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It's No Party of the People

8:40 AM, Jun 23, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Jay Cost, author of Spoiled Rotten: How the Politics of Patronage Corrupted the Once Noble Democratic Party and Now Threatens the American Republic, writing in the Wall Street Journal:

Unlike Presidents Carter and Clinton, President Obama has not even tried to check the special interests that now dominate his party. There is no better example than ObamaCare, in particular the deal the president cut with the pharmaceutical lobby. Democrats had railed for years about how the drug manufacturers bent the 2002 Medicare prescription drug program toward their own ends, by using their clout to keep the government from negotiating lower drug prices and to maintain a ban on reimporting their drugs from Canada. On the stump, they promised to cut the drug makers down to size by allowing cheaper Canadian drugs to be reimported into the U.S.

But during the 2008 campaign, the pharmaceutical industry contributed some $8 million to Democratic candidates, nearly twice what it had donated to them in 2004, and gave more than $1 million to Mr. Obama alone. In 2009 it spent almost $200 million to lobby Congress and the White House for a special carve-out on the health-care bill. It worked: The legislation did not lift the reimportation ban, and Democrats nowadays no longer talk about it.

This special deal, while appalling, was certainly not unique. From President Obama's 2009 stimulus bill, with its billions in grants to states to keep dues-paying government workers and teachers on the payroll, to the health law, which pushed off taxes on unions' gold-plated insurance plans for a decade, a diverse array of special interests have won lucrative concessions.

Neither political party, of course, is immune from the influence of big campaign contributions, or lobbying by well-heeled groups. Still, the Democrats masquerade as the party opposed to the very kind of politics it now practices. And there was no better example of this than the Wisconsin recall. Liberals bemoaned how Mr. Walker used special-interest money to stay in office. However, the only reason he was recalled in the first place was that he dared to challenge the government unions, one of the most sacred clients of the modern Democratic Party.

Whole thing here

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