The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Wednesday, April 21, 2004  

Health-Care and Campaign-Finance Reform

Two public policy issues guaranteed to cause me to leave the room or at least to let my eyes glaze over -- out of boredom, not hostility -- are health-care and campaign-finance reform.

As boring as both topics appear on the surface, or at least have appeared to me, I’m starting to think I’ve been mistaken.

On health-care reform: See Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, which devotes dozens of fascinating pages to the subject, including the lead article, “Now Can We Talk About Health Care?” by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). For me, however, the scariest article was “Singled Out,” by Jody Miller and Matt Miller, two entrepreneurial, energetic, independent-minded members of the intelligentsia, not unlike me and similar, though older, in age to me, who were totally screwed by what passes these days for our nation’s health insurance fraudulent, criminal enterprise, unregulated and rampant conspiratorial monopoly system.

And no less scary because Mr. and Mrs. Miller are almost unbearably more healthy than I.

As for campaign-finance reform . . . Well, if you think financing for federal offices is a mess, take a look sometime at Pennsylvania.

Today’s Philadelphia Inquirer reports, in “Big Gift to Castor Ruffles Pa. GOP,” by Jeff Shields, that Drew Lewis (R), secretary of transportation during the Reagan administration, has donated, within just the past several weeks, $602,500 to the campaign of Bruce L. Castor Jr. (R), a candidate in Tuesday’s Republican primary for Pennsylvania attorney general. (The Pennsylvania Republican party establishment is supporting Castor’s opponent, former Pittsburgh U.S. Attorney Tom Corbett.)

Lewis’s donations constitute a full 79 percent of the funds raised by Castor in the two-month period ended April 12.

Lewis, by the way, despite an apparently severe problem with alcohol and the law, one the Inquirer notes, with justification, has been, uh, enabled by Castor, has settled into a rather wonderful place in life these days.

As the Inquirer quotes Lewis: “You can’t stop the flow of money. So I just keep giving it away.”

Makes me wonder.

If I simply switch my party registration to Republican, will my life go as swimmingly for me as it has for Mr. Lewis and his friends?

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