Snake in the Grass?

The following is a letter just sent to the editor of the Des Moines Register. I will be talking more about The Family later…

Dear Sir

Senator Grassley needs calling to account for his outrageous statements addressed to senior citizens at his Iowa town hall meeting yesterday that they "have every right to fear" that the government will "pull the plug on grandma" as part of the proposed health care reform. It is well established that there is no such provision being proposed and that the rumor of so-called "death panels" was created by a lobbyist for the health care industry whose interests lie in tarnishing any kind of reform that threatens to diminish their excessive profiteering. If anyone is "pulling the plug" on people's health care at the moment, it is the insurance companies who deny coverage to people in need of treatment under the guise of "pre-existing conditions".

Senator Grassley has received millions of dollars in campaign donations from the health care industry over the course of his political career. According to a recent book The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power by Jeff Sharlett, he is also a member of a secretive religious cult that is very influential in Washington, DC, and believes that power and privilege belong to a chosen few and not to the whole population. The Family or Fellowship as it is also known, has recently received widespread publicity for its involvement in covering up extramarital affairs and other scandals involving some of its members, including Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina and Senator John Ensign of Nevada, and for having ties to third world dictators and oppressive regimes.

The question is: Who does Senator Grassley really represent: his corporate donors, a skewed set of political/religious beliefs, or the people of Iowa? If he cannot honestly represent the interests of the people who elected him, many of whom are desperately in need of help with rising health care costs, he should do the honorable thing and resign so that someone can replace him who has the best interests of all their constituents at heart .

Postscript: Turns out senator Grassley voted for the same provision he is so against now in the Medicare Bill of 2003, according to this entry by Amy Sullivan in the Swampland blog on Time magazine online:

"You would think that if Republicans wanted to totally mischaracterize a health care provision and demagogue it like nobody's business, they would at least pick something that the vast majority of them hadn't already voted for just a few years earlier. Because that's not just shameless, it's stupid.

Yes, that's right. Remember the 2003 Medicare prescription drug bill, the one that passed with the votes of 204 GOP House members and 42 GOP Senators? Anyone want to guess what it provided funding for? Did you say counseling for end-of-life issues and care? Ding ding ding!!"