One Word: Disgusting. Another Word: Betrayal. (UPDATED)

by: David Sirota

Wed Dec 09, 2009 at 13:06

UPDATE: See my update to this post here.

Barack Obama campaigned on an explicit promise to support legislation allowing Americans to purchase lower-priced, FDA-approved prescription drugs from other countries. On the campaign, he rightly rejected the drug industry's red herring argument that prescription drugs in places like Canada and Europe are unsafe - a red-herring argument that has been repeatedly undermined by empirical evidence, not the least of which is the simple fact that almost every other industrialized nation on Earth today has safe and secure drug importation systems in place. And Obama's promise to back importation was not some ultraliberal promise - it was one that polls have consistently showed the vast majority of Americans support.

In the first month in office, Obama seemed ready to fulfill that basic promise. But now, as a bipartisan group of senators move forward with a bill to cement importation into law, we get this:

A proposal to enable the importation of cheaper prescription drugs could endanger the U.S. medicine supply and would be difficult to implement, the Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday...

The Obama administration's declaration on the eve of the vote could derail the amendment despite the fact that Obama co-sponsored Dorgan's drug imports bill while a member of the Senate and that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was a vocal proponent of the House version of the bill when he served as a member of the lower chamber.

This is straight-up disgusting - and please, spare us the claim that its the FDA and not Obama doing this because it's his FDA appointee on an issue he explicitly campaigned on. That's why it is a such a gross betrayal - a betrayal on behalf of one of the wealthiest and most profitable industries in the world: the pharmaceutical industry.

As Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) says, the safety canard now being thrown out by the Obama adminstration is "completely bogus" and he further notes that both the Clinton and Bush administrations have used that completely bogus argument to prevent importation in the past. As a result, "U.S. consumers are charged the highest prices in the world for FDA-approved prescription drugs."

This is not some small issue - there's literally billions of dollars at stake in this, and it's a fight that progressives have been waging for a decade now (I know, because when I worked on the Hill, I spent countless hours on it). As I said, the fact that an administration headed by President Obama - a guy who promised to support importation - is now helping the drug industry crush importation is disgusting, especially when you consider that this same administration that cites its cost concerns is trying to stop a measure that would bring down inflated drug costs.

We've been betrayed.

David Sirota :: One Word: Disgusting. Another Word: Betrayal. (UPDATED)

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One more nail in the coffin (0.00 / 0)
The political establishment will oppose any progressive demand and are hell bent at heading off the cliff now that they've run us off the road. Obama has shown his true colors. He's an Establishment man with establishment loyalties. How many more times can Obama betray us? I'm suffering from outrage fatigue. I thought this was all going to end when Bush left office. Now it's just more of the same with a kinder face. Obama, Michelle and the kids sure make a great photo op, dontcha think?  

"Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it." - Mark Twain

As Tim Pawlenty might say: (4.00 / 1)
"Show me the dead Canadians!"

Even the conservative governor of Minnesota can see that this excuse - the safety canard - is DOA.

How the hell did President Obama and his chief of staff get to the right of Tim Pawlenty?  

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

you've been awakened, more like (0.00 / 0)
this is hardly news

not everything worth doing is profitable. not everything profitable is worth doing.

You've Only Yourself To Blame (0.00 / 0)
Sorry, David, but anyone with common sense and a knowledge of history could see Obama for what he was before the primaries, which is why I supported Hillary. She may have been too hawkish for your taste, but on all the issues that mattered outside the war effort, she had a solid track record to go by. Obama, on the other hand, was a cypher, a neophyte, and way too inexperienced compared to Hillary. She at least knew where the bodies were buried. And while she may have been too corporatist for your taste, the average working stiff didn't believe that for a second. In case anyone didn't pay attention, it was Hillary who won the Democratic base support, not Obama. Anyone who believed Obama got where he did without the support of Wall Street and other powerful interests drank way too much of the Kool-Aid. They were way more scared of Hillary getting in, who they knew would have fought harder for progressive ideals. I saw her campaign for Bill in NH back in '92, and anyone watching then always knew she was the more liberal of the two.

