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President Obama has blamed many factors for the stalling of his health care overhaul, from the recent special election in Massachusetts that deprived Democrats of their supermajority in the Senate to his own failure to better explain the legislation to the American people.
He has also prominently blamed lobbyists, taking them to task in his State of the Union address last week as he cited “special interests and armies of lobbyists and partisan politics.”
But what the president did not mention in his address was that many of those lobbyists actually worked to support his health care overhaul, not oppose it.
According to the story, health care and insurance lobbyists spent at least $648 million last year, a figure that is likely to go far higher. Even at that rate, spending by the sector came close to matching the entire annual gross domestic output of Grenada. “It’s the most money ever spent by a business sector for federal lobbying,” Dave Levinthal, a spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics, told the Times.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”