Whiners and Winners

Republicans tend to get flustered when it comes to picking a candidate. It seems to be a much easier task for Democrats (“Would a dead person vote for this candidate?”). I admit that I struggle a bit myself; however, it usually doesn’t take long before the choice is apparent.

Consider the crybabies (hereafter referred to as Gingrich and Santorum) that we had in the race. Their campaigns amounted to little more than complaining that the Romney campaign wasn’t playing fair. Because, as we all know, it will be a clean fight once our supreme leader, President Barack Obama (mmm, mmm, mmm), gets involved. I hate the dirt and vitriol in politics. I wish we could have a clean debate. The fact of the matter is that the left cannot win a fair debate and they have to resort to throwing sand in the eyes and then kicking the groin. It’s dirty but it wins elections.

Romney seems to be the only candidate that is willing to go head-to-head with Obama. What’s more, I believe he can do it without sacrificing ethics or principle. He may have hit hard in the primaries but I never heard anything that was fallacious. On the other hand, Newt built his campaign almost exclusively on fallacy. Newt was the Republican candidate most like Obama. He is smart, he portrayed himself as something he is not and he fought a dirty fight. I expect that Romney’s campaign style will be equally effective against Obama.

If the promise of a good fight isn’t enough to convince you that Romney is the man, then consider the whining and bellyaching that came from the presumptive losers. Both Santorum and Gingrich looked like children at the store that didn’t get the toy they wanted. The only thing that was missing was the footstomp and the refusal to cooperate until they got their way. Their concessions told us immediately that we made the right decision. I never liked Gingrich, but I wanted to give Santorum a chance. Unfortunately, it became obvious far too quickly that Santorum was not the one to put against Obama. It won’t be long before we know for sure whether that person is Romney.

On another note, I finally realized what Ron Paul’s supporters have in common: they’re all crazier than he is. If that’s possible.

Class-action Lawyers, Blah, Blah, BLAH…

I thought that with my last post I was done with the trial lawyer thing, but then I started wondering again. Why do trial lawyers support Democrat candidates so disproportionately? Do they truly believe in the liberal/progressive cause? Or are they simply investing their money where they think they’ll get the most return?

It seems that these firms advertise on Fox News in a huge way. In fact, with the exception of the local attorneys that I’ve mentioned, all the lawyers I’ve listed are advertisers on Fox News (I’ve got a few more to add at the end of this post). If you can believe what the reporters and politicians say, Fox News is the equivalent of the devil. Or maybe Rush Limbaugh is the devil and Fox News is hell. If that’s true, then where does Glenn Beck fit in? I don’t know how it all works, but Fox News is supposed to be bad (although I’m convinced that anyone who demonizes Fox News has never actually watched it). Do these firms also advertise on MSNBC or CNN?

I was further annoyed by Harry Reid’s response to a message I sent him. In my message I expressed my concern that Washington seems hellbent on passing a strange health care bill but they aren’t doing anything to stop the bleeding when it comes to job loss. I also mentioned that in regard to health care I consider tort reform to be a legitimate problem – much more so than the issues addressed in the bill. He seems to be avoiding legitimate problems while focusing on things that are just not critical right now. Finally, I demanded that he consider the voice of the people and discontinue his support of the current Democrat health care proposals. As always, in his response he just explained to me why I’m wrong and why he’s right. In part his message said this:

Proponents of tort reform link the rising costs of premiums for medical malpractice insurance to the rising cost of personal and group policy health insurance and assert that limiting punitive damage awards could significantly reduce the costs of health care. Critics of tort reform note that caps on punitive damages at the state level have been wholly ineffective in reducing the cost of malpractice insurance and have only served to enrich insurance companies. Furthermore, because medical malpractice suits result in less than one percent 1% of total health care costs, tort reform would do little to lower the overall cost of health care.

Just once I would like to get a response that says something like, “I value your opinion and will absolutely make it part of my consideration.” It will never happen, though.

Why would Harry Reid support tort reform? According to OpenSecrets.org, four of the top 20 donors for his 2010 campaign are trial attorney groups that would certainly be negatively impacted by tort reform. The second ranked donor is none other than Weitz & Luxenberg, a group that was previously featured here. Counting donations only from trial attorney groups in the top 20 (Weitz & Luxenberg, Simmons Cooper LLC, Waters & Kraus and Cooney & Conway), Harry Reid has received $203,800. In other words, about .22% of his donors contributed more than 7.6% of his current donations. All four firms specialize in asbestos/mesothelioma litigation. There are several more firms in the top 100 and I’m sure even more among the more than 1,800 donors. So, Harry Reid is clearly beholden to a bunch of shady lawyers that aren’t even located in Nevada while openly rebelling against the people who put him in office.

As a comparison, I looked up the same information for John Ensign. I could not find one trial attorney group among the top 100.

I don’t know if I’ll ever have answers to my questions. In the meantime, here is more campaign contribution information for attorneys I’ve seen advertising on TV.

First, Baron and Budd. Steve Baron donated $6600 to – that’s right – John Edwards between 2004 and 2007. He also donated $4600 each to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, $2300 to Joe Biden and a whopping $29,500 to the DNC.

