Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lobbyists--Everyone's Favorite Target

As Ed Morrissey notes at Hot Air, lots of people including our three leading presidential candidates need a refresher course on lobbyists and their role in government.

Lobbyists are the mouthpieces of the First Amendment. I do not have the time to personally "petition for redress of grievances" with my elected represenatives outside of a few letters and emails, and I live 40 miles from the Capitol. I can't imagine that someon in Kentucky, Nevada, California, Alaska or Hawaii has any more time to travel in person. But lobbyists can and do. Their activities are above board, public and reported--thanks to laws passed by chuckleheads like our presidential candidates.

If Clinton, McCain and Obama believe lobbyists should be silenced and removed from government, the question to ask is do they believe in the First Amendment? For all three, there is an argument that they don't. Thus if they believe in silencing lobbyists, they must believe in silenicng you. If they don't really believe it, then it is pandering of the most crass sort and they should be called on it.

Morrissey concludes:
I'm not saying that having lobbyists in campaigns is a good idea, but they would be at worst an indirect indicator of the nature of the candidate. Checking the client list only goes so far, too, since most lobbyists have diverse clientele, and lawyers — especially criminal defense attorneys — exist to represent all sides in any dispute. If people want to see fewer lobbyists and less opportunity for corruption, then the only solution is to reduce the power and reach of the federal government in order to eliminate the spoils for which lobbyists pay big money.

If voters want that as an outcome, they should elect the candidates who commit to shrinking regulation and bureaucracy …. if they can find any. Let’s have more real concern over how lobbyists can corrupt self-government and less hysteria about their presence in Washington.
Well, lobbyists don't necessarily pay big money, and most, it should be noted don't make big bucks eithers, for outcomes. But Morrissey is right, the problem is not lobbyists, the problem is a government so big, so bloated with taxpayer money and so drunk on its own power that it is the enemy to be destroyed.

Lobbyists work in the world they do because we have allowed government to be the easy solution to all our problems. Thus, so long as the government is the default agency for problem solving, then the lobbyists will continue to ply their trade--it is more cost effective than trying to solve the problem ourselves.

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