Tuesday, June 10

:: So Now They Tell Us

Guess what? Obama is the candidate of special interests too.
How many times have we heard the boyz claim that Barack was unsullied by corporate contacts and lobbyist money? Do you remember his appearance - and Clinton's - at the DKos blogger conference? When Barack said he would never take Washington lobbyist money, exactly what the crowd wanted to hear, they cheered. When Clinton said she would not commit to that because it was (1) unfeasible and (2) anti-democratic [here's a clue kids: you do NOT get to single out people to exclude from the political process just because you don't like their ideas], the crowd booed and hissed. And continued to say that she was the one who pandered to special interests.

Now comes an article that explains that not only do both McCain and Obama have numerous ties to evil lobbyists (half-serious there- some of them are evil) but that totally distancing yourself from lobbyists is impossible.

So why didn't they tell us this before, when Obama was using the issue as a cudgel against Clinton?

Here are some excerpts from Special Interest Access Abounds in Campaign (AP):

Obama's team in Nevada, put together last summer to help him with the state's January caucuses, included at least two Nevada lobbyists: one that represented Barrick Gold of North America, a mining company that also lobbies in Washington, and another whose clients included U.S. Airways, Corrections Corp. of America and consulting company Accenture, which lobby in Washington.


Obama accepted an endorsement from former Sen. Don Riegle of Michigan but never mentioned Riegle also is a Washington lobbyist whose clients include London-based metals merchant Norimet Ltd. and Geneva-based liquor distributor SPI Group SA.

McCain and Obama have each taken new steps to hold lobbyists — at least those in Washington — at arm's length. But such moves are incomplete, at best, for putting real distance between their campaigns and special interests. Many operate below the public's radar: Unless the advisers are paid staff or donors, the candidates are not required to identify them or their lobbyist connections.


To consort only with outsiders, McCain and Obama would have to accept help only from people who never worked in politics, wanted anything from government or worked for anyone who has.


Technology experts who endorsed Obama include Andrew McLaughlin, who lobbied Congress and the Bush administration on trade issues for Google Inc. last year with McCain donor and former McCain Senate chief counsel Pablo Chavez; and Ed Zander, chief executive of Motorola, an Illinois-based communications company that lobbies in Washington.


Superdelegates backing Obama include Joyce Brayboy of North Carolina, a Washington lobbyist and former congressional chief of staff whose clients include the American Bankers Association, Moneygram International money-transfer service and Recording Industry Association of America.

Obama superdelegate Moses Mercado of Texas, a former aide to then-Rep. Richard Gephardt, D-Mo., has been a lobbyist at the same Washington firm as Wayne Berman, who raised money for McCain. Mercado's client list at Ogilvy Government Relations includes the American Chemistry Council trade group; the American Petroleum Institute and Chevron, both with big stakes in energy policy; and the American Trucking Associations, whose priorities include highway funding and labor rules.

Shackelford, who lobbied Congress and the Bush administration on behalf of Hyundai, also lobbied for Lyondell Chemical Co. over discontinuing use of the gasoline additive MTBE, which helps prevent engines from knocking. MTBE's leading alternative is ethanol, which Obama supports. She is with the lobby firm Global USA, whose chairman, Stanton Anderson, lobbies for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform and is among Reagan alumni who endorsed McCain.

Another superdelegate, Robert Strauss of Texas, a former ambassador and Democratic National Committee chairman, founded the firm that became international law and lobbying giant Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. Its clients include the governments of Panama and South Korea, who want trade agreements with the United States that Obama opposes. Akin Gump also lobbied for Chinese oil company CNOOC, reaching out to McCain's staff and others on Capitol Hill as CNOOC unsuccessfully tried to win backing for its offer to acquire Unocal.

Oh my. It sounds like Mr. Clean is Mr. Hypocrisy. How many times has he stood in front of a crowd and declared he would rid Washington of special interests - while he had some of the biggest special interest representatives assisting his campaign?

The thing is, none of this is news. These people have been involved for some time. So why are we only hearing about it now? Why didn't journos point this out when Barack was falsely and hypocritically drawing a contrast between himself and Clinton, smearing Clinton as "the" candidate of Washington insiders and corporate fat cats? How do those DKos boyz feel now, knowing that they cheered the man who was lying and booed the woman who was telling the truth? And can any of them explain their behavior as the result of anything but a "burn the witch" mentality?

The bully boyz in the media and the blogosphere quite simply hated her. And no lie was too egregious to print. No fact too obvious to be misreported - or never reported at all.


RS said...

