Senator Tom Daschle is a Special Public Policy Advisor in Alston & Bird’s Washington, D.C. office, and is a member of the Legislative and Public Policy Group. As a non-attorney, Senator Daschle focuses his services on advising the firm’s clients on issues related to all aspects of public policy with a particular emphasis on issues related to financial services, health care, energy, telecommunications and taxes. In addition, he advises on trade and international matters. He spends a substantial amount of time providing strategic and policy advice to clients in renewable energy.
With more than 25 years of service in the House of Representatives and the Senate and 10 years as Senate Democratic Leader, Senator Daschle has played an instrumental role in the development of U.S. legislative and regulatory policy.
Born in Aberdeen, South Dakota, Senator Daschle attended South Dakota State University and graduated in 1969. Following college, he served for three years as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Air Force Strategic Command. After military service, he spent five years as an aide to South Dakota Senator James Abourezk.
Don’t be distracted by the irony involved in the fact that one of his advertised specialties is taxes, and try to think of another word to describe a former congressman and Senate Majority Leader who is a non-lawyer working for a big downtown Washington law firm (in the Atlantic Building on F Street, which is like a classier version of nearby K Street), which functions, in the words of its website, “helping clients transition the gap from the development of legislation, public policy and regulations to implementation.”
Let’s think now. What would that word be?
How about: Bob Dole?
Well, yes, Bob Dole, whose ringing endorsement of the Daschle nomination is being widely cited as an example of nonpartisan noblesse, is also a Special Counsel at Alston + Bird, helping clients get it up to speed on the major issues of the day.
But, technically, Bob Dole counts as two words.
So put your thinking cap back on and concentrate on finding the one word that describes a former congressman and Senate Majority Leader who is a non-lawyer working for a big downtown Washington law firm (in the Atlantic Building on F Street, which is like a classier version of K Street), which functions, in the words of one of its partners, “helping clients transition the gap from the development of legislation, public policy and regulations to implementation.”
How about: lobbyist?
If you want to examine an alternative view of the Washington power team of Daschle and Daschle (the Senator’s wife is a registered lobbyist), consider the combination of anger, frustration, indignation, invective, and, ultimately, resignation, expressed by Salon’s Glenn Greenwald, Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi, and Washington Monthly’s Stephanie Mencimer — not exactly your right wingnut amen corner.
But in picking Daschle — who as an adviser to the K Street law firm Alston and Bird has spent the last four years burning up the sheets with the nation’s fattest insurance and pharmaceutical interests — Obama is essentially announcing that he has no intention of seriously reforming the health care industry. And I know that lots of public policy people are hailing this pick, saying Daschle is perfect for the job (“His new leadership position confirms that the incoming Obama administration has made health care reform a top and early priority for action in 2009,” Ron Pollack, the director of Families USA, told reporters), but when they say that I think they mean the following: “Out of all the bought-off Washington whores who could have been given this job, Daschle is the best one. His fake reform will go the farthest in its approximation of actual action than the fake reform of any other possible whore-candidate.” Actually that probably sums up the ideological profile of Obama quite well generally — but that’s another story.
Regarding Daschle, remember, we’re talking about a guy who not only was a consultant for one of the top health-care law firms in the country, but a board member of the Mayo Clinic (a major recipient of NIH grants) and the husband of one of America’s biggest defense lobbyists — wife Linda Hall lobbies for Lockheed-Martin and Boeing. Does anyone really think that this person is going to come up with a health care proposal that in any way cuts into the profits of the major health care companies?