Like Stuart Varney says, the most amazing thing about this is that they actually put out a flier advertising the salons. No whispering about pay-for-play over brandy in smoke-filled rooms for WaPo; just hard print, for all the world to see. Either they somehow didn’t see the problem with a newspaper selling access to the government to lobbyists or they felt so secure in their media perch that they didn’t think they’d be called on it. Which is worse?
The million-dollar question: Was Team Barry onboard with this scheme? Gibbs was asked about it today; watch the clip here. He claims that he doesn’t know if anyone in the White House was invited — but admits that “I think some people in the administration, writ large, may have been invited,” although he doesn’t believe anyone accepted. Does “people in the administration” mean HHS, perchance for health-care lobbyists to discuss ObamaCare? Over to you, Krauthammer:
The real betrayal of this presidency, the premise of the campaign last year, which he talked about endlessly—and the audiences were swooning over this—was he was going to introduce a new politics. He was going to have a politics of the people.
He would take the lobbying and the lobbyists and the influence peddlers out of government, the money changers out of the temple. That is what he represented.
All that was rubbish last year, and now it’s all the more so. We have had, because of his ambitious government takeover—at least attempted—on stimulus, on health care, on cap and trade, which is the entire energy industry, with so much allocation of capital out of Washington, the frenzy of lobbying in Washington has been unprecedented.
It’s not business as usual as he promised. It’s worse. It’s the biggest frenzy of lobbying in American history.
I’ll be curious to see if our fearless press corps presses Gibbs for more specifics tomorrow.