While the Republicans co-opt the inchoate Tea Party movement for their own purposes and pretty much defeat whatever good purpose the movement had, prominent Republicans are working alongside their Democratic rivals to increase the size and power of our government and assist its corporate overlords in making life more expensive and difficult for our citizens, and further constricting their liberties while funneling what remains of their wealth into corporate coffers.
Anybody who thinks that Obama's rival, Sen. John McCain(R) of Arizona, or any other Republican, would have done any better than Obama in protecting us from further encroachments on our freedoms or back pockets, need only consider some of the dangerous legislation now being introduced, notably the McCain-Dorgan Act, introduced last month, which will vastly expand the power of the FDA to regulate vitamins and other over-the-counter supplements.
The pharmeucetical industry and medical profession are using every legal tool at their disposal to prevent people from controlling their own health care, and have lobbied for years for more regulation of supplements, often advocating making them available by prescription only. The justification for this new bill is the existance of small amounts of "performance-enhancing" substances in some over-the-counter supplements, causing some sports figures who used these products while innocent of their contents, to be in violation of the NFL's anti-doping policy. Why the use of such supplements by sports players to give themselves a competitive edge is considered to be a matter of public concern is difficult to understand - why can't this remain a matter between the players and the NFL?
More regulation of supplements will mean much greater costs to manufacturers and higher prices for consumers. Worse, the bill is one more step along the road to total control over every substance we put in our bodies by government authorities. As it is, the ongoing war on drugs has triggered more restrictive regulation of pain-killers, with harsh punishments for physicians found in violation of draconian restrictions on the use of addictive or narcotic pain relievers, resulting in greater misery for people suffering great physical pain who cannot now obtain pain relief in the dosages necessary for real relief.
Obama has taken a tentative first step toward expanding personal liberties and ending the destructive, no-win war on drugs by ending federal raids on suppliers of medical marijuana where permitted by state law. Let's hope he takes the next step and vetos this destructive bill.