You destroyed whatever credibility you had by backing Obama the way you did, and now that you've discovered what a complete and total ineffectual fraud he is, you feel betrayed. Well, boo-frickin'-hoo for you.

Tell you what, when you decide to support an insurgency campaign against the Presidency like Bobby did in '68 and Teddy did in '80, maybe the third time will be the charm as the GOP brand isn't exactly winning hearts and minds like they were capable of back then. Right now, there's a huge leadership void on both sides of the aisle, and the person who can fill it is the one who will get the vote of the American people. I pray Hillary pulls a Bobby on Obama, but I don't see it happening unless more drastic events take place.

This point forward, I'm going with the most liberal candidate no matter the party affiliate. That sure as hell was never Obama.

let's not refight the primaries please (4.00 / 2)
Nobody's minds have been or are going to be changed. I still think Obama was the lesser of two evils. Hillary's policy outlook was essentially identical to Obama's. What pushed me over and keeps me over to this day was Hillary's incredible douchebaggery in trying to tear down Obama and ensure that if Hillary wasn't elected, by god, no Democrat would be.

I kept hearing about Hillary's tenure as a progressive first lady during  the early nineties. That's fabulous, but her actual Senate record was right-leaning centrist, the campaign people who surrounded her were right-leaning centrists, (some of them highly and visibly incompetent), and the positions she took were deeply centrist positions. No, I would not change my vote, despite Obama's repeated lies, equivocations and distortions. Let's move on.

They were way more scared of Hillary getting in, who they knew would have fought harder for progressive ideals.

Right, I'm sure they were quaking in their boots at the thought of the personification of the DC center-right thinking coming in and screwing progressives slightly differently than Obama.

[ Parent ]
Actually... (0.00 / 0)
...there were more than two (or even three) candidates.

But any of them who wouldn't have betrayed us were branded "un-serious," and we were ordered not to support them, and most of us obediently went along with those orders.

Maybe by next time we'll learn.

[ Parent ]
I heartily disagree with you when you say she was trying to make sure no Democrat would win (0.00 / 0)
That was never the case

And on most every domestic issue she was to his left. She supported a moratorium on mortgage foreclosure, she was adamant on th epublic option.  She never would have been indifferent enough to have allowed Stupak any room to quote her endorsement of the traditonal sanctity of the Hyde amendment.  She unlike him did not support the Hyde amendment.

She was always for the little guy. When she came up with a proposal to help the blue collar worker, he called it ridiclous.

He was lying about NAFTA.  She wasn't.  

She only compromised when she had to.  Compromise is the essence of his phenome...

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"

[ Parent ]
Such a silly, sad, ridiculous assumption (4.00 / 2)
Your assumption that Hillary was better - and would be better - is a hilarious fantasy. Yes, the person who voted for the war, was in the administration that thwarted reimportation, campaigned publicly for NAFTA, yes - we should all believe she'd be better.

What a total joke, really. Try telling another.

[ Parent ]
Reading Comprehension Not One Of Your Skills, David? (0.00 / 0)
I acknowledged Hillary was more hawkish than Obama in my post. I also have years of Hillary's service as Senator in the state I was living in during the early years of her first term to go by. (And yes, I did vote for her.) Obama, on the other hand, had nothing to point to as his anti-war creds other than a speech he gave prior to his becoming Senator, when he had no skin in the game. Too many people, including you, based their support on Obama's speech alone as proof he would be different. Hillary is already on record that her support of NAFTA was a huge mistake. Looking at her voting record the entire time when she and Obama served in the Senate at the same time shows only one vote they voted differently on, and she was on our side for that one. Also, she was not the one throwing Move-On under the bus whereas Obama was during the Patraeus dust-up.

One other point: I didn't support Hillary the way Obama supporters did their man. That is, I knew going in she had her flaws. However, I felt the plusses definitely outweighed the minuses. You are simply defending a flawed analysis based on a hope that Obama would be different, not on an actual track record. The man was no more qualified to be President than Sarah Palin is. In fact, I would have less of a problem with Palin voters as at least her voters can be summed up in only two categories: the Kool-Aid drinkers and the ones who actually know she's a loon and want to see our country go over a cliff.

