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One of the most useful strategies known to politicians is some variation on the CHANGE theme, one of the keywords in President Obama's 2008 campaign. The electorate almost always desires CHANGE, because politicians almost always foul things up, making CHANGE almost always sound great. I'm hard-pressed to think of a politician who ran on an "I'll keep things exactly the same" platform. If there ever was one, he/she probably lost the election. Here are a few of the CHANGE-based campaign slogans used by politicians through the years:
- Are You Better Off Than You Were Four Years Ago ? - Ronald Reagan, 1984, (CHANGE from Jimmy Carter).
- A Chicken In Every Pot. A Car In Every Garage - Herbert Hoover, 1928, (CHANGE that will get you more stuff).
- Back To Normalcy - Warren G. Harding, 1920 (CHANGE from WWI).
- A Time For Greatness - John F. Kennedy, 1960 (CHANGE for the better).
- It's Time To CHANGE America - Bill Clinton, 1992 (general CHANGE)
- To Begin Anew - Eugene McCarthy, 1968 (start the CHANGE all over again)
- CHANGE We Can Believe In - Barack Obama, 2008 (CHANGE, and this time we mean it !)
The CHANGE theme isn't unique to the USA. In 1957, Nikiti Kruschev's CHANGE vision for the Soviet economy was called Catch Up And Overtake America (take heed, leftists. If Marxism was so great, the Soviets wouldn't have needed to "catch up." They never did, btw. They collapsed instead).
CHANGE works with the voters, and obviously, it worked for Obama. He was more CHANGE-believable than John McCain (one of McCain's campaign slogans was also CHANGED-based - Reform. Prosperity. Peace). McCain was a Republican following a Republican administration, and there was also that awkward photo of McCain hugging President George W. Bush. McCain didn't seem as CHANGE-ey as Obama, plus Obama is half-black, giving him many CHANGE bonus points. Clearly, the CHANGE guy who would "fundamentally transform America" and "CHANGE the way Washington D.C does business" was Obama. Our new prez was going to get rid of the lobbyists and special interests, and all that.
But something funny happens after the elections are over. The new President actually has to run things, and CHANGE becomes nothing more than a word. That is illustrated quite well by the way President Obama has conducted health care reform. Listen to this description of how Obama handled the health care discussions, and then tell me how CHANGE-ey it sounds to you. From the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama's top aides met frequently with lobbyists and health care industry heavyweights as his administration pieced together a national health care overhaul, according to White House visitor records obtained by The Associated Press.
The records, obtained Wednesday, disclose visits by a broad cross-section of the people most involved in the health care debate, weighted heavily toward those who want to overhaul the system.
The list includes George Halvorson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Health Plans; Scott Serota, president and CEO of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association; Kenneth Kies, a Washington lobbyist who represents Blue Cross/Blue Shield, among other clients; Billy Tauzin, head of PhRMA, the drug industry lobby; Richard Umbdenstock, chief of the American Hospital Association, and numerous lobbyists.
The AP in early August asked the White House to produce records identifying communications that top Obama aides...The records list the kinds of people usually involved in Washington policymaking: business, union and trade association executives, lobbyists and political strategists. Wednesday's disclosure was significant because of Obama's campaign promise to change business as usual in Washington, and because he voluntarily released records showing the access of special interests as the administration crafted national health care policy.
Earlier this year, the White House announced agreements under which hospitals and the drug industry promised cost savings in return for the overhaul's expected expansion in the number of insured patients. The arrangements were hammered out in private meetings, drawing comparisons to Vice President Dick Cheney's secret talks with the energy industry as he helped President George W. Bush draft a national energy policy.
White House officials met repeatedly with the American Medical Association, which has pushed hard — over the objections of some physicians — for the health overhaul and a corresponding pay hike for doctors.
It pretty much sounds like the same old, same old to me. The Obama administration gets a couple points for releasing the records of these private meetings (Bush fought against such releases during energy policy discussions), but remember that Obama promised to hold the health care hearings on C-SPAN, which he did not do. Another broken promise.
This special interest catering is why we have health care bills that raise costs instead of lowering them, that mandate coverage for Americans to vastly increase the business of the insurance companies, that don't allow the negotiation of significantly lower drug prices, that guts Medicare Advantage in order to increase AARP's Medi-Gap insurance sales, that allows Medicaid prices to be negotiated with the AMA, and that don't include tort reform (to benefit trial lawyers).
Congressional health care votes are even being bought outright, as in the $100 million bribe to get the vote of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA). Conservative talker Glenn Beck drew some heat for calling Landrieu a prostitute following that little bit of D.C. quid pro quo. I agree with Beck's criticizers. Why did Beck single out Landrieu ? There are a slew of whores operating inside the D.C. Beltway. Landrieu is but one of many. That's how they do business in D.C. They rob the
Also, I've mentioned this before, but the whores in Washington, D.C. are lying their dishonest fannies off about how much health care reform is really going to cost.
I favor health care reform, but I cannot favor this. Back to the drawing board. It's time for a CHANGE. As usual.