Golden Age of Lobbying
Washington, DC. Dec 9th, 2005 ---- We are in the Golden Age of Lobbying which most analysts believe will come to an end in the near future. The abuse of the system has reached epidemic proportions, and can't be swept under the media carpet any longer.
At the center of the collapse will be the former Members of Congress who abuse their privileges of access to the floor, and their ability to forcefully lobby for their clients in places where most citizens are forbidden to tread. This practice was abolished in most countries when monarchies were thrown out, or reigned in by a constitution. We see the undemocratic and unsavory practice of Members of Congress being browbeaten as they prepare to vote by these highly paid Political Pimps.
It's not enough to send in tens of thousands of lawyers to argue against the wishes and needs of their constituents and shell out billions in bribes, but now we see more and more Members who retire, or are thrown out coming back to actively subjugate the process of democracy.
Then there are the staffers and Chiefs of Staff, who have inside information on committees and legislation, draft legislation to benefit a special interest, then move over to become lobbyist for that special interest group. They bypass the rules by acting as an "Advisor" until the short period of time elapses when they can actively lobby for that group. This is corruption gone crazy, and definitely not in the interest of the United States. It does make a select few very, very rich. But so does robbing banks, drug trafficking and organized crime. But these organizations don't have huge office blocks in Northern Virginia, or luxury office on K Street and around Washington and Alexandria.
The chances of any legislative changes under this Administration, the most corrupt in living memory, or even under a Democratic Administration if the Clinton's are involved are slim. It is being reformed by brave Federal Prosecutors who dare challenge their political masters in the Department of Justice and try and keep the Constitution alive. Instead of keeping a low profile the Lobbying community stage high price fundraiser's to enable their corrupt cohorts fight the judicial system. I wonder how many fund raisers the likes of Patton Boggs were involved in to help hundreds of thousands of their citizens who lost everything in Hurricane Katrina, and Hurricane Rita. Probably only for the Oil companies seeking tax breaks and subsidies for their refineries.
The issue here is not that Members of Congress have come to believe that one direction is better than another, it is that prejudging for financial gain removes the benefits of debate and discovery essential for democracy to flourish. For under present rules if the direction of the voting is going the way lobbyists, or Party Pimps want, or have promised, they rush up to the Chamber and start strong arming Members on the floor, or during the voting process.
In the old days lobbyists would present their positions, at briefings and associated receptions. They were informative and the media were welcomed. Then the corruption and rot set in, led and directed by the legal partnerships that have caused today's mess. The media were excluded, and cocktails and light hors d'oeuvres became Golf Weekends, or flights in private aircraft to expensive resorts. The piano player was replaced by top entertainers and Las Vegas style cabaret, kept as far away from prying eyes of the media or the American public. Now it has moved to multi million dollar mansions, expensive boats and fake real estate transactions worth millions, and jobs for wives, family and friends paying hundreds of thousands a year.
The US economy can sustain a few Pork projects without flinching, always has and always will, but the 50,000 lobbyists have gone too far. Too many expensive decisions are being made at the expense of the nation, and the welfare of industry and the citizens.
In January the first of the Baby Boomers begin to reach 60. Then the psychological changes in outlook will start to appear in their voting patterns. At the same time we will begin to see further evidence of the dissatisfaction with Washington start to spread through the Black Community, abandoned by the Republican Administration during their very visible hour of need in New Orleans and across the South. The Hispanic Community wants changes, and more resources to be diverted to social and immigration programs to benefit themselves and the flood of illegal immigrants. The sheer numbers mean that there will be an acute shortage of money, and either the silk suited lobbyists from K Street will be disappointed, or tens of millions of militant voters will get the cold shoulder. Currently the poor Blacks in New Orleans and the uninsured immigrants being paid minimum wage can go and pound sand. The Members of Congress have millions of dollars in the pipeline for their luxury retirement, as well as consultant and lobbying jobs for their family and staff.
When you look at political intelligence scenarios, or more correctly the geopolitical intelligence scenarios it causes a sense of foreboding, a fear of what lies ahead if we are not careful, and don't heed the warning signs. I remember many years ago being taken to the top of a ski jump tower and looking out over the Olympic course. Frankly I was far from happy, and was very pleased when I again reached ground level. That is what the next ten years looks like from here in Washington.
Indicting Tom DeLay isn't the story. The whole DC lobbying community is on trial and is facing imprisonment, or maybe parole if they behave. Trouble is there are so many unsavory people attracted to the easy money that they won't and can't behave, and you can regulate a few thousand, but there are so many registered and unregistered lobbyists that it will take an Act of Congress to regulate. And that won't happen until the voters are so mad that they begin to throw out their sitting Members of Congress. Question is, for November 2006 are the voters mad enough to demand change, and are Members of Congress sufficiently worried to instigate change and preserve their seats?