Thursday, February 21, 2008

What Do Lobbyists Wear?

Let’s talk a bit about the way Washington Lobbyists operate.
Question: what is the job of a lobbyist?
a. To ingratiate yourself with a lawmaker in order to effectuate change.
b. To give a law maker big donations in order to get them to effectuate the change you want—in order that you keep your job.
c. To brag about your relationship with a lawmaker so everyone (especially the firm you work for) thinks you can effectuate change.
d. Never to say one word about getting a lawmaker to do something that helps your lobbying career.

If you answered all of the above, you would be wrong. If you answered a,b, and c you’re on your way to a career as a lobbyist, or at the very least you know what you are supposed to do to succeed.

I don’t think what John McCain did years and years ago really matters. Here is a guy who was a fighter pilot in Viet Nam. I think he’s probably the kind of macho guy who likes women. In addition, he and his first wife divorced, while he was seeing his second wife. So we know he has had a least one moment when he may have embarrassed his family—if not his country. Did he do favors for the young lobbyist who has a great gold dress (as seen in the NYTimes)? I don’t think there is a legislator in Washington who has not done a favor for a lobbyist. They don’t call them favors. What the legislator says is that lobbyists present a case for their client and then the legislator makes a decision whether to support it or not based on the merit of the idea. Blah Blah Blah. But there was enough question about what legislators get from lobbyists (money, trips, meals, maybe even sex) that Senator McCain, working with Senator Feingold, tried to change the way lobbyists do business and legislators do favors.

It’s all part of the Washington game that Senator Obama wants to change—and I’m right there with that kind of change. But don’t tell my lobbyist friends, (some of my best friends are lobbyists.) But that is not what this blob is about. As I said, John McCain is a nice guy, macho, older person. I have the greatest respect for him because as a young legislator he was befriended by Mo Udall, an older (Democrat) Representative who later ran for President and for whom I worked and who I loved (not like Monica Lewinsky). And when, years later, Mo was diagnosed with severe Parkinson’s and confined to a nursing care facility, McCain visited him every week. There was no one else who did this. Not other friends or family.

What is much more interesting than if he did favors or had an affair, is why the story broke now and who benefits from it. Supposedly, the NYTimes broke the story now because the New Republic was going to do a story about why the Times was holding their story. That has to be crap—all the NY Times would have to do is say ‘we didn’t have enough substantiation.’ It’s not the Democrats, because they would prefer a story like this break during the General Election. It is premature for a Democratic victory. So let’s think. Far as I can see, only Huckabee has anything to gain with a story like this. We’re not sayin that Huckabee crafted this scenario—Drudge had the story in December – but as a person who believes that people care about character issues and pointing out character flaws is a good way to defeat your opponent, I ask again, who benefits from the release of what appears to be a story not quite fleshed out. Not the Republican Party, although there are those people who don’t believe he is a real Republican nor can he win an election without the conservative base. Not anyone who wants to run for his Senate seat if he loses the Presidential election and has to face another Arizona senate race. That’s much too premature.

If I were a reporter this is where I would focus my attention. Speculating about whether or not the staff tried to keep them apart or warn of the improprieties, or appearance of impropriety is just silly. It’s no smarter than when the a senior Clinton White House official called and suggested, because of the appearance of impropriety, (little did we know), I hire Monica Lewinsky at USIA. I refused and suggested they just fire her. ‘Well,’ I was told, ‘they couldn’t because her family were important funders.’ So they sent her to the Defense Department and wasn’t that a wise decision.

Anyway, let’s talk about the only important issue with regard to John McCain and this election. How much pancake make-up does Cindy McCain apply. And further, wouldn’t it be easier to just apply real pancakes. We’re just sayin...Iris


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