Wednesday, February 04, 2004

I Don't Get It: Billy Tauzin, the Republicrat from coon-ass country, leaves the House to become a lobbyist, and everyone whelps puppies on the newsroom floor? I don't see any conflict of interest here, nor any suggestion of impropriety. Besides, anybody remember Tony Coelho? Anyone know who Tommy Daschle's wife is?

The reform types (including reformed Keating Five figure John McCain) have proposed a waiting period between leaving Congress and registering as a lobbyist. This is similar to, and just as dumb as, the CFR attempts to chase political money. It ignores the problem in its attempt at a solution. The problem is the power Congress has to make decisions of enormous import to not only citizens but other economically interested parties.

Just one more small bitch, regarding evenhandedness. If a congressman leaves to work for a special interest like AARP, an investment company, or a law firm, or to take some other obvious rain-maker position, nobody blinks. (After all, do you think Al Gore got on various corporate boards and pulled consulting salaries after 2000 because of his business expertise?) It's only a few industries in which a politician gets the malocchio from the media. For example, Congressman A retires and goes to work for the Sierra Club, the Red Cross, PETA, or some other group that gets soft-focus treatment in the media; Congressman B retires and goes to work for the tobacco lobby, PhRMA, Exxon, the NRA, or a handful of others. Who do you think will get the "there's no honorable work to be had in that world" stare? Which one do you think will be called a "lobbyist" or an "influence trader"?

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