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: are movies sometimes... inaccurate??
Have you seen the movie Thank You for Smoking and, if so, which parts about DC did you consider to be the most hilarious and/or unrealistic?
I did see it, and it was pretty funny. But as for unrealistic, I had a number of complaints:
* 1. Aaron Eckhart's hair. The standard issue lobbyist hair is far shorter, particularly on the sides, and often grey, and usually thin(ning). Think more David Koechner, or Bobby Haircut, or, for the young Turks, Eric Murphy. But no seasoned, senior lobbyist type is all long haired and highlighted up like that. D.C. is far too buttoned up.
* 2. Naylor's condo. While his wife's home was totally Reston cookie cutter development appropriate, the condo stock around here is all very cookie cutter and there's not a lot of luxury Asian styling going on. No beige carpet, gas fireplace and neighbors that can hear you fucking? Then it's not in D.C.. The hallway seemed appropriate, though.
* 3. Talking out of school while screwing the hot, much younger reporter. I mean, men do stupid things for pussy, no doubt (and women do equally stupid things for boys). But no hot, wealthy and well-known lobbyist is without a ready supply of easy-to-access and much younger tail (and most of the ugly ones have it easy, too), and they all know to watch their mouths with reporters, Hill staff and fellow lobbyists because they like their money better than the tail. So, I found it completely unrealistic that the doe-eyed little ingénue got him to talk just by fucking him. That guy would have to schedule her in, were he actually here in D.C., and they would be interrupted by his next appointment.
Are you actually a lobbyist, or just a right wing shill? I mean, even if you are, so much the better. They don't have any true moral outrage either.
After the success of the K Street Project, being a lobbyist and a right-wing shill are far from mutually exclusive. But, in my own case, I'm just a plain lobbyist. Right wing shills generally shill well because they (mostly) buy their own bullshit and make good money off it. I lobby for policy shit, stupid though it may be, and the right may/may not be a fan of it, so I don't technically shill for anyone but my clients during the day. If my only help is on the right, my career and my clients would be up shit creek right now (like my idiot boss's), and my career is far, far more important to me than any political ideology. But, that lack of coherent ideology other than my own success does explain my complete lack of moral outrage pretty well.
As sexually frustrated as I get every Wednesday refreshing Wonkette to catch your post, it does ring of a former naïveté. Right or Wrong? And how prevalent, if at all, is this "former naïveté" among lobbyists in general.
Well, um, first off, thanks, I guess, but I'd suggest that's more about the Snorg Girl than it is about me.
Former naïveté is probably a good way to describe it. While maybe not everyone does come down here to do something Big and Important or to Serve Their Country, there's definitely a large percentage of those types and I'm not going to pretend like I wasn't one of them. I was enthralled by the whole walk-up government idea and the whole-making-the-country-a-better-place idea and I thought it would be really cool to come down here and help change the world.
But, you know, changing the world seems like a great idea at 22. And then you get a job on the Hill and spend your days answering constituent letters or calling the Social Security Administration or mailing flags, and you take the Metro home to Ramen noodles and 3 crazy roommates (and their boyfriends/one night stands), and the veil falls away between you and your elected leaders and you realize that they're all as venal and petty and concerned with popularity contests as the average American and they've all pretty much give up on setting the world on fire, and you start to wonder for whom you're actually eating Mac&Cheese and buying suits at Marshalls, anyway. A bunch of nameless constituents? Love, honor and country? Whatever. So, it wasn't any particular event that made me lost the naïveté I came here with, just a couple of years of soul-crushing boredom and inability to do anything I could justify as remotely important and then the move over to this side of the policy fence, where it's just as soul-crushingly boring some days and only vaguely disheartening others but it pays better and there's no expectation that I am making a difference to anyone but my own bottom line. Maybe that's just growing up, though.
As for other lobbyists, it's a toss up scenario, depending on the lobbyist (and, to a lesser degree, issue area). Some people still think they're doing something Good and Important- you know, people who works for causes, mostly, but some who have drunk the company Kool Aid, too- and then the rest of us just look at it as a way to do something vaguely interesting that pays the bills. I think if you work in the sausage factory, you either become a vegetarian or you eat sausage all the time because it's what you know.