Your Blogmeister’s Desk
I have come up with another theory why the RINOs and the Republican establishment wants more than anything else in the world, with the exception of amnesty and open borders, wants to crush the Tea Party Movement, especially its propensity to challenge RINOs and establishmentarians in Republican primaries and on occasion beat them.
One thing I quickly learned from my first full Missouri legislative session as a cub lobbyist is that the lobbyists that make the big bucks are the ones who have some sort of social currency with the existing politicians. This is why I couldn’t figure out why the people who hired Kit Bond to lobby Republicans in the General Assembly to do Medicaid expansion were so hot on Kit Bond. First off, he looks barely one step over warmed over death these days. For another, and more importantly, he hasn’t had an elected political job in Jefferson City since 1984, and when he left the U.S. Senate in 2010, he was quickly forgotten, and nobody but the D.C. liquor stores missed him. Helping that along was that his replacement, Roy Blunt, was pretty much a letter-for-letter drop-in replacement for Bond, except for the alcohol consumption habits. Did the people who hired Kit Bond to lobby for Medicaid expansion think that Bond still had some great social capital to spend among state legislators who, thanks to term limits, turn over pretty quickly now?
The Federal government has lot more power than and spends a lot more money than the Missouri state government. Therefore, the swarm of lobbyists around Washington, D.C. is far more intense than around Jefferson City, Missouri. Furthermore, there are no term limits on Federal legislators. Add all those factors together and what you get is a constant self-perpetuating club divided into only two parties and two chambers of people that comprise bodies with a low rate of turnover. Therefore, lobbyists have a lot easier job in Washington because they have a far easier time leveraging relationships and spending social capital in order to accomplish something the lobbyist’s clients want.
Take Eric Cantor. If he takes some seven-figure lobbying job starting in January, whoever gives him that big salary isn’t giving to him as a gift or a lifetime achievement award or a sinecure. The firm who hires him has clients that wants things from the Federal government, and the firm is going to expect Cantor to leverage his personal relationships with House Republican leadership (which, as you notice, hasn’t really substantively changed after his resignation from it), and with other key House Republicans, to push certain bills along or to hold back certain bills.
Let’s look in the other party. I don’t know if she still is anymore, but Linda Daschle, wife of former Senate Minority/Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), was a big money lobbyist for the airline industry. Why did the airline industry think her services so valuable? Because she shared a bed with the man who had very serious control over Democrats in the Senate. Even when Tom Daschle himself lost his bid for re-election 2004, Linda Daschle’s lobbying services were still valuable and still were going to be for awhile, because there were still a bunch of Senate Democrats remaining who would accept the social currency that Tom Daschle had in his wallet. Eventually it would wear out, as Democrat Senators lose re-election bids, or retire, or die in office, but for awhile, Linda Daschle can still make money.
If the voting public develops the habit to start turning out stodgy establishmentarian incumbents in their own party’s primaries, this would mean that the Federal House and Senate would start seeing frequent turnover in its membership. That means that you wouldn’t have incumbents being able to hang around for years and years and decades and decades, and social relationships, clubs and cliques among them would be far more ephemeral, and therefore, lobbyists wouldn’t be able to exploit and manipulate them for the benefit of their clients.
If you’re a well placed Republican establishment-type incumbent in the House and Senate, the last thing you want is for all this voting-out-incumbents thing to get out of hand, because then it would decrease your own value to lobbyist firms after your own political career is over. If the Tea Party Movement keeps the turnover rate among House Republicans high with their anti-incumbent fervor, then who will ever want to hire John Boehner for $1 million or more a year after he leaves Congress, when he’ll have no social leverage over existing House Republican members?
The Republican establishment was fine with the TPM when they were only doing street theater, dressing up in Minuteman costumes and screaming slogans. It’s only when they started involving themselves in intra-Republican electoral politics that they started raging against it. Now you know why. Similarly, if the Occutards would have ever come to realize that camping out in tents had its limits, and they would have taken the next step and involved themselves in intra-Democrat electoral politics, the Democrat establishment would be similarly gunning for their heads right now.