Published in The New Yorker (24 Sept. 2012), Jill Lepore’s The Lie Factory: How Politics Became a Business is the kind of article we need more of. Lepore details the first political consulting firm, Campaigns, Inc., founded in 1933, and offers a chronology of battles including the defeat of two health care insurance programs: Earl Warren’s (governor of CA — his program was defeated in 1945) and Harry Truman’s (the President’s program was defeated in 1952). For some historical perspective, here’s Lepore on the defeat of Truman’s plan:
Whitaker and Baxter’s campaign against Harry Truman’s national-health-insurance proposal cost the A.M.A. nearly five million dollars, and it took more than three years. But they turned the President’s sensible, popular, and urgently needed legislative reform into a bogeyman so scary that, even today, millions of Americans are still scared.
Lepore’s piece offers excellent research and much-needed historical background to our current landscape of super pacs and health care rhetoric.