Thursday, January 10, 2008

Unity08 on Health Care

Unity08 is an astroturf organization whose major platform is ... uh... unity I guess. But fundamentally it's an organization whose major purpose is to shape the political debate for Campaign 2008, trying to reverse the slide towards populism. Populism is readily apparent in the platforms of the Democratic candidates, especially Edwards. But this year is especially surprising given the populism seen in the campaigns of some on the GOP side, particularly in Mike Huckabee's campaign but also amongst the Paul crowd (though they don't explicitly endorse traditional populism). Thus there is great angst amongst the "Village" elders that the rabble may actually have a voice in this campaign.

Anyway, Unity08 is a collection of "centrist" politicians that claim that partisanship is hurting the country. They' held a "convention" of sorts in Oklahoma last weekend, rallying around Michael Bloomberg, billionaire mayor of NYC, truly a man of the people. Lately they've been all over the MSM talking about forming an "American" administration, made up of Republicans and Democrats. Kumbaya and all that...

(Aside: Where the hell were these guys in 2000, when the country was truly split ideologically, and the man that made it into the White House got there by losing the popular vote by 500,000 votes but won a 5-4 Supreme Court decision after 5 weeks of legal wrangling? I could see the need for a "compromise" administration then; but Bush took all the marbles and filled the govt with far right ideologues. These guys haven't made a peep the last seven years.)

Anyway, it's looking like it's going to be a Democratic year, and populist sentiments are running high on both sides of the isle. Unity08's job is to undercut populism and shift the debate in favor the big money interests that truly run the country.

Unity is nice and all, but where does Unity08 stand on the issues? I went to their website to find out.

Turns out Unity08 doesn't take a position on any of the issues. Instead, it's all member driven. And some of runs so contrary to "unity" that you might feel like it's 1984.

Take health care for example. The members of Unity08 get to rank the issues, and they've placed health care at the 2nd most important, just behind energy independence. I would agree with that, but I wanted to find out more. The have a number of links under health care, including one that says "solutions to the problems".
This brought me to this Unity08 page, which has a single link to a site that has "good ideas". It's url is Something was telling me that it wasn't a site about Urodela...
Sure enough, my fears were confirmed. The "solutions to the problems" facing health care in this country can be found in the Bishop of Bipartisanship, the Emperor of Unity, Newt Gingrich!!! Under the issues, Gingrich links to "the Center for Health Transformation". If you go back to the Unity08 health care page, you'll see another link to "Health care transformation". Hmmm... transformation... I clicked on the link, and sure enough it also links the Center for Health Transformation. So who is the Center for Health Transformation?

Sourcewatch says this:

Center for Health Transformation (CHT), a think tank founded in 2003 in Washington, D.C., by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich as a project of the Gingrich Group, is a for-profit consultancy and membership organization "comprised of corporations and organizations that all have a vested interest in transforming health and healthcare," its website states.

Be sure to take a look at the Sourcewatch page, especially the companies behind CHT. If you're familiar with the health care industrial complex, you'll recognize many of the names.

But what does the CHT stand for? They have a number of initiatives they're in favor of, including promotion of health savings accounts and tort reform. Basically the GOP platform. Some Unity that is.

But if Unity08 were to put together a truly bipartisan ticket, say Sharpton\Tancredo, I may change my mind...

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