Don't expect this humble blogger to explain Donald Trump's broad and sustained GOP support, if our most seasoned political pundits are flummoxed. Why is this man with no prior political or governmental experience trumping all of his competitors?
Is he ahead because he is right on, or is he leading because the competitors are way off?
Like most folks, the conventional politicians are by and large an uninspiring lot who offer scripted screeds that are canned and calculated. Indeed, most political junkies like me can almost orate their stump speeches, since they vary little from speech to speech.
The conventional candidates often rail against “special interests,” a pejorative term that conjures up an evil group that is possessed by greed that tramples over the public good to serve themselves. I challenge you to identify a candidate who has not spewed vitriol against these nefarious ‘special interests'. When they do so, the audience reliably responds with loud applause.
Of course, this is pure political pandering. Here's why. Special interests are not a dark and ominous cloud hovering over us ready to thrust a bolt of lightning impaling us. We all are special interests. Every one of us either belongs to or supports one of them.
• My beloved first grade teacher Mrs. White belonged to a teacher's union. Is she a special interest?
• Is the letter carrier who delivers mail to my house a special interest?
• My accountant prepares my taxes. I pay him for this service. Does he have a special interest to resist tax reform?
• Are NRA members and gun control advocates special interests who are trying to further their agendas?
• Is Emily's List a special interest?
• Is the Sierra Club a special interest?
• Are trial attorneys who donate millions of dollars to politicians to pursue good government or are they a special interest?
• Aren't corporations allowed to advocate for their special interests like the rest of us?
If you carve out all of the special interests, who's left?
When politicians speak of special interests, they identify them specifically. If they were to name them, they would alienate many voters who support them. Politicians want voters to believe that the special interests being targeted are other voters' interests, not theirs.
Is the medical profession a special interest? You'd better believe it. We are gluttons feeding at the special interest trough. Physicians, pharmacists, pharmaceutical companies, hospital administrators, medical device companies, nursing home owners, home care companies and medical insurance companies all have their own interests which may collide against the public interest. For example, there may be many reasons why a particular artificial hip is used in a hospital. Why are only certain heartburn medicines available on hospital formularies? Similar questions can be asked of every medical specialty or hospital. Get my point?
Who's looking out for the patients? What special interest is advocating for them?
This post by Michael Kirsch, MD, FACP, appeared at MD Whistleblower. Dr. Kirsch is a full time practicing physician and writer who addresses the joys and challenges of medical practice, including controversies in the doctor-patient relationship, medical ethics and measuring medical quality. When he's not writing, he's performing colonoscopies.