I have (and will) criticize liberals for being inconsistent in their application of certain political rules (No astroturfing. No Hitler comparisons. etc.) . However, when I see an example of a liberal being consistent in their criticism, even when the criticism "hurts" a cause they support, I want to point it out.
Robert Reich is an Obama supporter. He is as left-wing as economist get. He doesn't hide his support for universal health care. He is a proponent and supports the President's proposals. However, he does not agree with the President having secret meetings with "Big Pharma" (his words) in order to cut deals.
Reich starts off his piece explaining the situation:
But I'm appalled by the deal the White House has made with the pharmaceutical industry's lobbying arm to buy their support.
week, after being reported in the Los Angeles Times, the White House
confirmed it has promised Big Pharma that any healthcare legislation
will bar the government from using its huge purchasing power to
negotiate lower drug prices.
He then gives the answer, as to why the White House would make the deal: the drug industry has went all out, promising $150 million in advertising (more than John McCain spent in the entire general election) supporting the President's proposal.
To close out the column Reich displays the type of consistency I have longed to see from liberals (and conservatives) on this issue. He said he recognizes the benefits that come from an extensive advertising push by "Big Pharma," but concludes it is not worth the price to democracy.
But when an industry gets secret concessions out of the White House in
return for a promise to lend the industry's support to a key piece of
legislation, we're in big trouble. That's called extortion: An industry is using its capacity to threaten or prevent legislation
as a means of altering that legislation for its own benefit. And it's
doing so at the highest reaches of our government, in the office of the
When the industry support comes with an
industry-sponsored ad campaign in favor of that legislation, the threat
to democracy is even greater.
To ensure his liberal Salon readers recognize the magnitude of the situation, he writes:
Any Democrats and progressives who might be reading this should ask
themselves how they'll feel when a Republican White House cuts such
deals to advance its own legislative priorities.
Consistency – sometimes it is difficult, but without it we do not have principles, we have partisanship.