Monday, January 09, 2006

How's this for an analogy?

Mark Schmitt @ TPMCafe points out that the rush by Republicans to reform lobbying is a very convenient bit of misdirection:

That's the other side's frame. This is not a lobbying scandal. It's a betrayal-of-public-trust scandal. Lobbyists have no power, no influence, until a public servant gives them power. That's what DeLay and the K Street Project was all about. What they did was to set up a system by which lobbyists who proved their loyalty in various ways, such as taking DeLay and Ney on golf trips to Scotland, could be transformed from supplicants to full partners in government.

Abramoff did lots of terrible things and should go to jail, but never forget that every single criminal and unethical act of his was made possible by a public official. On his own, Abramoff had no power. At another time -- say, 1993 -- he would have been a joke.

But every time we say "lobbying reform," we reinforce the idea that it is only the lobbyist who is the wrongdoer.

Indeed. If you react to the purchase of Congressmen by going after the folks who buy them, why attack the original form of prostitution by arresting the hookers?


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