Thursday, August 17, 2006

K Street Jobs for Democrats

I have mixed emotions about this news from the Washington Post:
Washington lobbying firms, trade associations and corporate offices are moving to hire more well-connected Democrats in response to rising prospects that the opposition party will wrest control of at least one chamber of Congress from Republicans in the November elections.

[...]in recent months, many of Washington's top lobbyists said in interviews that their decision-making has been altered by an emerging consensus among election experts that the Democrats will boost their numbers in the House and the Senate in the midterm elections Nov. 7 and have a strong shot of winning a majority in the House.

As a result, the job market for Democrats has expanded, and the K Street Project -- shorthand for efforts by Republican lawmakers and lobbyists to pressure corporations and trade groups to hire GOP lobbyists only -- has faded away.

Regaining seats and restoring balance to government would be a good thing. However, the whole reason lobbyists exist is because they need someone - Republican, Democrat, Independent, it doesn't matter who - to influence Washington lawmakers on their behalf. Will Democrat lobbyists be different from Tom DeLay, Cunningham and that bunch - or will they serve Big Money interests over those of the majority of Americans? Only time will tell.

Top Democrats have been calling for honest leadership and accountability, and they announced the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, a comprehensive government reform plan aimed at cleaning up and protecting the government from the Republican culture of corruption and quid pro quo politics. These are goals most Americans favor. The Democrats would be wise to remember that going forward. It's not enough to just talk the talk, they'd better be prepared to walk the walk too. The people will be watching.


Lew Scannon said...

If the Dems go for this bait then it's time to dump both parties and start one focusing on the other 90% of Americans.

abi said...

I know what you're saying, but I'm not conflicted about this at all - paid lobbying should be outlawed. I think Lew hit it on the head, except that it's more like the other 99% of Americans.

Libby said...

I've been saying it right along. The Dems are no better than the GOP once they get in power. Time to throw all the bums out.

Anonymous said...

Great post Kathy - sorry it's been so long since I've left any comments.

I'm in two-minds about lobby groups as well. One of which says they're not called "special interest" groups for no reason.

In order for democracy to function effectively the needs, desires and opinions of the many - e.g. the majority - must win out over those of the few. [I know that's a Star Trek reference; I just couldn't help it...] Even if I don't agree with the final decision of The People, that's just the way the US is meant to run.

On the other hand, as Abi said, lobbies can express the opinions and voices of a certain demographic. As such they are representing some of The People.

It all comes down to motives in the end. When things begin to diverge from an altruistic and pure desire to maximise benefit for the maximum number of people possible - and particularly when politicians' personal gain becomes an issue - we begin to leave democracy behind us and start becoming something else.

Kathy said...

Everyone left great comments, but I'm still conflicted about this lobbying thing. Some special interest groups help advance causes important to large numbers of our population, i.e., AARP, unions, etc., but then there is the flip side of the story. The pharmaceutical lobbyists have succeeded in generating massive profits at the expense of working Americans.

As Mike says, it all comes down to motive in the end. If lobbyists help business AND people achieve something for the common good, that's great. However, if the lobbyist only helps enrich himself and his industry at the expense of our health and welfare, then the motive becomes corrupt.

Anyway, I'm not sure paid lobbying should be outlawed, but we definitely need some changes - maybe limit the number from each industry and limit the compensation. In the end though, any legislation from Washington should be based on what the majority want.

Anonymous said...

I am not a fan of either party! The democrats are right though, in their thinking that this republican form of government that we see right now is, as a whole, unethical.

I believe at the same time, that most democrats do nothing more than point out what america already knows. My personal opinion is that if the Dems had control of the legislative and executive branches that we would have a government that is just as unethical as the one we face now. That is why the 2006 elections are so important in my mind. We, as americans, are not only responsible for our vote, but to make that vote with our eyes on 2008. We must not let our government get over run by one side or the other again. WE are responsible for what has transpired and WE are responsible for fixing it.