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ThoughtsOnline

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


So Barak Obama is attacking on Hillary Clinton over her taking money from lobbyists...

Given that the term (and profession) 'lobbyist' is viewed in such an ugly way, that it is a profession not readily admitted to in outside-the-Beltway audiences, I wonder just how clueless people really are about how their interests are advanced and protected on Capitol Hill. Do people not realize that for everything they are interested in, whether it is low taxes, keeping abortion legal, the environment and so on, there is a lobbyist (and probably more than one) working to advance that interest?

Do people not realize that the organizations they belong to - the labor union, Planned Parenthood, the NRA, Common Cause, AARP, People for the American Way and so on - all have lobbyists (yes, plural) whose sole job it is to roam the halls of Congress looking for ears to bend on why this or that legislation should proceed (or, in some cases, be killed)?

Do people not realize that the companies they work for, and the companies they've invested in their 401(k)s, all have lobbyists (yes, plural) roaming the halls of Congress looking for sympathetic ears?

Do people not realize that the states (and cities, if they're large enough) they live in have lobbyists in Washington roaming the halls of Congress looking to pass along to Congressmen and Senators suggestions?

Do people not realize that lobbyists are a great way for people to efficiently communicate to Congress? Do people not realize that lobbyists, especially those who represent a large membership, can get access to places that individual citizens could never hope to see?

I'm reminded that just as 'office politics' is what other people do to you, and never represents what you do to someone else (you get ahead on talent and hard work, others get ahead by brown-nosing, making you look bad and so on), 'lobbyist' is never a euphemism for someone that represents your interests, it's only used - and disparagingly so - to refer to someone who is working against something you want.