President Barack Obama promised to rid Washington of the cozy, back-scratching relationships between politicians and well-heeled corporate lobbyists.
Instead, he and the Democratic leadership in Congress hopped right into bed with them and set in motion a conspiracy with health care industry groups that generated a watered-down reform bill and a high-dollar propaganda campaign aimed at selling the plan to the American public.
It’s just another example of how big money and special interests control Congress and the White House.
It’s also why real health care won’t happen.
At a meeting last April with corporate lobbyists, aides to President Barack Obama and Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) helped set in motion a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign, primarily financed by industry groups, that has played a key role in bolstering public support for health care reform.
The role Baucus’s chief of staff, Jon Selib, and deputy White House chief of staff Jim Messina played in launching the groups was part of a successful effort by Democrats to enlist traditional enemies of health care reform to their side. No quid pro quo was involved, they insist, as do the lobbyists themselves.
The result has been a somewhat unlikely alliance between an administration that came into power criticizing George W. Bush for his closeness to Big Business and groups such as the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and the American Medical Association.
The previously undisclosed meeting April 15 at the offices of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee led to the creation of two groups — Americans for Stable Quality Care and a now-defunct predecessor group called Healthy Economy Now — that have spent tens of millions of dollars on TV advertising supporting health reform efforts.