As the Who once said, “Meet the new boss — same as the old boss.” Old Hope and Change: Lobbyists are evil. New Hope and Change: Lobbyists are mommies and daddies, too. Harry Reid promises that lobbyists will find welcoming arms in the new Obama administration, and certainly from the Democratic Congress:
In his historic speech Tuesday morning, President Barack Obama said the era of “protecting narrow interests” is over – an echo of his campaign promise that lobbyists and special interests would lose their clout in his White House. But lobbyists still have defenders in Washington D.C., including one of Obama’s most powerful allies, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada).
Reid invited top lobbyists to join him and his supporters for an inaugural brunch Monday where he told ABC News that he will still do plenty of business with them.
“And there’s nothing wrong with that,” said Reid. “And Obama will be meeting with them too.” When asked to clarify his remarks, given Obama’s promises to change that part of Capitol culture, Reid responded that lobbyists are part and parcel of the job.
“People should understand that lobbyists, per se, are someone’s father, mother, son, daughter,” said Reid. “They work for a living.” The Democratic leader’s sons and a son-in-law have worked as lobbyists.
I’ve written on several occasions that the fetish against lobbyists is not just hypocritical, but essentially stupid. The First Amendment specifically protects the right of citizens to petition Congress, and lobbyists make it possible to do that in an organized fashion. For a party that has sold itself out to the unions to the extent that they’re willing to strip workers of the right to a secret ballot in organizing elections, such opposition to the organizing of citizen action practically screams hypocrisy.
Given all that screeching during the last two election cycles, though, the sudden discovery of the inner humanity of lobbyists seems just a wee bit self-serving. Now that the Democrats control all of the levers of power, they want to cash in on their fortune. What happened to cleaning up politics and changing the way business gets done in DC?
Hope and Change, baby…