Several news outlets have been making hay out of an apparent joint endorsement of Obamacare (sans public option) by Bob Dole and Tom Daschle:
Bob Dole, the one-time Republican leader in the Senate, and Tom Daschle, the one-time Democratic leader, issued a joint statement today in which they said they supported the Democrats’ attempt to overhaul the health-care system.
“The American people have waited decades, and if this moment passes us by, it may be decades more before there is another opportunity,” the two former leaders said in a joint statement.
I find the way this is being reported to be… curious. See, the casual observer might or might not wonder exactly what Bob Dole and Tom Daschle have been doing lately to earn a living. The answer, as most people in DC know, is that they have been paid lobbyists at the firm of Alston + Bird. Alston + Bird, of course, is deeply involved in lobbying on behalf of the health care industry. Thus, whether the clients Daschle and Dole are paid to lobby on behalf of are actually supporters of Obamacare is irrelevant, as they stand to benefit from Dole and Daschle ingratiating themselves to the Administration and powerful Democrat members of Congress by engaging on this crusade.
Put more simply, the real story here is that powerful paid lobbyists are doing the job for which they are well-paid to do. And it’s dishonest for the news media to paint Dole and Daschle as disinterested observers or party statesmen here without disclosing their obvious financial self-interest in increasing their own influence in the healthcare debate. And if I can connect the dots from all the way over here in Tennessee, there’s no excuse why these facts should have passed reporters from the New York Times by.