Thursday, December 17, 2009

"Special Interests:" the other side of the coin

I attended an event in Portland today at which a major player from the Washington DC area discussed the state of the Health Care "reform" shenanigans going on as we speak.

In the midst of his discussion, I had one of those moments of "clarity," or an epiphany of sorts. You've probably all realized what I'm about to discuss, but I hadn't thought of it in quite these terms.

We have all heard of "special interests" who manipulate the otherwise scrupulously honest elected officials in Washington by lavishing money and assorted other goodies upon them. And we've all been told that whether we realize it or not, we ALL belong to one "special interest" group or another. Some would even say that those who just want government to leave them alone have a "special," or unique interest.

Special interests, of course, are those things that can be catered to to curry favor; think labor unions, "big oil," etc. Most often, "pandered" is a better word than "catered" in such cases.

Today, however, it was made very clear that the flip side of being a special interest that expects to be pandered to is a special interest that can be blackmailed just as easily.

Case in point: the AMA. That's the association that represents MD's and lobbies for it's own interests as distinct from everyone elses'. When it says that it won't support the proposed legislation because of a certain provision, they find themselves vulnerable to blackmail. All the "congressional leaders" have to say is "fine; you don't support the bill, we will lower Medicare reimbursement levels by 20%."

Just like that, all of a sudden the AMA supports the proposed legislation, because they have to protect their own interests, even if they fly in the face of the interests of the greater public.

This is what we have become. This is how we are governed. There is no "special interest" group representing the interests of the public at large, or the country overall, or demanding faithfullness to the Constitution and oath of office.

So groups are bought off one by one; Senators and Representatives are bought off one by one, and the American system slips into a death spiral. And when they refuse to be bought off, out comes the other side of the coin: blackmail.

How easily can your vote be bought? How easily can you be blackmailed?

I suggest we all reflect on that as we ponder where our country and our future are headed.

We hear a lot about "the common good." In view of the foregoing, the concept is pure "poppycock," used more often than not to stimulate support for exactly the opposite. The next time you hear the term used, be skeptical, be very skeptical.


  1. Excellent dissection and apropos of the principle of "divide and conquer".

    The Gipper's Big Tent was a good thing, and maybe we shall see it again sometime real soon.

    So Poppycock keep up the flow of opinion, commentary and continuing education credits.

  2. Dear Mr. Poppycock: I miss your wry wit. Have you taken a holiday?