Tags: Legal | Cancer | the | White | House???

Legal Cancer in the White House???

Monday, 09 February 2004 12:00 AM

And therein lies the crime.

Senator Edwards presents himself as just your basic "aw shucks" country boy made good, first in his family to go to college, that kind of thing. He also presents himself as a crusader for the little guys, a fearless attorney who took on the Interests and won.

He did indeed take on the Interests. And he won. During his career as a trial attorney, he won over $60 million for himself and his little-guy clients via medical malpractice suits. According to public records, nearly half of the $14.5 million Senator Edwards raised in campaign contributions as of last September came from trial lawyers, their wives, their firms and the American Trial Lawyers Association.

We do not contend that there is anything illegal here. We simply suggest that we might wish to think twice about whether we want a trial lawyer and his friends in the White House.

Not so long ago, law and medicine had one thing in common. Both were "learned professions" in which practitioners could expect to live comfortably, but not get rich. No more. While some lawyers like Edwards get very rich, physicians have watched their incomes diminish for decades.

Some of the loss has to do with their transition from independent businessmen to salaried employees, some to insurance company and government-imposed limits on payments. But much of it is caused by ruinous malpractice insurance premiums. These have resulted in physicians by the tens of thousands either refusing to perform certain procedures or getting out of medicine entirely.

Senator Edwards may indeed have fought for the little guys. But his wealth represents not justice but money sucked out of the health-care system by class-action lawsuits, contingent fees (the lawyer gets a percentage of the settlement) and lunatic punitive damage awards. His greatest success is his contribution to the destruction of America's health-care system.

Now, in an unblushing display of "chutzpah," he campaigns and complains about the health-care system he helped rob and ruin.

Nor is he content with merely attacking medicine via lawsuits. While we're on the subject of lawyers in government, there's another aspect of the problem, not often noticed.

There is, of course, nothing new about lawyers going into politics. But at all levels of government, an increasing percentage of these types have backgrounds as former prosecutors, whether local DAs and assistant DAs or federal prosecutors. And while the office of prosecutor is a necessary and honorable one, it engenders a mindset in which the goal is to "get" people.

So, what we have here is not just lawyers in high elective office, but a growing tandem of the two most vicious kinds - lawyers out to enrich themselves by extorting the system, and lawyers who made their reputations by racking up the convictions.

It should scare you that the lawyers - and trial lawyers in particular - who have invaded and sued to death every aspect of your life now want to rule the White House. In their lawsuits dealing with the right to be born, right not to be born, right to die and right not to die they now dictate your entire life from the "twinkle" to inception to after you are 6 feet under.

In the Sunday, Feb. 1, 2004, edition of the Sacramento Bee, "Lawyers top Edwards' list of supporters," Greg Gordon writes, "... Edwards' campaign refuses donations from lobbyists and political action committees, ... Edwards' heavy support from plaintiffs' attorneys comes as Bush and GOP congressional leaders are crusading for so-called tort reform that would limit noneconomic damages and reduce multimillion-dollar jury awards in injury suits. During five years in the Senate, Edwards has opposed those efforts."

How predictably slick and sly it is for Edwards to conveniently ignore his special interests. If the American Bar Association, the American Trial Lawyers Association, nearly 1 million lawyers and almost 60,000 trial lawyers are not one of the nation's largest lobby groups, what are they?

Gordon further writes: "It is an issue likely to stay near the surface. Of the $14.5 million Edwards raised through Sept. 30, at least $6.7 million came from lawyers, according to an analysis of campaign finance reports by Dwight L. Morris and Associates. ... Law firms account for eight of the Edwards campaign's top 10 sources of money. ..."

In "Our Edwardian Healthcare System," by Sydney Smith, Jan. 5, 2004 (http://www.techcentralstation.com/020504B.html) the writer concludes, "... if John Edwards is sincere about championing quality healthcare and reducing frivolous lawsuits ... he couldn't find a better blueprint for everything in the system that needs to be changed than that offered by his legal career."

On a lighter note, if you believe in astrology there is another reason not to elect Edwards. In a Feb. 3, 2004, New York Times op ed, "The Stars Have Voted," Erin Sullivan provides horoscopes for the Democratic candidates.

"John Edwards, born on June 10, 1953, is a Gemini with the Moon in Gemini. There is much in his horoscope that makes him the puer aeternus, the eternal boy. ... However, his chart shows him to be a true son of the messenger and trickster god, and so capable of exceptional dualism. ..."

Just what we need - another legal trickster in the White House, where he can do even more damage.

So in sum, we need a trial lawyer, like John Edwards, in the White House like you need an extra double contrast study of the colon to find a cancer!

Voters are beginning to understand that trial lawyers in elected public offices are bad for their life, liberty and health.

Michael Arnold Glueck, M.D., is a multiple-award-winning writer who comments on medical-legal issues. Robert J. Cihak, M.D., is a past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.

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And therein lies the crime. Senator Edwards presents himself as just your basic "aw shucks" country boy made good, first in his family to go to college, that kind of thing. He also presents himself as a crusader for the little guys, a fearless attorney who took on the...
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Monday, 09 February 2004 12:00 AM
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