Saturday, August 22, 2009

NYT Hit Piece on Tom Daschle

Ben Stein appears accurate when he said that you can't attack the President from the Right, but you sure can from the Left.

Tom Daschle is heavily involved in national health policy, despite withdrawing his name some six months ago from consideration to be named Health Secretary. But, he is a supporter of nonprofit insurance cooperatives, which the Left is against. The Left wants the hardcore :public option."

Thus, the gentle hit piece on Daschle. Writes NYT:

He still speaks frequently to the president, who met with him as recently as Friday morning in the Oval Office. And he remains a highly paid policy adviser to hospital, drug, pharmaceutical and other health care industry clients of Alston & Bird, the law and lobbying firm.Now the White House and Senate Democratic leaders appear to be moving toward a blueprint for overhauling the health system, centered on nonprofit insurance cooperatives, that Mr. Daschle began promoting two months ago as a politically feasible alternative to a more muscular government-run insurance plan.

It is an idea that happens to dovetail with the interests of many Alston & Bird clients, like the insurance giant UnitedHealth and the Tennessee Hospital Association. And it is drawing angry cries of accommodation from more liberal House Democrats bent on including a public insurance plan...

Mr. Daschle is not registered as a lobbyist and recently told U.S. News and World Report that he preferred to describe himself as a “resource” to those in government and industry. “I’d like to be a resource to my former colleagues,to the extent that I can, to the administration, to the stakeholders and to people interested in just kind of knowing how this is all going to play out,” he said. “I am most comfortable with the word resource.”...

Critics, though, say his ex officio role gives Alston & Bird’s health care clients privileged insights into the policy process. They say Mr. Daschle’s multiple advisory roles illustrate the kind of coziness with the lobbying world that Mr. Obama vowed to end. If he had been confirmed as health secretary, Mr. Daschle would have been subject to strict transparency and ethics rules.

His position, some liberals say, raises at least an appearance of a conflict of interest. “I hope the president can make a decision based on what the country wants, not what a handful of Daschle’s clients want,” said Representative Lynn Woolsey of California, a leader of the progressive caucus.


  1. Dirty Daschle earned every bit of what I read. His car and driver compensation compare favorably to Jim Johnson's Fannie Mae deal.

  2. Mr. Wenzel,

    I just don't trust them anymore- I see this piece as anesthesia before sticking us with Obamacare.

    The NYT is trying to soften the angry on the left who voted for the big O.

    Daschle is an old friend- surely he's looking out for those who secretly wanted (and voted for) Hillary.

    Welcome to Change, Chicago-style.