Ask a Lobbyist: Binging, Purging

In what has become the most educational feature ever run on Wonkette, we ask an Anonymous Lobbyist to answer your pressing questions about the workings of deepest, darkest Washington each and every week. Are you curious about how a bill becomes a law the executive branch can feel free to ignore? Ask us anything, and we'll do our best to get you an answer.


This week: The most depressing civics lesson since the day you learned that Randy Bachman can never, ever be President. It's all after the jump!

How much does it cost to get a Congressman to vote for a bill that doesn't favor his district or constituents? How about a Senator? I won't even ask about Presidents 'cause this administration is out of any of our price ranges.

As I've mentioned in my inaugural column, most Congress members and Senators (or their staffs) aren't generally stupid enough to take your money directly to vote for a bill, with some obvious exceptions (as previously mentioned). In my experience with Congress members, it seems that they take my PAC money as a sort of homage to their own greatness and don't really factor that in their voting, as though my PAC money is their God-given birthright. And shit, God knows no one is going to risk their career for the two $50 meals I'm legally allowed to give per year (and get reimbursed for or claim as an unreimbursed work expense on my taxes). So, if your Congress Member or Senator is voting in a way actually detrimental to your district/state, s/he is either irredeemably stupid and/or belongs to a different political party. Most of them are stupid, so that's no surprise, but I'm guessing from your questions that you're: a) a Democrat, and b) represented by a Republican. Sucks to be you, I guess. You could try voting for the candidate of your choice (odds are in my favor that you've missed at least one opportunity to vote) and/or move to the most-likely adjacent Democratic district (Gerrymandering: deciding the political party of your hometown since 1811).

But the real question is, do you know how your Congress Member or Senator should vote on every bill? Really? There are like 10,000 pieces of pending legislation in Congress, give or take a couple of bills. Most legislators don't really know how they "should" vote on most things, so they vote more or less the way their party leaders tell them (and you don't get a choice about those leaders or that party). Maybe that little flaw in the system is why, when we go nation-building, we build Parliaments instead of federal republics.

Why are US tax dollars paying to build oil pipelines in the Middle East which belong not to us, but to the oil companies? Why is our military protecting these privately-owned enterprises with their lives and our money? Isn't this the real reason Bush won't leave Iraq as long as he's President?

Sigh. I hate research, but I wanted to be all smart for a second and give a solid, thoughtful response to this question. Sadly, 2 minutes of perusing the Energy Information Administration's Iraq Oil site, and I lost my desire to fake it and had another drink instead.

Let me respond this way: You sound like a True Believer, and re-reading your question made me realize that nothing I'll say will change your mind, anyway. U.S. tax dollars pay for lots of things everybody doesn't like (IRS, anyone?), and you don't get to pick how it's spent. Sometimes, I do, but that's on days that I like my job. More than half of federal spending isn't subject to Congressional review, anyway -- it's "mandatory," so our precious Congress members and Senators are just dicking around with an ever-smaller piece of the federal pie.

What, that doesn't make you feel better? Have a drink. It's 5:00 somewhere -- maybe even somewhere where you'd like how the government would spend your money.

Oh, and the real reason Bush won't leave Iraq is that he doesn't want to look like a pussy.

So, aren't you just another skanky Republican whore who will be purged when the Democrats take power in November?

So sweet that you think I have a political affiliation other than money. And even sweeter is the underlying assumption that Democratic lobbyists differ in a significant way from Republican lobbyists, or that anyone's voter registration matters as long as they're willing to show up at bipartisan political fundraisers and press the flesh.

Plus, what Democrat is really going to give up a shot at playing in the majority (cess)pool to kiss former colleagues' asses all day long? Who are you kidding? The Dems may sweep the House, but there's likely to be as little turnover in private Washington in 2007 as there was in 2001.

So skanky? Sure. Whore? I prefer slut, but if it makes you feel better about yourself, go right on ahead. Republican? Political affiliation requires belief and/or values, and I've got neither.

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