Wednesday, February 27, 2008

When A Special Interest Isn't A Special Interest

If you listen to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on the campaign trail, you would think that they will "end" the days of the "lobbyists" and the "special interests". Both contend that the Bush Administration has been beholding to big Pharmaceutical and Oil companies and other big businesses.

Of course, this is mis-direction on their part. The fact is that each of these candidates is beholding to a freight train full of special interest. But, to a Democrat, their special interests aren't really special interests. Right---!

By definition, special interest groups are an association or group that looks to our politicians to provide favorable legislation for their benefit. Surely, lobbyists fill this bill. And, they will wine and dine and talk the ears off of our elected officials in order to get legislation passed that would be beneficial to their representative industry or companies. At the most, a politician might go on a junket (a golf outing, seminar, etc) that is sponsored by a trade group or lobbyist. These entertainment type trips are intended to woo politicians while they take in the lobbyist-provided entertainment and relaxing activitiest. Under the law, no money or gifts will be given to or taken by politicians because that would bribery.

But for the Democrats, their special interest groups are typically the labor unions like the National Education Association, the AFL-CIO, Teamsters, United Auto Worker, International Union of Fire Fighters, Service Employees International Union, etc. You also have other interest groups such as the Association of Trial Lawyers, the ACLU, NAACP, NOW, and NARAL Pro-Choice America,, Code Pink, The Daily KOS, Planned Parenthood, Greenpeace, World Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, AARP, and, so on.

Unlike lobbyist, the special interest groups for the Democrats do give gifts. For the support of their cause, the respective unions or other special interest groups offer the Democratic candidates and the Democratic party the promise of "votes"; and, for a politician, votes have more value than any amount of money. But money also flows in terms of donations into their campaign coffers from the members of those special interest groups. Additionally, some special, special interest groups, like, are categorized as "527" groups. These groups hold the promise of national and local advertising campaigns that are designed to denigrate their opposition during the election. You need only look back on the hatchet-job that did on Joe Lieberman in Connecticut in the last Senatorial race. Fortunately, Joe won.

With this in mind, is it any wonder why Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton want to leave Iraq so fast. Might it has something to do with the promise of votes, money, and advertising from the far left groups like Or, Code Pink? Or, the Daily KOS? Apparently, the need to satisfy these left-wing groups is more important that addressing the constantly improving conditions in Iraq; both militarily and politically!

Both Obama and Clinton have been taking NAFTA to task and promise to suspend it or modify it. Is it possible that they are bending to wishes of the AFL-CIO and Teamsters unions for votes and campaign monies? After all, these two unions blame NAFTA for the loss of union membership jobs. Of course, it doesn't matter that substantial and unblocked trade benefited Americans and American business under NAFTA.

What about the teacher's unions like the NEA? Are Obama and Clinton's stands on abandoning teacher and student testing and performance measurement the rationale behind their promise to eliminate "No Child Left Behind" program? Both major teacher's unions want these programs abandoned. What about their campaign promises of reducing class sizes and teachers salaries? For the unions, it clearly means more teachers and a broader base of membership. If you listen to the two Democratic candidates, it's all about the "teachers" and not the "students". My guess is the 1/2 of the seniors in Chicago city schools will still not graduate; no matter how much you pay the teachers.

Then, there is the promise of both these candidates to create "green collar" jobs? Do you think they might be making that promise and the promise of spending billions of dollars because they might get political favors from Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Federation, and the Sierra Club? Are the unions salivating over potentially high-paying Federally sponsored jobs? Will "green-collar" might be "sound good" the practicality of such a program is really questionable. Wind and solar power are big and extremely expensive technologies to implement. And, the cost of labor to install or make them is minuscule in comparison to the high cost of a single solar panel or a single wind turbine. I don't think the promise of jobs is really there. But, this spending programs sounds got to the ears of the "special interests" that are listening.

I think it is obvious from all the campaign promises by the Democrats who is doing what for whom and why. You need only take the time to examine the connections. However, most people don't. And, generally, special interests have nothing to do with what is best for this country as a whole.

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