first political consulting firm in 1933 and its role in health care

September 18, 2012

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.


spinning in tokyo

March 2, 2007

My nephew, Nathaniel, is in Tokyo promoting his music (TaxDAY), learning Japanese, and getting what I consider an invaluable education. He’s posted this amazing video of his friend Kochan spinning lights. I tried to find out about “spinning” but haven’t made much progress. But the video is mesmerizing — two lights swinging around in poetic, martial-arts ballet at night somewhere in a park.