You can keep yelling "favoritism! sexism!" all you want - but a simple Google search reveals this is old news. For example, see this Reno Gazette-Journal article in August 2007:

And this WaPo FactChecker in 10/07:

As far as I can remember, Senator Obama has always said that federal lobbyists cannot contribute financially to his campaign (WaPo calls that technically correct) - and Obama hasn't claimed to be pristine (see WaPo article). As for endorsements - well, there ain't much that can be done about that, and when these lobbyists also happen to be prominent public figures who were elected at some point....

And you can keep denying it - but there's definitely a sexist tone to your posts - "bully boyz" or "DKos boyz" or "burn the witch" - that suggest you feel aggrieved a woman didn't win the Democratic nomination... And that Either Male Candidate doesn't matter ;-)

Nina Miller said...

The sexist tone is on purpose. I doubt a lot of women would see "boyz" as sexist - they'd either think I was referring to young men, or perhaps a certain kind of young man (a "lad" in Britain). But you picked up on the unfairness, right? Reflect.

Obama did and does continue to behave as if he is pure. I'll have to go back to the DKos coverage to see his exact words but I would you $5 that he said the poetic version first, then backtracked and qualified a week or so later. Let me ask you this: do you think any of his supporters (as opposed to staff) understand the distinction you describe? Or do you think that when he says, as he did yesterday, that he will get rid of lobbyists he means all lobbyists / Washington influence brokers? This was the nature of the contrast he drew with Clinton, and it was utterly hypocritical.

Imagine the tables were turned. I bet you would be lauding Obama's honesty and decrying Clinton's pandering or even lying.

RS said...

I am a supporter, not staff, and I do understand the distinction!

Senator Clinton's position on lobbyist monies falls in line with her general overall approach - this is how DC is, this is how it works. But acceptance and recognition of the existence of a problem is the first step towards a cure, is it not? True, I'd distinguish between small, not-for-profit cancer-research-promoting lobbyists and ExxonMobil hacks - but Senator Clinton (and to be fair, Obama) did not...

Anyway, I expanded this into a post on my blog, with fuller Obama quotes and (I like to think) independent third-party verifications:

I was going to write another post - starting with Thomas Jefferson, I began to realize people I admire are not black-and-white, the world is shades of gray. Obvious to people wise in the ways of the world... Anyway, the same reasoning holds for Obama. But we try to move in the direction of clean...

Nina Miller said...

Actually, if you go back to her statement at DKos, you are diametrically wrong. I remember that (1) she said that lobbying is part of one's constitutional rights, and that you can't single people out just because you don't like what they say. (2) there are people who lobby for things you like and people who lobby for things you don't.

Perhaps you've heard of the right to petition the government? I believe its right there in the bill of rights.

The campaign finance rhetoric of the left is profoundly undemocratic. Campaign finance issues is, sadly, one of the issues I know well - i followed the development of McCain-Feingold very closely and as a rep of my organization participated in the coalition that opposed many of its provisions - a coalition that included the ACLU and a broad array of genuine issues groups, including the NRA and National Right to Life.

Once you start singling out entities or catagories of people you've opened the door to repressing NGOs that conflict with the government's agenda. This is what is happening now in Zimbabwe, Egypt, Iran, etc. Ironically, the first groups they outlaw are the feminists and the queers.

This goes for left-wing efforts to shut down RC churches that involve themselves with electioneering. Its not that the lefties think there's a real problem (some push the line pretty hard with their own 501(c)(3)s ) - its that they hate what the churches are saying and want to stop it. Alot of campaign finance "reform" came about that way.

There is no way to distinguish between Exxon lobbying for the death of the planet and a local group trying to save the turtles. The tax code just doesn't go there. Because government isn't supposed to impinge on speech.

The Cato Institue !!! has a very good analysis of McCain-Feingold, and I've seen some good stuff on lobby reform; if i can dig it up I'll send it to you via your blog. I'll look up the DKos stuff too if i have the chance.

RS said...

Here's a CNN report:

"Diametrically wrong"? Sounds like a double negative :-)
So do you mean I was wrong about her not distinguishing between NPOs and ExxonMobil (which she doesn't per CNN), or about her business-as-usual approach?

I never had to study the US Bill of Rights ;-) But the bigger point is that the "right to petition the government" has been abused - see Abramoff, Jack. ExxonMobil is free to petition the government - but without expensive lunches, use of corporate jets, golf games, what have you. That ability gives them an unfair advantage against environmental NPOs, for instance.

You can petition - free speech - but you aren't supposed to be able to buy the government - corruption. And accepting campaign contributions - as Obama says, the original sin of politicians - makes the politician more susceptible to the message the lobbyist is pushing. Caesar's wife must be above suspicion...

[There's actually a Hindu mythological parallel where Lord Rama makes his wife Sita walk through fire to prove she's pure (to his subjects)... After which she leaves him. Good for her!]

Anonymous said...

Ciccina, you are a joke. You are like the jew who is so confused, that they will vote for a Nazi.