... he'd listen to and embrace Republican ideas, such as those elaborated by Newt Gingrich and John Goodman in the Wall Street Journal in Wednesday's edition. Ideas like, for example, true doctor-friendly (as opposed to lawyer friendly) tort reform, health insurance portability, and avoiding drastic Medicare cuts from a system that already underpays providers. The truth, unfortunately, is that a simple, effective, and popular idea like tort reform never would see the light of day, given the ownership of the Democratic Party by the trial bar.
After the Supreme Court's 1976 Buckley v. Valeo decision affirmed the constitutionality of dollar limits on campaign donations to candidates, plaintiffs attorneys realized they could work within the new rules to increase their political influence. Three years later, the plaintiffs bar set up the Attorneys Congressional Campaign Trust. Its successor organizations have given $33 million in political action committee (PAC) donations to federal campaigns since 1990, according to data gathered by the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP).
These PAC contributions only scratch the surface. Contribution limits favor those best able to "bundle" donations. The plaintiffs bar, with thousands of well-heeled members willing to write $2,000 checks, is well-situated to play this game. While corporations' interests are dispersed among hosts of competing tax and regulatory concerns, the trial lawyers have a focused cause: maintaining the lawsuit industry and expanding legal liability rules that lead to more lawsuits.
Since 1990, the sums donated to federal political candidates by lawyers—excluding lobbyists—exceed $1 billion, according to CRP. Lawyers as a group have given more to federal candidates than any other industry or profession. Their ability to keep tort reform out of the health-care reform bills is unsurprising: Congressional campaign contributions by lawyers in the last election cycle were about $25 million more than the combined total of political donations from doctors, pharmaceutical companies, HMOs, hospitals and nursing homes.
By the way, it's "Democrats" and not "politicians" since 70-80% of lawyer and law firm donations are directed to Democrats.
It's actually simpler than that. If Mr. Obama were really serious about health care, he'd have invited the Republicans to the table to help craft the legislation before the Obama-Reid-Pelosi "Dance of 1000 Fools" of the last 9 months. Instead, he spoke only with Democrats, stated - wrongly - that only his side had any ideas on how to solve the problems, and tried to force a major restructuring of one-seventh of the US economy through on a party-line vote. But now that Senator 41 has taken his seat, and with continued disagreements even among Democrats, that dog won't hunt. He talks a good game,
“I’m willing to move off of some of the preferences of my party in order to meet them halfway, but there’s got to be some give from their side as well,” Obama said during a surprise visit to the White House briefing room following a meeting with congressional leaders from both parties. “I also won’t hesitate to condemn what I consider to be obstinacy,” he warned.
but he could have magnanimously reined in his Congressional leadership and opted for this sort of give and take when he had 60 in the Senate, and didn't. Now it simply comes off as oleaginous, too clever by half.*