I Really Get a Dirty Mind
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:everyone here is full of shit.
So, when Hillary Clinton defends taking contributions from lobbyists because they're just ordinary folks, is she just full of it and can we assume she's more interested in maintaining the status quo?
Well, I mean, I am a citizen and I do vote and technically have the right of free expression, which the Supreme Court has ruled includes giving money to politicians. On the other hand, not that many people completely uninvolved in politics really like giving money to politicians to do stupid crap with- whether it's political donations or taxes- so there's definitely an interest in keeping our money flowing. So, yes, politicians do enjoy the fundraising status quo (note, please, how they didn't touch it in their ethics "reforms") and, on the other, they might not be allowed to touch legally my ability to give.
But, if you want to see who is really full of it, check out the politicians who grandstand against taking money from lobbyists. I mean, Obama won't take money from registered federal lobbyists, but some of his fundraisers were lobbyists or hire lobbyists and he sure as hell took money from lobbyists before, and he still takes money from Illinois state lobbyists. And Edwards who is really vocal on this issue also takes money from state lobbyists and "former" lobbyists, and he takes a ton of money from trial lawyers, who everyone knows are quite well represented in Washington. Both of them accept money from people who work at lobbying firms, even if they aren't technically "lobbyists" according to the legal definition.
So who is really full of it? It's Washington, honey -- everyone here is full of shit. They're trying to get elected, remember? No one elects politicians who tell the truth all the time because the truth isn't what most people want to hear. They want to hear that God had blessed American and thet we're the greatest nation on earth and that all our problems can be easily solved with x, y, or z, which I'll do if elected.
You work at least hard enough to impress your boss and get a raise now and then; dress the part; show up on time for the big moments (fund-raisers, meetings with the best clients, et al); and yet, in your reports you let on that men still use that slimy sex-as-a-joke-but-not-really come-on that's farcical but not if you say yes. It seems that times haven't changed much (not that D.C. is any different than the rest of the country/world), but it IS, in fact, D.C. It presumably is a respectable firm dealing with very serious clients and the Fucking U.S. Congress and you'd think some propriety would gain traction somewhere. I mean, does Nancy Pelosi have to put up with bad blow job jokes during backroom deliberations? Laura Bush?
Well, I guess I would start by saying that D.C. is a foul-mouthed fucking city, period. New Yorkers have a reputation for being a bunch of potty-mouthed blowhards, but a quick survey of my friends in New York leads me to believe that Washingtonians cuss at work far more than our Northern counterparts (notably, none of those I asked work in the media/for Nick Denton, so it might be a slightly biased sample). When I started my first job on the Hill, I did the whole demure polite thing (yes, I was faking it) and about my second day, there was some fire drill and the LD and the LAs were all running around and people were cursing a blue streak (including the Member) and I thought, wow, I really do belong in this swamp of a city. I've taken work calls in front of my family and had them be shocked to hear me cussing back jokingly at some lobbyist who is asking me "what the fuck is up?", and I believe I've even told potential employers in job interviews that I'm kind of a bitch. When Cheney told Leahy to go fuck himself, I'm not sure anyone in D.C. (including Leahy) thought it was altogether that shocking (sorta like the kids I was in college with in 1998- and a number of politicians of both parties- didn't consider a blow job to be sex), but the rest of the country seemed to disagree.
So, you sort of have to understand that the political culture is, by and large, very locker room. So, yes, men are still using the passive-aggressive approach of joking about sex to come onto women as a way to maybe get laid but save their egos from rejection, and some of it happens in a work context. It's rather difficult for me to play the shrinking violet and be offended, but I can laugh it off because at least most of them are giving me the opening to laugh it off. It's the more direct and creepy ones that I don't like to deal with, because then I have to be more conscious of my reaction and their egos and the power differential involved.
And for Nancy and Laura, I would seriously doubt that anyone lobs BJ jokes at Laura, but Nancy grew up steeped in politics and clawed her way to the top of a rather messy heap. She might not have to deal with that shit anymore, given her age and position, but I wouldn't doubt that she has dealt with in the past, and can probably give as good as she gets in that department. She's not Speaker of the House because she's a sweet, demure older lady, and you don't get very far in this town if you're easily offended.