Monday, May 19, 2008

New Republican Slogan Boosts Drug

The new slogan of the Republican Party, which they have been using for about two weeks, is taken from an antidepressant drug. “The Change You Deserve” is widely associated with the drug Effexor, as a trademark that has been used in the drug’s advertising.

Democrats and political pundits think this is hilarious, and even Republicans are joking about the way Republican policies might lead people to think they need an antidepressant, but after you stop laughing, this situation is deeply troubling. The Republicans, like U.S. politicians generally, get the biggest chunk of their funding from the pharmaceutical industry. If they have decided to return the favor by using their political literature to promote a product of that industry by repeating its well-known slogan, then we must ask what has become of the Republican Party. There are serious questions to be asked:

  • Was the new Republican slogan specifically paid for?
  • How much money from Wyeth, the manufacturer of Effexor, has gone to the Republican party and Republican candidates?
  • Is anything about this arrangement a violation of campaign finance laws?
  • Is the Republican party in such dire financial condition that they need a drug company’s advertising money?

It is possible that the Republicans’ choice of a slogan that happens to come from the industry that has provided their strongest financial support in recent decades is an innocent coincidence. Of course it’s possible. But it certainly doesn’t seem likely. We have seen politicians and industry taking care of each other before. It’s an all-too-familiar scene that has long since passed the point where you can dismiss it as a coincidence.