Ask a Lobbyist: Peace! Land! Bread! Circuses!

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: This whole "government" thing is pretty much like The Matrix, right? Plus: Viva ingl├ęs!

People are always ragging on you influence peddlers under the assumption that the industry is crooked and at least partially responsible for everything that's wrong with america. that isn't really true though, is it? wouldn't these asshole lawmakers be sort of pissing into the wind without you people?

So, this question was written by one of my colleagues who lacks practice at cursing in print but wanted me to defend the profession and figured cursing was the only way to get published on Wonkette. Yeah, I know who you are. You write into Birnbaum's chats, too.

Elected officials make laws as a side-job, so I wouldn't call 'em lawmakers. They're politicians, and they're here for the purpose of politicking. The relationship between politicians and lobbyists is certainly mutually exploitative, as they love our campaign contributions and any politically useful information we might provide, and we use our access to them to further our careers and (occasionally) the interests of our employers. That they're technically voting on bills that may or may not become laws and that we're technically trying to influence their votes is kind of secondary.

And I wouldn't say they're pissing in the wind without us, exactly -- if they bothered to hire more staff, pay them properly or cared to work/pay attention, they might be able to have an understanding of the issues and debate surrounding every one of the nearly 10,000 bills that are introduced every year. We're more like the CliffsNotes for Members/staff -- where we are, there's someone paying attention, and we usually come right before/after our opposition, so they know what's "important" and what the sides are saying. This allows them to focus on the really important things, like campaign fundraising, jockeying for leadership positions and doing press stuff to try to garner public attention to get re-elected.

do you, as many of us out here do, feel that the republic is already bought & paid for & that the rest of this democracy clap-trap is just bread and circuses to keep the rest of us busy while big business lines it's pockets?

Ah, yes, the anti-corporate activist crowd makes their pitch for Wonkette readers' attention, with little attention to capitalization, grammar or appropriate punctuation. First off, anyone who uses the phrases "clap-trap" and "bread and circuses" is definitely over 60. So, Grandpa, congrats on bridging the digital divide to read a blog!

But, no, I don't think that our political system is part of some Marxist superstructure intended to keep the proletariat distracted while the bourgeois capitalists really run everything (and I've probably read more Marx than you and your aging hippie buddies, too). Our government is far too messy and half-assed for that to be close to true. Believe me, if the government were already bought and paid for then my job would be a hell of a lot easier (and, in fact, I probably wouldn't have one, because why pay for me and the government, too?).

However, I do know that most people don't vote and the rest don't pay attention to who they're voting for anyway, and politicians spend most of their time in office trying to get re-elected rather than actually serving their constituents in any substantive way. So, fixing what's wrong with our government doesn't require the proletariat to rise up against their bourgeois overlords. It does, however, require that Americans take the rights and responsibilities of their citizenship seriously and treat politics and elections with thoughtfulness and care. So, really, I guess a proletariat uprising is probably easier. I'll be watching for your pitchforks.

What would it take for English to made the Official Language of the United States in 2007?

Who knew Wonkette had readers in the UP and Montana?

To get English made the official language, I suggest building a time machine, heading back to 2005 or early 2006, implementing a plan to make the Republican party look less corrupt and incompetent (a Sisyphean task at best), which would allow them to win the election. I'd then suggest you convince Bush and Ken Mehlman (who'd still be RNC Chair) that it's a good idea to alienate their potential future voting base, or, alternately, get your type to breed more little anti-immigrant flag-wavers to compete with our Latino voters for demographic dominance. And then convince a majority of Americans that the cost and effort involved in your little plan is necessary and that it's in no way bigoted or an effort to distance America from its roots as an immigrant nation. Then you can get it passed. You've got 355 days left in 2007. You may want to get to work, if that's not too hard for you- though, if it is, I'll bet you can hire undocumented workers to carry out your plan, and cheap, too!

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