Assigned Reading: Obama-tied Firms Benefit from Health Care Push
Two firms that received $343.3 million to handle advertising for Barack Obama’s White House run last year have profited from his top priority as president by taking on his push for health-care overhaul.
One is AKPD Message and Media, the Chicago-based firm headed by David Axelrod until he left last Dec. 31 to serve as a senior adviser to the president. Axelrod was Obama’s top campaign strategist and is now helping sell the health-care plan. The other firm is Washington-based GMMB Campaign Group, where partner Jim Margolis was also an Obama strategist.
This year, AKPD and GMMB received $12 million in advertising business from Healthy Economy Now, a coalition that includes the Washington-based Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America, known as PhRMA, that is seeking to build support for a health-care overhaul, said the coalition’s spokesman, Jeremy Van Ess.
I don’t know if I can cover this any better than did the cable shows tonight, and I’m fairly certain that one of the writers will be adding something about this issue shortly. Nevertheless, that doesn’t make it any less egregious.
I’d say “shocking,” but is anyone surprised?
Actually, to be completely honest, I’m not as offended by the blatant self-dealing, conflict of interest and cronyism here–that’s to be expected with this Chicago-style White House–as I am with the hypocrisy.
For example, when George W. Bush decided to invade Iraq to oust a brutal dictator, the political left insisted that it was carefully crafted so he and Dick Cheney could benefit, financially, from their contacts in the oil industry and the latter’s ties to Halliburton. Yet, here, there’s no mention of any wrongdoing or self-dealing by Axelrod. Noooooo. That would be . . . consistent.
Nor is there any attention paid to the fact that the White House has been accusing ordinary concerned Americans attending town hall meetings of being “astroturf,” members of a faux grassroots movement organized by groups like Conservatives For Patients Rights, yet it is the White House which has returned to its organizational roots. It was Axelrod and his flunkies who sent out e-mails–including to people who didn’t want them, like me–urging union members and Obama supporters to attend at least one town meeting; It was Obama’s own “Organizing for America” group that has been bussing in supporters from outside congressional districts. And it was Obama’s own campaign ad firms which have been creating and flooding the airwaves with advertisements filled with falsehoods promoting health care reform.
The corruption and self-dealing I’ve grown accustomed to. It’s the hypocrisy that still makes me shake my head.