Saturday, February 4, 2017
For decades now I have been saying that there was no difference between Republicans and Democrats and with the election of Donald Trump, no time since now has this even more clear. Sure folk will say that Trump is a Republican, but I dare anyone to show any ideological bent he has toward either party. If he is a Republican, then Bernie Sanders is a Democrat. But a more articulate example of this can be observed when one tries to make a distinction between the actions and policies of traditional partisans like Cory Booker and Tom Price.
For cats attentive to history, we must recall we have Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to thank for our modern day derivative of what are now considered Republicans and Democrats. Both these men founded the Democratic-Republican Party. It was founded by these men to serve as a challenge to the Federalist Party which was run by Alexander Hamilton in 1791. Hamilton at the time was Secretary of the Treasury and a significant player in the administration in America’s first President George Washington.
Madison and Jefferson questioned Hamilton’s interest in truly wanting America to be a republic since he sided with the concept of federalism and disapproved of the manner in which the Constitution was written to limit the government and not the people. In contrast, Jefferson and Madison claimed the Constitution gave the federal government too much power such that it might place the citizenry at risk of being oppressed if there was no Bill of Rights to guarantee individual liberty. As an outcome of this, the first two U.S. political parties were formed – the Federalist Party (Hamilton) and the Democratic-Republican Party (Jefferson).
These two parties did not last too long and by the twentieth century, there was just one party divided in half – the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. Both of which have decided their main objective is not to serve on behalf of the unalienable individual rights of the citizen but rather the mechanical apparatus of the national government . Moreover, instead of the business of the people, their goals, motivated by political avarice motioned toward personal enrichment by becoming a professional class – something the founding fathers feared when they desired citizen merchants to serve and eventually return to the community.
Seeing this truism in modern day partisan politics, there is no better example than the relationship between Tom Price and Cory Booker with big pharma. The record is clear on both these politicians and their relationship with large U.S. pharmaceutical giants. Price was the benefactor of large campaign contributions from a CEO whose company manufactured a drug with the shelf name of BiDil - A treatment for African Americans suffering from heart failure, although one study raised problems about its safety and effectiveness. Add to this, the recent. Kaiser Health report that Price invested in an Australian biotech company named Zimmer Biomet which resulted for him a profit gain of more than 400 percent and may be even more profitable for the company with the enacting of the 21st Century Cures legislation Price supported. Likewise Sen. Cory Booker and 12 other democrat senators supported the same legislation which serves to lower drug safety standards. Booker also votedagainst the Sanders/Klobuchar amendment which would have allowed for the importation of pharmaceuticals from Canada and aided sugificantly in reducing the unreasonable and exploitive price gauging currently practiced by U.S. Pharmaceutical giants. Booker did this while remaining one of the biggest recipients of pharma, receiving contributions in excess of with $260,000. Is there a difference between these two politicians although one is a republican and the other a democrat?
Well to answer this we have to beat the bushes a little more. Tom Price, the Georgia Republican nominated by Donald Trump to become head of the Department of Health and Human Services, received additional contributions from the CEO of Atlanta based Arbor Pharmaceuticals LLC who bought the rights to BiDil. In return he sought to have the aforementioned study questioning the drug safety and effectiveness removed from the federal government website. It was effective. Emails show that an assistant to Price contacted the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality multiple times regarding having the study taken off their website according to documents obtained by ProPublica. It should be noted that Arbor is headquartered in Price’s district.
Similar to Price, Booker too seems to be in the pocket of big Pharma. He demonstrated his true colors (green and white) when he visibly stood in opposition to a Senate amendment allowing for the importation of pharmaceuticals into the U.S. that would have lowered the absurd cost for drugs that is a major economic burden on millions in the U.S. Considered to be a potential 2020 presidential contender, Booker’s office issued a statement saying that he was in favor of the importation of prescription drugs but that “any plan to allow the importation of prescription medications should also include consumer protections that ensure foreign drugs meet American safety standards. I opposed an amendment put forward last night that didn’t meet this test.” This alone is questionable and goes against attempting to aid the tens of millions of U.S. Citizens struggling to deal with the exorbitant cost of prescription drugs because it is the same argument made by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and the Obama Administration prior. Not to mention that Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden amendment to the Sanders/Klobuchar legislation included a clause for verified safety certification.
So is there a difference between Republicans and Democrats on ideology? Would say no and that the Democratic-Republican Party established by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison are mirror images of each other and represent a professional class that have the singular objective to enrich themselves at the expense of the American people.