Monday, December 7, 2009

Republicans & Big Pharma

(By my count, there are still 24 Republicans in the Senate who voted for the drug benefit, including such alleged conservatives as Jim Bunning and Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, John Cornyn of Texas, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Orrin Hatch of Utah and Jon Kyl of Arizona.) - Bruce Bartlett

While hypocrisy is not confined to one political party or the other what the Republican senators who are now defending Medicare and fiscal responsibility are doing is beyond the norm even by Washington standards. The Republicans who were standing at the podium with Senator John McCain should have been ashamed. While Senator McCain can stand up and say that he opposed the Medicare Part B plan and voted against it many of his Republican counterparts supported the largest public giveaway in decades. Medicare Part B was George W. and Karl Rove’s attempt to buy the seniors for the 2004 election by providing unfunded prescription drug coverage to seniors.

Not only did they simply attach it to a federal budget that went from a surplus to record deficits they also provided the pharma industry with millions of new customers without requiring any cost reductions or anyway to pay for it. For these same senators to now claim to be fiscal conservatives is laughable. Senator McCain is once again displaying why his “Country First” campaign slogan was empty rhetoric by allowing members of his own party to stand behind him as if they had shared his concerns about the Medicare legislation. If Mr. McCain was the “maverick” he claims to be he would speak out against the hypocrisy being displayed by his fellow senators. It is one thing to be against legislation that is seeking to be budget neutral on philosophical grounds, but not if you voted for the Medicare Part B legislation.

Somewhere in a cave between Louisiana and Mississippi some Republican strategist came up with the strategy that the way you prevent spending on social and domestic issues is by bankrupting the federal coffers through tax-cuts, fighting two wars, and drug giveaways. The thing we have to remember is that by starving social programs there are groups who benefit. If you can reduce the number of middle and low income kids going on to college then your kids have a better opportunity to attend a prestigious college and in turn you reduce the number of graduates that your kids will have to compete against for jobs. The same can be demonstrated for healthcare, jobs, and many other social programs that could benefit the masses. It plays out in the healthcare debate by rationing care to those who are unable to afford the high cost of health insurance thus insuring better healthcare for those who can.

Once again the Republicans are demonstrating their utter lack of regard for average Americans by attempting to block legislation that would begin to free Americans from the yoke that the insurance companies have placed around our national necks. To turn what is clearly a moral issue into a financial issue after you have given away the whole barn would be farcical if it wasn’t so criminal. The way you balance the budget is by spending all of the money? I guess it’s like the joke we had in college for balancing our checkbooks, “You’re not out of money until you run out of checks.” The Republicans have not only run out of money and checks but have also run out credibility.

How are these hypocrites being allowed to stand before the American people without the media presenting the complete story is unconscionable? The American people deserve a media that is willing to call out the hypocrites publicly especially on issues of this magnitude instead of this false objectivity that all voices are equal and all seek what’s best for the majority when in fact this is not true. It is one thing to be against legislation on principal, but you can’t selectively apply these principles when you are in or out of power. If when you were in power not only did you not hold your party to these principles, but you violated those principles you now hold up as sacrosanct then how sacred can these principles be? A famous Republican once stated that the definition of hypocrisy is the man who murders both parents and then ask the court for leniency because he is an orphan. This appears to be the strategy of the current Republican party they were against Medicare before they were for Medicare before they were against it and then for it, etc. etc. How ironic it is to see Republican lawmakers claiming that they are the defenders of a program they have for decades sought to eliminate.

Hypocrite: the man who murdered both his parents... pleaded for mercy on the grounds that he was an orphan. - Abraham Lincoln

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