Living Life as a Lobbyist with “undue” influences…and Reaction to the SOTU

Well I really wanted to post something about the State of the Union sooner, but it is really hard to keep up a blog with a busy schedule.  Excuses aside, let’s hope you all subscribe to the “better late than never philosophy”

 

State of the Union (SOTU)

Of course I watched the SOTU, because I was interested, but I also watched it for work so we could be ready for reaction to the press ( keeping my personal opinion to myself of course).  The one thing I can say is Obama is a great speaker…he is funny, he is personable, he is someone I would want to hang out with.  It was an hour plus SOTU address, and I listened to the whole thing.  I could not have listened to an hour of Bush…and I believed in his policies.  He had a little something for everyone in his speech but here were my concerns.

·         Excessive use of “I” and “me”.   If you are looking to bridge the gap and work with both parties for consensus, I would recommend a little less focus on oneself. 

·         We spent less than 5 minutes on Homeland Security.  We just glossed right over our security. Now I realize I have an excessive concern for homeland security and that really, most people are interested in domestic issues right now with the economy.  But I just wanted a little more.  It re-enforce my concern that we are weak on Security.  That being said, I am excited to see they are rethinking this idea of trying the terrorist ring leader in NY.  (I could..and may..do an entire blog on giving Miranda rights to FORIEGN terrorists.  Absolutely ticks me off.  Let’s spend the money somewhere else and focus on giving constitutional rights to US citizens first.)

·         That it was rather taboo to call out the Supreme Court.   Not only call them out, but call them out when you know the court’s ruling on Campaign Finance DID NOT open the door to foreign countries donating to our elections.

 

There were also two things that he stated that I thought will come back to bite him in the butt:

1.  The “worst” of the storm has passed (referring to the Economy)

2.  ALL troops are leaving Iraq soon

What happens when unemployment goes up and we don’t have spending under control. Is the worst really over?  I don’t think so…but good news here…I am not an economist.

 

Also – where is the last place US Troops rolled into, declared war, and then completely left?  I can only think of one…Vietnam.  Not sure I would have said, “All” troops are coming home.

 

 And of course my number one problem with his entire speech was his referral to those darn unethical lobbyists and blamed them for ruining everything  (See Next Section for More).  I have never seen someone wage such a campaign against a certain profession!  Sure we have Lawyer jokes, but do we blame them for the economy, excess spending, DC’s inability to get things done?  No! 

 

Oh yes, Mr. President..you are going to have to quit pretending to be an outsider.  Not sure if you noticed, but the Washington Monument sits outside your window and your neighbor is the Capitol.

 

My Life as a Dirty Lobbyist

So one thing that did come out of the SOTU is that we are going to put EVEN MORE restraints on registered lobbyist.  We are also going to close the loop hole that allows people to de-register.  (Currently if you spend 20% or more of your time lobbying you have to register as a lobbyist).  This 20% threshold is used so that you, as a common citizen, do not have to register as a lobbyist if you come visit your Representative about an issue of concern or if you simply right him a letter expressing your views.  The other thing they are going to try to pass is increased reporting requirements on where lobbyists go, who they meet with, what was discussed, and the duration of the meeting.   Perhaps I can just suggest strapping a video camera to my head with a live feed to the Internet. I have nothing to hide, but really don’t want to spend time every day logging my daily activities.  Can you imagine if you had to log everyone you met with on a daily basis for posting on the Website.  Oh yes, and he pointed out the White House visitor book for all meetings happening in the executive office.  Note to Mr. President…I am not in there…and I have been up there to meet with political appointees.  Now, I think they just have not gotten to my meeting…but I will give it a few more months before I determine we are selectively identifying WH visitors.

This is what really annoyed me. I got this email on Friday:

On Monday, February 1, 2010 at 1:00 p.m., XXXX XXXXX of the Office of Management & Budget will offer an “off the record” briefing to review the Information Technology elements of the FY11 Budget Submission from the White House.  This meeting is open to non-lobbyists.

