David McKalip, whose racist email showing President Obama dressed as a witch doctor triggered a barrage of outrage, has worked closely in recent weeks with one of the leading organized efforts to stop health-care reform.
After we posted McKalip’s racist email yesterday, he sent a message to several online discussion groups attacking what he saw as “race baiting by Obama camp” and accusing TPM of “painting me as a racist.” In addition to the Tea Party group to which he had sent the original image, that second message also went to an address for a discussion group run by Conservatives for Patients Rights, the prominent anti-reform group founded and bankrolled by multimillionaire former hospital CEO Rick Scott, and spotlighted in May by the Washington Post.
McKalip has other ties to CPR. Just last week, he wrote a report “from the front line,” on the state of play over health-care reform, which was posted on CPR’s website.
And CPR and the Tea Party movement appear to have been working closely together as well. Just today, a CPR staffer sent out an email to Tea Party activists — obtained by TPMmuckraker — listing upcoming congressional townhalls on healthcare.
What’s the significance of all these ties? For one thing, they point up how close are the connections within the anti-reform movement between fringe activists unwilling to denounce racism, like the Tea Partiers, and supposedly respectable corporatist supporters of the staus quo, like Scott and CPR. One might put McKalip somewhere in the middle.
Not that Scott’s respectable rep is well-deserved. He’s generally seen as the prime mover behind the transformation of the American health-care system into a profit-above-all-else business, and just over a decade ago he was ousted from the hospital company he founded amid a fraud investigation. The company eventually paid a record $1.7 billion in fines.
A spokesman for CPR did not immediately respond to a call from TPMmuckraker requesting comment on the group’s ties to McKalip and the Tea Partiers.