The AARP and the GOPFor the fifth time here - if what's being said by AARP's members at their official message board or the outing of AARP's polling procedures have any merit, I wouldn't paint the country red just yet, Mark. America's seniors are more than just a little pissed at this affair.
This time, leading Democrats on Capitol Hill (who had gratefully welcomed the organization's endorsement of the1994 Clinton health care plan) condemned the AARP for "being in the pocket of the House Republican leadership," and much worse, because the AARP endorsed and went to work in behalf of the GOP-crafted Medicare prescription drug bill.
Forget all the purple prose comparing the AARP, unfavorably, to Benedict Arnold or Judas Iscariot. As John Feehry, spokesman for House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., put it, "The AARP is the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval when it comes to seniors' issues."
This is also a major political coup for the Bush administration, congressional Republicans and for Hastert, who according to colleagues, has for two years been courting the seniors' organization.
As the president of the AARP said in explaining his organization's support for the GOP drug legislation, "Our interests are what is best for our members and all older Americans." Sorry, no room in there for anybody else but old number one.
Still, if these strange political bedfellows -- the AARP and George Bush's GOP -- can in collaboration produce a long-sought law to provide prescription drug coverage to senior citizens, the political fallout will be profound. And any way you look at it, the immediate and inescapable verdict will be a Republican victory and a Democratic defeat.
Monday, November 24
The GOP Is Benefitting From Drugs: The Ones Used To Write Columns Like This
Another expert who doesn't check facts speaks up. CNN's Mark Shields:
Posted by Howard Hoffman at 10:50 AM