Democratic Underground

When was the last time you heard about the 'medical malpractice crisis' at a bar?

January 8, 2005
By Dan Gougherty

While on a recent visit to my birth state of Michigan, I came upon my late father's last favorite watering hole, appropriately called "Drinks Saloon." In this shot-and-beer joint you are as likely to have shift workers from an auto plant next to you as you are a used car salesman.

In desperate need of a drink after visiting family for over a week, and to honor the old man's memory, I had my nephew Brian, who was taking me to the airport for my return to California, make a quick detour for a couple of cold ones.

After bellying up to the bar, Brian and I chatted about the usual things - the Tsunami, the war in Iraq, the economy, Michigan's loss to Texas in the Rose Bowl and the sad state of the Detroit Lions. During this time I heard several other side conversations that echoed ours as well as the state of the auto industry, jobs and local politics.

But I did not hear one iota of what the Bush administration claims to be the biggest threat to the American way of life. I am not talking about the need to privatize Social Security, rather the other threat-to-life-as-we-know-it-in-the-21st-century, medical malpractice reform.

In fact I can attest to the fact that after thirty years of extensive research at fine establishments like 'Drinks' all across this place we call America, I have never heard this conversation brought up. I have heard arguments about everything from sports to existentialism, but I swear on a case of Stroh's Bohemian, I have never heard any self-respecting lounge lizard talk about the threat of frivolous lawsuits.

Of course to listen to Bush, the average American is as much threatened by terrorists as they are by trial attorneys. But as any student of propaganda knows, if you repeat a lie or distortion with enough frequency, it soon becomes fact. Tell the people the reason they don't have access to health care is not because Bush is protecting his cronies in the insurance industry, but rather it is those Armani-suit-Gucci-shoe-wearing trial attorneys representing slackers out to make a quick buck.

Of course the real reason Bush is pursuing this anti-trial attorney agenda is not to help control health care costs, rather it is to punish and strangle the Democrats. Trial attorneys, who should more accurately be called consumer attorneys, are a major contributor to Democratic coffers.

Kill a major source of funding and you effectively strangle a political party. Money is after all the mothers milk of politics. Like it or not, this how our system works.

So the next time Bush claims trial attorneys are a threat, don't believe it. It is just a way to consolidate power and squeeze liberals. If you don't believe me, just visit your local bar and listen for yourself.

Visit Dan Gougherty's blog at

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