Presidential hopeful John McCain probably has nobody to blame but himself for this little snippet from Thursday night’s Special Report with Brit Hume on Fox News:
Mort Kondracke, Executive Editor of Roll Call: …Barack Obama makes lobbyists, in general, out to be, if not the focus of evil of the modern world, than at least the reason why we can’t get anything done in Washington, and he has expunged them from his campaign, wants them nowhere around, and stuff like that.
The other parts of this story… trace a history of McCain’s rather cozy relationships with lobbyists–flying on corporate jets… accepting money during his 2000 campaign from interests with business before the Commerce Committee, forming this reform institute which, after soft money was abolished because of McCain-Feingold Bill, which accepted soft money in large amounts from other interests.
So he’s going to have to explain all of this. And he may as well start explaining it right now.
Brit Hume, host: What does he have to explain about it?
Kondracke: Lobbyists–what is his connection with lobbyists? What has he done for them and what has he not done for them?
Believe me, this is going to be a major issue in the campaign. It is what Obama makes out to be the major issue of his campaign right now.
Kondracke is right, McCain probably will be forced to "explain" his connections with lobbyists. In a rational world, of course, his connections to lobbyist would be obvious: Lobbyists lobby him on behalf of U.S. citizens (and occasionally non-citizens) who want to, as someone borrowing heavily from the First Amendment might put it, "peaceably assemble and hire someone to petition government and engage in free speech on their behalf."
Instead, we live in an irrational world, where Hillary Clinton can make the obvious observation that "…lobbyists… represent real Americans. They represent nurses, social workers – and yes, they represent corporations and they employ a lot of people" and be booed for what should essentially be a pro forma statement.
So Sen. McCain, who has gotten a great deal of positive press over the years with his crusade for campaign finance "reform" and repeatedly denounced the so-called "special interests" represented by lobbyists, must now explain how he can be friends with people who, as has so indelicately put it in the past, "corrupt" the government by representing their clients.
As long as politicians choose to score cheap points by railing against so-called "special interests" and lobbyists, they shouldn’t be too terribly surprised when they get in trouble because they themselves regularly meet with lobbyists, rely on them for information, and even become friends with them.
Perhaps some updated lyrics to "I’m Just a Bill" are in order, referencing the importance of lobbyists who can effectively advocate on behalf of those citizens who are unable to regularly jet off to Washington DC in order to meet with their member of Congress on important issues?