Saturday, June 14, 2008

As American as Apple Pie

Pointing out that Benjamin Franklin was one of America's best known early lobbyists, Michael Barone writes in defense of the profession, and in opposition to the demagogic reactions to it:

Behind this stigmatization of lobbyists is the notion that the failure to produce legislation in the public interest stems from the existence of lobbyists. Which is obviously nonsense. We couldn’t abolish lobbying without repealing the First Amendment, which gives all of us, even those who are paid to do it, the right to “petition the government for a redress of grievances.” And the government could not sensibly do business without lobbyists — as Hillary Clinton recognized at the YearlyKos convention last August.

While Obama and John Edwards were lambasting lobbyists, Clinton said: “You know, a lot of those lobbyists, whether you like it or not, represent real Americans. They actually do. They represent nurses. They represent, you know, social workers. They represent ... yes, they represent corporations. They employ a lot of people.”

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