The Rittenhouse Review

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

Sunday, October 31, 2004  

Billions Squandered Ahead of November Surprise

Is the "November Surprise" in store from the Republicans an announcement, just one day before the election, that the Bush administration has flip-flopped on the issue of reimporting prescription drugs from Canada?

Atrios is hearing that, or possibly that, from what he terms "a realiable source."

If true, this desperate ploy should make it obvious that with Sen. John F. Kerry breaking away from President Two More Days in nationwide and swing-state polls, the Republicans are running scared -- very scared.

But, really, what a total failure of leadership, what a display of sheer incompetence that the president can find no alternative but stealing one of the most popular planks of the Kerry-Edwards campaign: allowing the reimportation of prescription drugs from Canada.

A couple of points:

This is a proposal the White House and Republicans in Congress have been fighting for years, with all their might and with misleading claims and outright falsehoods about "safety" and "security." In fact, it's all about money, it's always been about money: the pharmaceutical industry's money. Why the sudden change of heart? How cynical a move is this? How stupid do they think we are?

And what of the much-ballyhooed "safety" and "security" concerns? Have they been addressed overnight? How and by whom? Or were the Republicans lying about these alleged concerns all along? If the Republicans were lying then, why should you trust them now? How many billions of working families' and senior citizens' dollars have these people squandered by blocking, until November 1, so reasonable, rational, and necessary a change in policy?

Finally, be careful of what they're selling, it's probably not what you think you're buying. As Atrios notes, "I'm sure that, if this happens, it'll be a big 'read the fine print' bait and switch." Absolutely. Don't doubt for a minute that the pharmaceutical industry, a major source of funding for the Republican Party, will have a giant apoplexy and immediately deploy all its resources to weaken any measure offered, carve out exceptions, add new tax advantages, tack on onerous conditions, and the like. Why do you think the drug industry's donations have been so heavily slanted toward Republicans? Count on the giant pharmaceutical companies calling in their favors. Count on the Republicans listening with open palms.

[Post-publication addendum (November 1): Looks like the source to Atrios was misinformed. Even I didn't think the Bush campaign would be that transparent. But you never know. Sorry if I scared you.]

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