Run on the K Street Project
by Chris Bowers, Mon Sep 19, 2005 at 08:43:20 AM EDT
K Street in Washington DC is where the big lobbying firms have their headquarters and is sometimes refered to as the fourth branch of government. Lobbying firms have great influence in U.S. national politics due to monetary resources and the revolving door policy of hiring former government officials. It is common practice for politicians to request money for lobbying firms for an exchange in better access to officials and to buy favoritism in policies.
Historically, K Street hires top ex-politicians from both major parties since party in power can vary between elections and among the legislative and executive branches in government.
During most of the George W. Bush administration, the Republican party had majority control of both houses of Congress, in addition to control of the White House. Thomas D. DeLay of the House, Rick Santorum of the Senate, and Grover Norquist took this opportunity to expand the K Street Project by pressuring major lobbying firms to hire only Republicans in any new or open positions.In political circles, there is nothing particuarly secretive about this project. In additio0n to siezing control of the national policy agenda and expanding the corporate welfare state, the basic goal is to funnel as much money as possible to Republican operatives, and to simultaneously thin out the bench of Demcoratic politcal operatives as much as possible. However, that basically the entire Republican leadership in Washington is overtly trying to make the profession of lobbying as Republican domianted as possible is not well known the the public at all.
I can't imagine that the electorate would develop a more positive impression of the Republican Party if it knew they were trying to do this. The word "lobbyist" is not exactly the most popular term with the electorate. A national advertising and media campaign to publicize the Republican K Street project would go a long way toward branding Republicans as the party of "special interests" and "lobbyists," putting them on the defensive in one of their strongest areas of attacks against Democrats. It would actually be a brilliant, ironic twist: use one of Rove's main tactics, attack your opponent's strength, against one of Rove's most successful projects, the K Street project. Such a sweeping attack would generate a lot of free meida, and force Republican to respond. And even thoguh they tend to not discuss it with the press, it's not like Republicans are secretive about this campaign, so it would be, um, hard for them to deny they are doing it.
Branding ourselves is obviusly important. Branding Republicans won't hurt, however, and this will go a logn way toward accomplishing that goal. Even better, it is a type of reform agenda that will attract the main swing voters in this country, and that we can all agree to run on. Let's use it.