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Left-Right synergy that could have been

This is not the time to be talking about Left-Right alliances. I know. But this piece by Kevin Drum got my attention. He’s responding to the fact that asthma inhalers are very expensive because of the way pharmaceutical companies have gamed intellectual patent law. Here’s Drum:

In other words, pharmaceutical companies didn’t just take advantage of this situation, they actively worked to create this situation. Given the minuscule impact of CFC-based inhalers on the ozone layer, it’s likely that an exception could have been agreed to if pharmaceutical companies hadn’t lobbied so hard to get rid of them. The result is lower-quality inhalers and fantastically higher profits for Big Pharma.

As someone with asthma I have kept track of this issue more than most. There’s someone else who pointed out how ridiculuous banning CFC-based inhalers was in light of their trivial contribution, Sen. Jim DeMint aims to overturn inhaler ban:

“It’s a stupid regulation,” DeMint told POLITICO. “It’s just one more example of just out of control regulation that’s harming the quality of life for Americans.”

DeMint argues the inhaler emits just a tiny fraction of chlorofluorocarbons.

While Republicans especially have gone after a series of Obama administration EPA and other regulations this Congress, the FDA rule actually traces back to the George W. Bush administration.

FDA began public discussions about the use of CFCs in epinephrine inhalers in January 2006 and finalized the phase-out for using CFCs in the inhalers in November 2008. It is part of the U.S. commitment under the international Montreal Protocol agreement that aims to reduce ozone-depleting substances.

Many inhaler manufacturers are now using a more environmentally friendly propellant called hydrofluoroalkane. Primatene Mist — marketed by Armstrong Pharmaceutical Inc. — is the only FDA approved inhaler for relieving mild asthma that is sold over-the-counter without a prescription.

FDA last month said there are “many other safe and effective inhalers to treat asthma symptoms,” which would require a prescription.

In general I agree with those conservatives who believe that the Republicans have been emphasizing style over substance recently. But it’s a reminder that people like DeMint on the “Far Right” have who adhere to principle over pragmatism can sometimes surprise those Left critics would argue that Republican populism is always a facade.



DeMint Speaks!

Minority Jim speaks out:

“People are beginning to see that there’s no way we can pay the interest on our debt and every week, we’re borrowing money to pay the debt we have and are creating new programs that are costing more money,” he said. “Hopefully in 2012, we’ll make headway to repeal some of the things we’ve done, because politics only works when we’re realigned with our Savior.”

Well, fair enough about the spending, but quite where “our Savior” comes into it, I’m not sure.

And then there’s this:

DeMint said if someone is openly homosexual, they shouldn’t be teaching in the classroom and he holds the same position on an unmarried woman who’s sleeping with her boyfriend — she shouldn’t be in the classroom.

Good grief.




DeMint’s Choice

One reason that Delaware’s best-known GOP candidate will have such a mountain to climb in the general election is the emergence of fresh embarrassments like these comments (via New York magazine today) from a 1996 debate on whether creationism should be taught alongside evolution:

CHRISTINE O’DONNELL, Concerned Women for America: Well, as the senator from Tennessee mentioned, evolution is a theory and it’s exactly that. There is not enough evidence, consistent evidence to make it as fact, and I say that because for theory to become a fact, it needs to consistently have the same results after it goes through a series of tests. The tests that they put — that they use to support evolution do not have consistent results. Now too many people are blindly accepting evolution as fact. But when you get down to the hard evidence, it’s merely a theory.

Yes, but…Oh, never mind. Well, how about creationism, then?

CHRISTINE O’DONNELL: Well, creationism, in essence, is believing that the world began as the Bible in Genesis says, that God created the Earth in six days, six 24-hour periods. And there is just as much, if not more, evidence supporting that.

Okey dokey.

You can bet your bottom taxpayer dollar that O’Donnell’s Democratic opponent will do everything that he can to keep voters focussed on the Republican candidate’s more exotic, uh, issues. After all, it sure beats talking about government bloat, rising taxation, a faltering recovery and all the rest of those topics that the Democrats would much rather avoid.

And we can also be sure that O’Donnell’s triumph has made it easier to portray Republicans elsehere in a similar light.

As I said, DeMint’s choice.

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First Carter, Now O’Donnell

The New York Times’ op-ed page is generally not to be taken too seriously when it comes to the topic of Republican candidates, and this particular detail about Christine O’Donnell, the challenger in Delaware’s upcoming GOP primary may, in the greater scheme of things, be trivial, but it is certainly striking:

One of the most notable things on her political résumé is her well-publicized position against masturbation. (“The Bible says that lust in your heart is committing adultery. So you can’t masturbate without lust.”)

Good heavens.

O’Donnell was endorsed on Friday by Senator “Minority Jim” DeMint. Of course she was.

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Pur et Dur

As (effectively) a call for unity among America’s conservatives the “Mount Vernon Statement” is, on the whole, fairly anodyne stuff. Fair enough. If there is to be any chance of defeating Obama in 2012 the various tribes of the right will have to work together. 

But then senior Republican Senator Jim DeMint came up with this:

A prominent conservative senator said that Washington political leaders should “be replaced” if they do not back a document of conservative principles signed Wednesday. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) deemed it necessary that politicians endorse the Mount Vernon Statement, a document outlining a vision of “constitutional conservatism” backed by a number of right-wing activists.

This is the same DeMint who once said this:

“I would rather have 30 Republicans in the Senate who really believe in principles of limited government, free markets, free people, than to have 60 that don’t have a set of beliefs.”

To (shamelessly) quote myself from last year:

 If it comes to a choice, I’d rather have 60 Republicans in the Senate, however squishy some of the views of some in their ranks, than 60 Democrats who are all certain of theirs. Anyone who truly believes in limited government ought to understand that voting against can be as valid as voting for. If it takes a few Specters [That was then] to see off a Democratic majority, so be it. 

 As for the idea that reducing the GOP to a rump of true believers (whatever that might actually mean: there are plenty on the right who interpret the terms “limited government” and “free people” in very different ways) is the essential first step in a Republican restoration, it is, I am afraid, a bad mistake. Wildernesses are, almost always, for losers.


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