Russell Budd was even more generous. Again, $6600 to John Edwards between 2004 and 2007 with similar contributions to the other candidates. He gave $25,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2007 and $43,500(!) to the DNC in 2004. It used to be a free country, so I say use your money however you want. On the other hand, how many jobs could have been created with this money? Heck, give me the money and I’ll campaign for the candidates of your choice full time. The check should be for $133,900 (total contributions from 2004 to present). Or you can pay me cash under the table – I think that’s how Democrats work, isn’t it? But I digress.

Next is Adam Pulaski of Pulaski & Middleman. Of course, Mr. Pulaski donated to John Edwards, but it was a measly $1000 in 2004. More interestingly, he also gave a small donation to Ciresi for Senate. Mike Ciresi, of course, is the trial lawyer that was involved in the “big tobacco” class-action lawsuit. The one where he and his firm were thoroughly enriched through arguably devious methods. Strangely, Pulaski also donated a total of $7130 to Lindsey Graham in 2008. Why he would make a donation to a Republican senator from another state seems odd to me. This is certainly something I’m interested in researching further.

David Middleman of Pulaski & Middleman gave only a small $500 donation to Mike Ciresi in 2007. If it’s quality and not quantity that matter, then consider that the only money he donated went to a scummy trial attorney from another state.

As a side note, considering that Ciresi suddenly found himself with painful gobs of cash he seems to be pretty stingy with his money. He gave $1750 to a Minnesota congressman and $2300 to Hillary Clinton. Someone needs to ‘splain to him the rules.

I saved the least interesting for last. I couldn’t go on and on about these attorneys without mentioning Fox News mainstay Binder & Binder. You may remember Charles Binder. He wears a hat:

Charles Binder of Binder & Binder

Charles Binder of Binder & Binder

It seems that most of his donations are for local people, but when he supported a presidential candidate he went for John Kerry (woo!). Same goes for Harry Binder. Each made a $2000 donation to John Kerry – nothing else too remarkable otherwise. There was a large donation to the DNC by a Charles Binder, but I couldn’t confirm this was the same person. BUT, Charles Binder has a program on Air America, so that should be entered into evidence. I’m not sure whether this firm technically counts since they specialize in dealing with the Social Security Administration. I’m inclined to call this business legitimate, but I”ll let you make the call.

Sorry – lots of words and nothing very interesting. I hope I’m done with this subject. Something new next time – I promise.

Class-action Health Care

Last month I pondered on Obamacare and mentioned that we should be addressing the legal issues with health care rather than revamping the entire medical system. I was thinking about this again yesterday and a question came to mind: why don’t progressives want to touch tort reform? Of course, it seems that all politicians are unwilling to tackle tort reform; however, the Democrats are in total control with our supreme leader, President Barack Obama, at the helm. Thus, the question falls squarely on them.

No answer is necessary. It didn’t take long for me to figure it out for myself.

Have you ever seen the TV commercials about mesothelioma, asbestos exposure or side-effects caused by any of a million different medications? It’s almost always the same handful of lawyers – James G. Sokolove seems to be the most common. I have always considered these people to be among the lowest of lifeforms on the planet. So, when dealing with health care reform, I began to wonder why the Democrats don’t address attorneys who keep health care costs high through malpractice lawsuits and other class-action lawsuits. I looked up some contribution information for the first law offices that came to mind. Of course, Sokolove was an obvious choice. I also looked at Reich and Binstock since they’ve been advertising lately. I wasn’t surprised by what I found.

First, Sokolove is based in Massachusetts and contributes a LOT of money to political causes. His contributions include $8,600 to John Edwards for his 2008 presidential bid. This is on top of a $28,500 contribution to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. He also had some smaller contributions to people like Mike Ciresi, most famous for his role in suing “big tobacco” where his firm collected at least $440 million in fees. Sokolove also donated $25,000 to the DNC leading up to the 2004 elections, in addition to at least $2,250 for John Edwards. It seems that Sokolove was donating thousands more to Edwards through family members, but that involves some speculation outside the scope of the current subject.

Next I looked at Dennis Reich of Reich and Binstock. His contributions were far more modest, but would you like to guess who has received his money in the past? Of course, John Edwards received a $1,000 donation for his 2004 presidential bid. Quite measly compared to the $5,000 he gave to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the $4,600 donation to Hillary Clinton leading up the the 2008 election.

Finally, I looked at Robert Binstock of Reich and Binstock. Shockingly, he gave $2,000 to John Edwards for his 2008 bid. He has also donated to other Democrat lawyers running for public office.

I’m all for anyone supporting anyone they want. The issue is that one of the biggest problems facing our country is rampant abuse of our legal system. Unfortunately, it seems that the people causing the problem are also the same people financing the party in power. The obvious solution, tort reform, is off the table because that would alienate a core constituency for the Democrats. The trial lawyers are supporting each other and working to elevate each other to positions of power. To take someone who abuses the law and put them them in a position where they are writing law seems to be a bad idea…

Almost as bad as putting a community organizer in the White House.

Just for the record, I am continuing to look into the subject and will gladly report any similar circumstances among Republicans. If you have useful information about this subject please feel free to contact me or post a comment. I collected information from a variety of sources, but was able to find corroborating information at http://fundrace.huffingtonpost.com/.