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By L.C. Johnson (blog/bio)

It has to be drugs.  How else do we explain Senator Obama decrying the influence of lobbyists--health care lobbyists in particular--and then putting one of those very lobbyists in as his New Hampshire campaign chair?  Are all Obama supporters just a bunch of Jim Jones kool aid drinkers or does this blatant hypocrisy cause you to question the commitment of Senator Obama to produce real change in Washington?

There is no way to spin this.  The facts are simple.  Here's what the good Senator said in Augustabout those dastardly pharmaceutical and healthcare lobbyists:

Take health care. The drug and insurance industries spent $1 billion in lobbying over the last decade. They got what they paid for when their friends in Congress broke the rules and twisted arms to push through a prescription drug bill that actually made it illegal for our own government to negotiate with the pharmaceutical companies for cheaper drug prices.

And because reform has been blocked up to now, there are parents and grandparents in this country who are walking into a drugstore and wondering how their Social Security check is going to cover a prescription that’s more expensive than it was a month ago; those who are being forced to choose between their medicine and their groceries because they can no longer afford both.

Let me be clear, I do not begrudge businesses for trying to make a profit, and I do not begrudge them for hiring lobbyists to plead their case before Congress. It is protected political speech, and we appreciate that there are many lobbyists who represent their clients well and fairly. But it’s time we had a Congress that tells the drug companies and the oil companies and the insurance industry that while they may get a seat at the table in Washington, they don’t get to buy every chair.

Okay, just as long as they buy a chair in a state with an early primary.  That shit is ok.  Right?   If Barack is sincere and to be trusted, then how in the name of consistency and logic can he justify appointing a healthcare lobbyist as his campaign chair in New Hampshire?  Did someone put a gun to his head?

James "Jim" Demers is a lobbyist.  The Nashua Telegraph provided this nifty summary last summer of lobbyist activity in New Hampshire (but said nothing about Demers ties to that lobbyist hating Barack Obama):

Here is a brief summary of the top-ranking firms:

Demers Group: $279,213.

President James Demers, a former Democratic congressional candidate and political operative, did exceedingly well with a varied stable of about 20 clients.

He got Southern Wine and Spirits on the map and into premier shelf locations at state liquor stores (for a $15,000 fee) and blocked any attempt to apply the 28-cent-per-pack increase on the cigarette tax to smokeless tobacco ($27,500).

Demers convinced the Legis­lature to approve a major change in legal liability for his New Hampshire Trial Lawyers ($25,000), although Lynch vetoed the bill (HB 143).

Twenty firms?  Now that's not huge in terms of Washington, D.C. terms, but heavens, are these groups paying Demers for his good looks?  Doubt it.  Check out Demers' clients:  (source, Lobbyists in the State of New Hampshire):

72 N MAIN ST STE 301
(603) 228-1498

And to make matters worse, Obama denied that Demers is a lobbyist.  Jesus!!  He can't even lie with panache or creativity.  No, wait.  He's looking up the meaning of "no".

You cannot campaign against lobbyists and then take their money and still expect voters to believe your "honesty" in government bullshit.  If Obama really believed his own bullshit, he would have insisted that Demers get rid of the pharmaceutical companies as clients.  In fact, he should have insisted that Demers close his business.  If you are going to clean up government and eliminate lobbyist influence then you start by closing down lobbyist businesses.

But Obama did not do that.  He kept him in place.  If that is a "new way of doing business" then give me a call, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.


Originally posted to L C Johnson on Sun Jan 06, 2008 at 03:36 PM PST.

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