Friday, February 12, 2010

GOP Hypocrisy Run Amuck; Plus, Need A Job? Lobbying: A Growth Industry!

There's an old saying that I have quoted to Tweenie, probably once too often for her liking, that goes: "Daughter, don't grow a wishbone where your backbone ought to be." It 's good advice, and meant to encourage my not-so-little girl to take action to work toward her dreams, not simply wish that they would come true. Now I find myself wishing I could call every Democratic Senator and Representative and paraphrase the quote to them: "Grow a backbone, Ladies and Gentlemen!"

We have been given an amazing opportunity, a veritable political gift, if there ever was one, to demonstrate the hypocrisy of the GOP in regards to the stimulus. They vote against the Stimulus bill, every last one of them, yet shake hands, smile, and sign big ol' Publisher's Clearing House-style checks for their districts...as if they had anything to do with making it happen! As always, our favorite pundit is on the case, calling them to the carpet, just kicking ass and taking names. You may have seen this by now, but I think it's worth a second viewing:



And yes, I cheered, too, as each photo appeared! But were you as blown away as I was by the sheer number of Rethuglican hypocrites Rachel Maddow names? The list goes on and on. But what is truly amazing is that there are so many more she didn't name! One could literally go down the entire Republican rolls on the Hill, name every single member that tried to vote down the Stimulus, and find pet projects for their districts being funded by Stimulus funds. You'd be guaranteed to find a glossy, smiling photo op, and the big check in their greedy little obstructionist hands. (By the way, where do you get those big checks printed, anyway? But I digress...)

There is no greater example of the kind of hypocritical nature of the Party of No, as their ability to benefit from the bill they fought so hard to attempt to defeat. There's no better sound byte or video clip to be used against them than their self-staged, credit-taking photo ops that they've set up in their own districts. Yet the DNC, the DSCC and the DCCC do nothing, absolutely nothing, to make their duplicity evident to their constituents. I ask you: Have ya seen it in the mainstream tee vee news? No? Me either. And how about in the press, our great Fourth Estate, whose job it is to protect our freedom from the abuses of power? Nope? I haven't either. Why is it that we have one of the best opportunities ever handed to our party, gift-wrapped and practically served on a platter, yet the Democratic response is...nothing? Nada? Zilch? Zip? Well, Judas Priest, People! Is the Democratic Party waiting for a better opportunity than this? I want to see full-page ads in the NY Times and the Washington Post listing name after name of those who voted no, took the money and ran. I want to see TV spots in 2010 Congressional Districts, proclaiming the hypocrisy of the GOP candidate up for reelection. I want to hear it on the tee vee machine and the radio, not treated like a State secret! If the Dems waste this golden opportunity, then, good God, there's no hope for any progress. Period.

But there is hope! If you are one of the many Americans job hunting right now, there is a recession-proof growth industry that you would be prudent to pursue: become a lobbyist for fun and profit! According to an article in The Hill, lobbying has grown a solid 5% in this economy, and continues to be a stable form of employment.  Another recent article from The Hill goes on to say that business is booming for lobbyists: 
“It was an amazing year in terms of the number of things that came up and the momentous nature of them,” said Mark Ruge, co-chairman of the policy group at K&L Gates. “I have never even seen anything remotely like this year in terms of intensity and magnitude.”
K&L Gates earned $18.5 million in lobbying fees in 2009, a 23 percent improvement on its performance in 2008.
Calling it a “once-in-a-generation” year, Ruge said some of the debates that dominated 2009 — from the stimulus package to healthcare reform — alone were enough to keep lobbyists busy. But with so much being done at once by President Barack Obama and Democrats on Capitol Hill, business for lobbyists went into overdrive.
Ruge was not alone in having a good year in lobbying. Several other firms matched K&L Gates’s climb, if not surpassed it.
Because the Obama Administration is pushing such a strong, momentous agenda, the corporate side of the aisle, the fourth branch of government known as the Corporate Branch (officially recognized by the Supreme Court recently) is pushing back, and they've put their money where their mouth is. The harder we push a positive agenda of health care, jobs and help for the working middle class, the bigger becomes the snowball of money rolling down the hill (technically up the Hill) to knock flat any legislation. More of the status quo, more of the Party of No, and, by golly, if you are looking for a job, willing to relocate to D.C., well, K&L is definitely hiring. And so are their cronies, since fighting the Dems has become big business. And hey, the work isn't particularly difficult, either. I mean, it's not like any more than a handful of Dems are fighting back. Sure, there's Sherrod Brown, Barney Frank, Al Franken and a handful of others who are fighting tooth and nail, God bless 'em, to get progressive change. But for the most part, it's clear sailing with nary a fight in sight. A "once in a generation" time to be a lobbyist.

On a positive note, the growth wouldn't be happening if that small, strong contingent of Dems weren't fighting back. It wouldn't be happening if The President hadn't gotten his second wind, appearing to take on the GOP, one against a hundred, and put them in their place. In a way, the news that corporations have to fork out more dollars to keep their interests alive means we must be doing something right: the GOP is worried, and forced to spend more to protect their interests. But damn it, can't we play a little offense here instead of the constant defense? Let's face facts: the Rethugs are never going to give us an even break, they will never be bipartisan or contribute in a positive way. After all, they have their constituents to answer to: the living, breathing corporate being, complete with all the rights of free speech given to it as an individual citizen. We must begin to use reconciliation to pass legislation (it's how The Shrub got so much of his agenda set in place), we must expose GOP hypocrisy to constituents, especially in districts where midterms will be crucial to maintain a majority, and we must push through real health care reform that will benefit working class families. Hell, yes, let's threaten the nuclear option - filibusters: another GOP hotbed of hypocrisy! It's time for our party to grow up and speak out, to quit the pandering to the Blue Dogs and Rethugs. It's time to step up on behalf of ordinary Americans and make things right. It's time to grow a wishbone where our backbone ought to be. And that is going to take a unified Democratic Party.

Will it happen? Time can only tell. But I am anxious to hear your take on the whole shebang, my fellow Politcos. Put your two cents in here at Momma Politico!