Ask a Lobbyist: Ruining Our Country
Sure, it seems like we're full of bile and rage and mockery, but really, we're all about the greater good here at Wonkette. That's why every Wednesday, we present our civic-minded look at life on the Hill, Ask a Lobbyist. Our Anonymous Lobbyist is ready and willing to answer all your questions about how to work over a representative's underpaid staff (or anything else you might be curious about).
This week, race, sex, and underaged tail. And fundraising! All that and more, after the jump.
Since most congressmen are old, white men, does it help to be a young female of a different ethnicity? Wouldn't this spice up the "lobbying effort" for the congressmen? After all, the southern blonde debs are a dime a dozen back in the district.
Well, first off, Southern blonde debs might be a dime a dozen... in Southern districts. But not all districts are Southern. And I resent the implication that I'm Southern, blonde or a debutante. Like an overdeveloped sense of entitlement, worship of the almighty Dollar and amorality are not limited to blondes, Southerners or debs -- hello, we're all Americans here.
So, yes, and no. Men generally like variety, but the older they get, the more they cling to the familiar. But, not all of them are that old (and some of them are actually reasonably spongeworthy), so, you know, if you got it, work it. I wouldn't say it hurts to be of a different ethnicity -- in Washington it certainly makes you stick out, which helps when there are like 30,000 of you.
Are the women in slinky dresses hanging around the bar at Capital Grille high-end call girls, or just really committed lobbyists?
Okay, perv, take your eyes off the high school girls. Lobbyists stick to the uniform (black suit and pumps), since we go office to event, and call girls don't hang around the Capitol Grille waiting for the lame tourists and their wives. It is, however, a popular way for your average high school boy with wealthy parents to try to get in some girl's pants. So look away before your date notices.
How do you list "47 half-and-half's, outcall" on an IRS return?
Um, someone knows a little too much about prostitute terms. I had to google those, and then scrub my eyes with bleach, run a serious anti-virus and spy-ware remover and re-format my hard drive. Thanks, asshole.
What is the most effective method for lobbying members of Congress these days? Dinner at Mortons? Golf? Hookers? Fact-finding missions to Orlando?
Sadly, most Members had this revelation in the last year that (shockers!) constituents might think the dinners at Mortons and the Orlando fact-finding missions looked like bribes -- although, with everyone doing it, it sorta leveled the field more than gained anybody a particular advantage. But it's an election year. Show up at a shitty fundraiser, turn over an absurdly large check, and then pretend like you're cool when he points you to a Legislative Correspondent to talk about your issue. In an election year, there's nothing that compares to the Siren Song of Campaign Cash to get a Member's attention, especially when their family members are employed by their PAC (and I'd link to one, but there are far too many).
Do lobbyists have any say in signing statements? It seems like going after the one guy who writes the real laws would be more effective than going after the 535 who write the pretend ones.
Dude, who do you think came up with the idea, Bush? If you thought that was possible, you wouldn't be asking.
I mean, I've never gotten that deep in the muck (totally fucks up my shoes), but you're right in theory. Unfortunately, in practice, for most of the crap lobbyists care about, signing statements are too general to make a difference. On the big, feel-good bills Congress likes to pass, sure, great, Bush/Rove can play around with those, but on a pension reform bill, or an appropriations bill? That shit doesn't work. So, while we would all in theory love to be able to get our issues dealt with by dealing with one person, I can't go running to the White House and get something important to me changed by a signing statement.
Plus, it's good in theory, if everyone agrees on the issues -- which lobbyists don't. What we know is how to work 535 elected representatives and the other 30,000 lobbyists against one another to try to come up with the result we individually want. The diffuse nature of political power actually makes it easier for me to do my job, rather than have to engage in a dick-measuring context at 1600 Penn, which I'll lose.
Can you think of any reason Congress shouldn't have taken the last six years as vacation?
I like being employed.
What's the lifespan/turnover rate of a lobbyist? Don't get me wrong, this all sounds grand and shit, but ruining our country gets repetitive. At some point you have to look out for yourself. I mean, at least the bastards on Wall Street can buy you shit, and the pay is better.
My job does get repetitive. However, so does i-banking and trading. Ugh. At least Congress members talk about something other than the front page of the Wall Street Journal and how much cash they're pulling down. And the pay's not terribly better in New York, but the cost of living is higher and the hours are far worse.
But the turnover rate in lobbyist Washington is pretty much the same as in regular Washington. Our companies don't generally show us any more loyalty than they do anyone else, and they're happy to hire the next piece of young ass for shit money rather than giving us raises. So we jump around looking for better money, but not necessarily because we're bored with ruining the country. That never gets old.