Monday, April 22, 1996
Question: How many Republicans in Congress does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Answer: More than they've got.
If you didn't laugh at that one, here's another joke: Who's smarter than any 100 Republicans? Answer: President Clinton, Sen. Edward Kennedy and FDA Commissioner David Kessler.
And if you don't believe that one, we challenge you to prove that the president hasn't provided more hope to American cancer victims, that the senator hasn't led FDA reformers on a merry chase leading up a cul de sac, and the commissioner hasn't used his bureaucratic savvy to slice off bigger and bigger chunks of the reform agenda to his own advantage.
As the days go by, it becomes harder and harder to avoid the conclusion that something has gone wrong with FDA reform. In fact, we can provide at least four reasons why:
The coopting of the reform agenda
With its public relations campaign on cancer drug reform, the Clinton administration proved yet again that it can hijack any agenda for its own use. Even before the president began swiping one GOP position after another, one could have predicted this after watching the health care reform debate. While Clinton didn't win, he absolutely dictated the agenda in such a way that any alternative vision of health care reform could command no attention.