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Ask a Lobbyist: Define 'Fraud'

Every week, our Anonymous Lobbyist answers your questions about how laws get made and why they probably shouldn't. If you have a question about the dirty business of doing business in Washington, ask her.


This week: a trip to the hate-mail folder!

When you travel outside of the Beltway, if you do, to people find your smug, cynical, self-referential, self-loathing, know-it-all attitude attractive or just pathetic?

Well, I didn't grow up around here and I don't take my vacations in Bethesda or Alexandria, so I rather obviously travel outside the Beltway. But I do have multiple personalities, like most people who work in D.C.- one for work and one for fun. Hill staff may be as cynical and self-interested as I am, but it doesn't pay legislative dividends to walk into their offices with my actual bad attitude- there, it's their asses that need attention, not mine, and I have to pretend like I like them and the ass-kissing. So, making people believe that I'm not a smug, cynical, self-loathing knowitall is actually part of the job.

Lobbyists, like sales people, get paid to get along with people for a living, and it's a skill rather easily applied to the rest of my non-working existence. If people I meet on vacations ask what I do (which they don't, because I vacation outside the Beltway, and no one cares about that shit elsewhere in the country), I can just smile and say I'm in sales and change the subject if I want to continue the conversation or cop to my actual job if I don't. So, I don't know how people feel about my attitude, since I don't generally run around in a T-shirt that says "Smug, cynical, know-it-all, self-loathing lobbyist" with a arrow pointed at my face. I mean, my parents still like me and our (now divorced) neighbor always stares at my tits when I visit them and tries to talk to me, so I can't be that bad.

Does travel outside of the Beltway, unless encased in a convention/boondoggle/etc. coffin, result in your burning into ash like a vampire?

Well, I can totally get out to the Walmart in Fair Oaks with a minimum of the burnt hair smell or even sulfur odor. And there are no more boondoggles for me to go on, not that they let girls on the golf ones anyway.

Aren't you as much of the problem as every slimy, self-absorbed twit who thinks his position as LD for Congressman Diddledick entitles him to sexually harass female lobbyists?

Because I take advantage of the situation I have, rather than waiting around for the one I want? I don't think I'm going to walk into a room for another 10 years or so without the possibility that some guy will look at my tits. And looking is different than staring/ogling, which is harassing. But a couple of surreptitious looks doesn't make a dude a creepy sexual harasser, and it is human nature to pay more attention to that which is attractive than that which fades into the background. So, I don't think wearing a fitted business suit and a pair of nice heels and showing some mild cleavage in a business meeting means that the guy I met with is going to demand sex from me or the next woman he meets with or the secretary by the front desk.

Frankly, the really creepy motherfuckers in the world who do sexually harass women often don't bother with me because, despite all my efforts, I still project a don't-fuck-with-me kind of attitude a good part of the time- and serious harassment is about control as much if not more than sex . And any Harassing Hillies out there get found out pretty early, and end up being completely ineffective besides because they walk around with hard-ons all day (and thus without enough northern blood flow to correctly do their jobs).

But, I'll get in your time machine back to the 80s if you want. I'm sure that every woman who gets sexually harassed gets harassed because of how we dress. 'Cause, you know, we're asking for it when we look good.

Are you a fraud?

In what sense? I mean, when I'm around Republicans I pretend like they're the "good" ones, and when I'm around Democrats, I'm totally excited about the change in leadership. When I'm at work, I pretend to be competent, and when I write this column, I let it out that I hate my job and think all politicians are pretentious heads of hair with shiny white teeth surrounded by over-educated entitled syncophants. So, yeah, I'm faking it most of the time at work, but so's everyone else, so I'm not sure how that's fraudulent. Congressional staff totally make fun of constituent letters and hate going to meetings (and sometimes think that their bosses are idiots), Congress members abhor the scene at fundraisers and pander to their constituents because they think they aren't smart enough to handle the truth, my assistant hates me but needs a recommendation to get ahead and I work with lobbyists everyday who dislike me but have to be nice to me. Civilization functions best when everyone's a fraud.

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