“We have to change the way business is done in Washington. The good news is the name George Bush won’t be on the ballot in November.”
~~Barack Obama, speaking at a town hall meeting in Levittown, PA on April 9th
Barack Obama, like Jimmy Stewart, wants to change the way the government works in the nation’s capital. He decries the way legislators behave, how they are unduly influenced by special interests, lobbyists, big business.
Presumably he is equally concerned about lobbyists from Planned Parenthood, MoveOn.org, Hollywood, and People for the American Way.
In an Obama administration, he promises, this will change. An Obama White House will be a clean White House. Lobbyists are a kind of enemy, he says, an impediment to good governance and progress.
There were 34,750 registered lobbyists in America in 2005, twice the number from 2000, according to the Washington Post. See The Road to Riches Is Called K Street.
Many legislators retire from office and become lobbyists: examples include Geraldine Ferraro and Phil Graham. Some lobbyists perform a useful function in the information they provide. All are to be viewed with skepticism for obvious reasons.
Last Fall, according to Public Citizen:
“the number of registered lobbyists raising money for 2008 presidential candidates (was) already nearing the total for the entire 2004 campaign – despite the fact that most of the 2004 lobbyist-fund raisers are not yet involved.”
Read White House For Sale.
Public Citizen has identified at least 92 federal lobbyists acting as fund raisers for the 2008 presidential candidates. McCain uses 32 lobbyists, Clinton 18, and Obama 7.
It would appear one candidate’s lobbyist is another candidate’s strategist/fund raiser/advisor, illustrated recently when Clinton had to distance herself from her chief strategist when it was reported he was lobbying for a Columbian trade deal she opposes.
Corruption is as corruption does, and pray as we might for cleaner government, asking government to police government is, well, you know, a pipe dream.
One supposes Obama will outlaw lobbyists, or otherwise regulate them? Not likely. There are plenty of regulations in place already. Thirty-six years ago Shirley Chisholm decried back room dealing in DC. Nothing has changed, and little is likely to change.
We’ve always had some kind of influence peddling in DC. The problem is, it is virtually impossible to regulate it out of existence without doing damage to personal freedom. Groups and individuals have a right to petition the government, inform representatives on issues, and work to influence legislative outcomes.
Complex, tightly controlled campaign finance regulation tends to constrict free speech.
Demonizing business undermines the necessary partnerships between government and enterprise required for a healthy republic.
Pigeon-holing legislators as corrupt money-grubbers (however true) tends to isolate the executive branch creating gridlock.
The reality is that the problem with America is not with her people or with business (including oil and pharmaceutical companies, as Obama asserts). The problem with America is not capitalism.
The primarily problem with America is the federal government.
There is one enormous gorilla in the living room, and no one is talking about it, except the comptroller general David Walker and Glenn Beck. Indeed, unless we tackle our downward financial spiral, the threat of Islamic terrorism will look like a picnic.
“The greatest threat to the United States is our own fiscal irresponsibility,” Walker says bluntly. “The American people are starved for two things: the truth, and leadership.”
Walker says the very survival of America is in the balance.
He says flatly unless we take radical steps right now, we will soon be bankrupt. That’s it. We have spent far more than we have, and one day, the bill comes due.
He says the main problem is government spending on entitlements, especially Medicare. Now that “baby boomers” are retiring while the workforce shrinks, a financial train wreck looms.
Watch US Government Immorality Will Lead to Bankruptcy on YouTube.
And Sen. Obama’s approach in this campaign is to vilify George Bush (I thought he was bringing a new kind of politics?), and call for massive increases in entitlement spending, something George Bush accomplished with the prescription drug program. More spending? Yes. And much more in taxation. Thus, Obama and the Democrats want to federalize more than one-seventh of the national economy in creating universal health care when we cannot even afford Medicare, not to mention Social Security, and to do all this, they promise the program will pay for itself in reduced costs, with improved quality of service.
When was the last time the government ran a program more efficiently at less cost providing better service?
The truth is no one will lobby for the people, other than the people themselves. And the people appear content demanding handouts while abdicating power to elected officials.
Only the people can rein in a government out of control. But the people seem more interested in American Idol or the latest outrage on YouTube.
Jimmy Stewart cannot do it alone, and besides, there’s no Jimmy Stewart on the horizon in any case.
The truth? And leadership? Maybe in four years, but by then, it will be too late.
Ron Paul, we hardly knew ye.