As Jonah Goldberg writes, building on themes he explored in-depth in his must-read Liberal Fascism, “One of the great frustrations of the libertarian-minded Right is how Republicans got stuck being ‘the party of big business'”:
This identification allows self-described progressive Democrats to run against big business when they are in fact in bed with the fat cats.
For instance, the standard line from the Democrats is that the plutocrats and corporate mustache-twirlers oppose health-care reform because, in President Obama’s words, they “profit financially or politically from the status quo.” That sounds reasonable, and in some cases it is reasonable. But it makes it sound as if Obama is bravely battling “malefactors of great wealth.”
But that’s not really how it works, as Timothy Carney documents in his powerful new book, Obamanomics. In 2008, Obama raked in more donations from the health sector than John McCain and the rest of the Republican field combined. Drug makers gave Obama $3.58 for every dollar they gave McCain. Pfizer gave to Obama at a 4–1 rate, as did the hospital and nursing-home industries. In 2008, the insurance industry gave more money to House Democrats than House Republicans. HMOs give to Democrats over Republicans by a margin of 60 to 40.
So far, the health-care industry has mostly been trying to cut insider deals with the government, not fighting to defend the status quo. Discussions between Big Pharma and the White House have been more like pillow talk than a shouting match.
This pattern is hardly unique to health care. The U.S. Climate Action Partnership, led by GE, includes many other Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs — the company that has profited mightily from Obama’s brand of hope and change. CAP is an aggressive supporter of the Democrats’ climate-change scheme. Why? Because GE and friends stand to make billions from carbon pricing, thanks largely to investments in technologies that cannot survive in a free market without massive subsidies from Uncle Sam. GE chief Jeffrey Immelt cheerleads big government as “an industry policy champion, a financier, and a key partner.”
And last week, Brian L. Robert, the CEO of Comcast, the corporation that GE is about to hand NBC over wrote a public letter in favor of ObamaCare — which, heaven forfend, just might have a nuance of an aurora of a penumbra of influence on how his company’s news division will report on the continued government takeover of that sector of the economy.