 

No, this is not the first time I have been banned from a meeting.  Certain agencies are worse than others.  Some want to ban you…others just want to identify you.  (Again, I need to start making and selling a Scarlet L so we can all be identified properly)  As a taxpaying citizen, I am being excluded from a particular meeting because of my occupation.  Doesn’t that seem strange to anyone else?  My taxes help pay these people’s salaries, but yet I cannot attend a meeting to find out how my money will be spent? 

What if our government sent out this email but instead it said, “This meeting is open to Men” or “This meeting is open only to Illinoisan”  Or “This meeting is open only to Plumbers”   People would be outraged.  But we have decided to blame lobbyist for all that is wrong with Washington.  Like all professionals, you have bad apples, but that doesn’t mean you can disparage the entire profession.

Let me just leave you all with a small reminder of what Lobbyist do (They petition their government on behalf of groups of people to advocate for or against something) and what the First Amendment says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

 

 

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6 Responses to Living Life as a Lobbyist with “undue” influences…and Reaction to the SOTU

  1. abess says:

    Well, thank the lord you finally responded – I thought maybe the SOTU had thrown you for a complete loop!! I watched most of it – you have a better opinion of his speaking ability than I do – although not better than his own.

  2. Derek says:

    A few points in Response:

    First, I whole-heartedly disagree with the “Obama is a Great Speaker” meme. In fact, you identified right off the bat why many people like me have a hard time listening to him – his excessive use of the first person. I don’t know about you, but I get tired of somebody talk about themself pretty quickly. And the record should be set straight, rhetorical flights of lofty phrases strung together does not a good speach make.

    Second, the Supreme Court thing was quite simply a lie. There’s really no way to argue otherwise. And it is the only correct legal reading of the First Amendment, Justice Stevens 90-page diatribe notwithstanding.

    Third, the worst of the recession is not likely to be over. We’re sitting on top of another real estate ticking time-bomb considering the current liabilities of entities like Fannie Mae. Housing prices have fallen back into line and GDP growth is picking up, but a lot of that is fueled by economic churning. We’re a long way from out of this…and nobody is considering the devastating effect entitlement spending is doing to the budget…a whole different story.

    Fourth, lobbyists. Just another example of Obama’s BALD-FACED hypocrisy. There’s a link somewhere that describes this, but the Obama Administration is chalk-full of lobbyists, including former lobbyists in high ranking policy and political positions. And for good reason, they often know the issues! Additionally, excluding lobbyists from widely attended briefings may indeed be a violation of the First Amendment. And Obama is going to have to do a lot better than “Washington is Broken; Put all of your faith in Washington” to convince people of his policies.

    Finally, let’s not get started with how weak this Administration has been on Terrorism and National Security. Obama’s decision to increase troop levels in Afghanistan aside (and disregarding the blatant politics behind the drop-dead withdrawal date included in the plan and the agonizingly long time it took him to make the decision), this Administration led by AG Eric Holder and urged on by the far left has made a series of decisions that have increased our exposure to that threat.

    Ok, that is all.

  3. Kerber says:

    Thank you Derek! I forgot how much I enjoyed discussing political and legal events with you!

    Now..does this mean I shouldn’t buy a house now?

    • Derek says:

      If I were in the market to buy a house, I’d wait a couple of months. I suspect they’ll fall again slightly, but that’s a guess. A lot of experts think that housing is priced about right these days.

  4. Kathy says:

    I can’t believe you didn’t comment about NASA’s cuts…basically that manned space flight has been given ZERO dollars in the budget.

  5. Mary Kerber says:

    Well, between you and Derek, my own ideology has been completely covered!

    Why can you Lobbyists get the ACLU to file suit on your behalf?

    I’m also with Kathy. Taking America out of the manned space business is disasterous! Nothing has spurred our technological edge more in the past 50 years (yes it is 50 years now) than our attempts to put people into space. The rewards to our economy have been manifold. (I always like to point to a couple of minor things like portable defibulators, portable computers and even lasix eye surgery as examples.) Yes, he is going to extend the life of the Space Station, but Americans will not even be able to get there without hitching a ride with, and paying exorbitant amounts for, our Russian partners! Obama needs to understand that, in a world that does not often think well of America, NASA has always garnered international acclaim and is one thing that earned international respect, albeit grudging!

    Well that is my rant and I’m sticking to it!!

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