Ask a Lobbyist: The Five Members You Meet in Seven Minutes in Heaven
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: Guilt vs. Lust. Like that's even a contest.
Do lobbyists ever feel guilty?
Well, I can't swear that no lobbyist ever feels guilty, but I certainly don't. Why would I? Did I design the system? Make Americans stop paying attention? Do I keep them from voting? Do I set out each day to ruin lives? Hell, no. I spend my day like any other salesperson, running around and trying to make someone buy my product. I don't have to twist arms or throw (too much) money at people, I don't even have to lie or misrepresent the "truth" (as though there is some objective truth), I can simply lay out a case and let other people decide. But maybe other people feel guilty -- some people do stop lobbying and go onto careers as Congress Members.
Do you revel at the challenge of lobbying for a really despicable cause/company ala the MOD squad in Thank you for Smoking? Cigarette companies, oil mining in Alaska, baby seal clubbing etc?
Well, I suppose if I had an actual work ethic and wanted a challenge or something, I might enjoy the challenge of lobbying for something despicable like baby seal clubbing. On the other hand, it was my intellectual laziness, distaste for effort and desire for money that led me to lobbying. If I thought that lobbying for God's love could make me money... Shit, wait, that apparently pays $80,000/year. Damn, am I getting screwed. I could totally work less hard than I do.
But, no, I don't necessarily enjoy lobbying for something distasteful, unless it pays really well. And, generally, if it is truly distasteful, it does pay better, and everyone understands that winning is unlikely. So, I can basically make more money and the expectations of the person signing my paychecks will be low. In that case, yeah, I do revel in it. Baby seals have it coming, anyway.
How much time do you spend schmoozing your clients versus actual lobbying?
Depends on how much hand-holding and ego stroking the clients need to keep paying the bills. In some cases, lobbyists hire other lobbyists, and in other cases, the clients are business people that need help, or they're issue people (non profits, etc.) that need assistance and sometimes you run coalitions on a issue and get to deal with a mix of all of those. Some clients know what you do and don't want to meet all the time to talk about it, and some want to micromanage your work, some want you to pay homage on a regular basis to the mighty paycheck signer... it just depends. I prefer not to deal with the idiots that need to be told how important they are- I already have to do that with Congress people and staffers, and too much ass kissing in a day makes my breath stink regardless of how many Altoids I pop.
Are there any congresspersons you would consider MILF's (Members I'd Like to Fuck)? If so, who?
Well, let me be the first to admit that my taste in men is somewhat unorthodox. Plus,Washington is Hollywood for ugly people, so the pickings are a bit slim. And, any man that's told all the time that he's fabulous (like any pretty and/or mamas boy) is usually a terrible lay, and goodness knows Congress Members have some of the largest egos around. But, if I'm picking based on looks alone compared to the pickings in D.C. and I don't have to listen to them talk about their own wonderousness, here's my round-up of the closest thing to MILFs we got here:
3. Paul Ryan. The man may not photograph worth shit, but he's definitely attractive in person. Shame he knows it, though. Nothing less attractive in a guy you're letting on the list for being a cute nerd than a cute nerd who thinks he's God's gift.
4. Kevin McCarthy. A little full through the chin, maybe, but he doesn't look like a complete tool when he doesn't smile. Another one who's better off staying quiet if he wants to be attractive.
5. David Dreier. What? Just because I don't have the right equipment doesn't mean he can't make the list. And who doesn't love a Congresstwink?