How can you defend the position that Obama is a better President than Hillary would ever be when all he does is throw the people who supported him under the bus time and time again? With Afghanistan and now Health Care, there is no basis to believe she would/could be worse.

[ Parent ]
Honestly, this whole discussion borders on absurd (0.00 / 0)
I originally supported Edwards, switched to Obama, considered Clinton.  I didn't trust any of them, had some hope for all, and I still do for Obama, although less than before.  Maybe Hillary would have been better -- I can't for the life of me understand how you can be confident of it.

The problem is that we don't have a strong, organized progressive movement that can insist on serious candidates campaigning as and then governing as progressives, the way conservatives do in the GOP.  Why not is a complex question that I don't claim to have all the answers to, but until we do we will be stuck with guessing which vaguely defined candidate for the Dem nomination will turn out to be best/least bad, but it can never be more than a guess.

[ Parent ]
Who Said I Trusted Any Of Them? (0.00 / 0)
Hillary at least had a track record of supporting progressive causes long before she got into office. What the hell did Obama accomplish as a community organizer? Can anyone even say with ANY conviction what he stands for? For the record, two of the most cited liberals - RFK and EMK - were known not only to break bread with the political opposition but also supported from time to time positions most on the Left would be appalled with. I don't subscribe to any purity tests when it comes to politicians. I simply like to know who I'm dealing with. With Hillary, you get a totally known quantity. With Obama, you're being asked to take a leap of faith no sane, practical person would ever do. It's that simple. I had complete faith Hillary would not pull out of the Middle East, so there was never any risk of disappointment there. Not that I want our troops there. God, no, but let's face it, anyone who thought Obama was going to be bringing the troops home was due for serious disappointment. Anyone supporting Obama in 2012 with any similar expectations is also due to be disappointed.

[ Parent ]
What I would add (0.00 / 0)
With Hillary, you get a totally known quantity. With Obama, you're being asked to take a leap of faith no sane, practical person would ever do.

Regarding Hillary, the only thing I knew about her was that she had been/would be somewhere between reasonably progressive and disgusting, triangulating "free trade"/welfare abolishing/fill in new horror like her husband.  I'm sorry, but I did see reasons to hope she would be more progressive than him, other reasons not to, and no clear evidence either way.

Regarding Obama, in terms of policy you're exaggerating.  He had more than enough record to make clear he would be at worst a Bill Clinton type, and just as much reason to hope for better as Hillary, without the record of at least association, if not support, for what Bill did.

In terms of competence, he was an unknown quantity, but honestly so was Hillary.  I also don't buy that more experience is necessarily better.

Finally, I see no reason to conclude that Obama is bad or good yet.  I may eventually regret my choice, but nothing you've said convinces me.  It may seem obvious to you, but it still looks like guesswork and "hope" to me.

[ Parent ]
Sorry, But... (0.00 / 0)
...Hillary already had served four years in the US Senate before Obama was elected to serve, so anyone saying she didn't have a track record is either being disingenuous, ignorant or hoping no one will call them on it.

Ask the firefighters in NY if she was fighting on their behalf after 9/11. I was living in Western NY at the time, and the Buffalo News was reporting constantly what she and Schumer were doing in regards to getting funds to take care of the victims, especially since many western state GOP senators were against any payouts whatsoever.

Whereas during the primaries Obama couldn't point to anything specific he had accomplished while in the Senate, Hillary could at least point to a job performance that warranted re-election in her home state, and by a sizable margin.

So to equate Obama's record to Hillary's is definitely an insult to her, and a demonstration of either sexism or ignorance on the part of the person making that claim.

[ Parent ]
That we have, David (0.00 / 0)
And it reminds me of Bush and the Republican Congress never pulling the Medicare Part D trigger, because "they wanted to make sure we would be safe from those evil Canadian drugs that we used to treat people whom were attacked by Anthrax."

It's with noting that big pharma is even more profitable than the insurance industry, too and also cause bankruptcies in conjunction.

Totally agree with you on that one, David! (0.00 / 0)
I have nothing else to add now, just wanting to go on the record with my approval. After all, it happens very seldomly that I agree with you!


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