minded crapola, will you?
On the big screen at Cato is an invitation to a corporate
fundraiser – that
night at the Sonoma Restaurant on Capitol Hill – for Coakley.
I say to myself – wait a second.
is in the middle of a tight race and she’s flying to DC one week before the
election to be with a group of corporate lobbyists?
then Carney went down the list of 22 members of the host committees – meaning
they each raised $10,000 or more for Coakley.
are federally registered lobbyists, 15 of whom have health-care clients,”
see the names – Gerald Cassidy, David Castagnetti,, Tommy Boggs – those are all
lobbyists I’ve highlighted there who have clients who are drug companies,
health insurers, hospitals or all three,” Carney said. “AHIP, Phrma, Pfizer,
Blue Cross – everybody is covered there. Aetna somehow isn’t. I don’t know how
they got left out.”
are the special interests,” Carney said. “These are the people trying to elect
Martha Coakley to be vote number 60 for health insurance.”
This woman hasn’t even been elected, let alone
voted on the Senate floor, and this clown already has her in the pocket of
corporate interests. Is that incredible or what?
In a down economy, how is she supposed to raise money in the
current system, especially in a statewide race in a severely condensed time
frame? She has to go to people with relatively deep pockets. That is not a
basis for dismissing her as a “corporatist.” If, when she’s elected and her voting record
reflects a favoritism toward certain donors, then you can call her a
corporatist and work to get rid of her and have some credibility.
But what really pisses me off is the simple-mindedness of
dismissing these lobbyists because their firms have clients in the health care
industry. It’s just not that simple, folks. First of all, did you notice how he lumps all “health-care
clients” in the same category in order to make his point? Well, health insurance
companies are evil, but hospitals and physicians and nurses
groups are also lumped in there, as well, and there have been few greater
champions of health insurance reform than doctors and nurses. How can you lump
all “health-care” clients in the same boat? Answer: you can’t, unless you have
an agenda and you’re being dishonest while pushing your political point of
But this also shows a complete lack of knowledge of how
lobbying firms work. Let’s look at the names this guy chose for a clue.
Gerald Cassidy is the head honcho at Cassidy and Associates,
one of the legendary lobbying firms on K Street. And yes, his FIRM represents
anyone who comes to them and cuts them a check, and that would include health
insurance companies. Of course, it also includes a significant number of green
companies. In addition to health insurance, Cassidy and Associates also
represents companies that advocate to get funding for children’s hospitals. In
fact, within the last few years Cassidy and Associates represented interests to
obtain federal funding to build Cardiac Catheterization Labs at a southern hospital system
and to secure additional appropriations for cancer research centers in Texas. That's in addition to working with health insurance companies to protect their
interests. So, I guess the question is, why do they only get credit for their
work in one area, while the rest of their work is ignored? How do we KNOW the
$10,000 Cassidy collected was on behalf of his health insurance clients? The
firm has hundreds of clients; I would even bet that NONE of the money he
collected came from any of the health insurance clients. In fact, given that almost all of their clients are NOT health insurance companies, it's quite likely.
the way, did you know that Cassidy started his career working for George
McGovern, and counts none other than Tom Harkin as one of his biggest
defenders/supporters? No, of course you didn’t, because that doesn’t fit with
the author’s main contention; that Coakley took some money from someone whose
company represents bad guys; therefore, she must be a corporate shill, too.
Except that the company also represents good guys, and few lobbying firms are
purely black or white.
The mention of David Castagnetti is just as clueless.
Catagnetti is a name partner in the lobbying firm of Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti,
Inc., a K Street lobbying firm. He also
ran John Kerry’s congressional operations during his 2004 presidential campaign
and he’s a lifelong Democratic activist who’s worked for people as varied as
Max Baucus and Ed Markey. His lobbying firm has represented clients on all
sides of the health insurance reform debate, including House Democrats, Blue
Dogs and Republicans, and they have been strong advocates for government
adoption of more open source software. How
do we know the $10,000 Castagnetti raised didn’t come from his open source
Now, what about Tommy Boggs?
Tommy Boggs is a legend. As name partner at Patton Boggs, was
probably the first super-lobbyist. In the last year alone, his firm billed more
than $45 million in lobbying fees. Yeah, some of that money probably came from “health-care
interests,” but his firm also counts physicians groups and the Trial Lawyers
Association among its biggest clients. Patton Boggs has been known for years as
a firm tied very closely with Democratic politics. Patton Boggs is also a law firm, and has significant interests in both sides of
the health care debate on that level, as well.
There you go.
Here’s a challenge to anyone who believes the above crock of
shit to PROVE that Coakley is a corporate stooge just because huge lobbying
firms just happen to have clients in the health care industry. You’ll certainly
have to do better than “they have some clients.” Each one of the men mentioned
above has strong ties to Democratic politics, and at least two of them enjoys
significant support from progressive politicians, or has received significant
support from them in the past. Yeah, they support some large health care
companies, but they also support hundreds of other clients, as well. How do we
know the money didn’t come from gun control supporters, anti-war concerns or
I’m sure if we were to examine MoveOn’s contributions
closely, we would find health insurance workers and others have given donations
to them. Should we dismiss everything they do based on that fact? Are you
I would also point
out the realities of the current system. To assume that $10,000 is enough money
to influence Coakley in one direction or another is absurd on its face. It does
demonstrate a need for campaign finance reform, but that’s all.
I get really pissed when the right wing pulls this kind of
shit; progressives should know better.
I’ll put it simply. If you think both parties are bought and
paid for by corporations, then I agree with you to some extent. But if you
think you’re going to change that through force of will, you’re deluding
yourself. And if you start to argue like a right winger, in which everything is
either black or white, then turn in your liberal credentials, because you’re no
better than a right winger.
If you live in Massachusetts and call yourself progressive,
and don’t vote for Martha Coakley, you’re a damned fool. I know; I said that already. But it’s really that
And by the way, if progressives are going to constantly bitch about candidates the Democrats choose to run, perhaps they should have more to say on the choice?