Today's Sermon: Obama, The Baby & The Bath Water
Fact: Not all lobbyists are evil.
WASHINGTON -- Everyone knows the First Amendment protects freedom of religion, speech, press and assembly. How many remember that, in addition, the First Amendment protects a fifth freedom -- to lobby?
Of course it doesn't use the word lobby. It calls it the right "to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." Lobbyists are people hired to do that for you, so that you can actually stay home with the kids and remain gainfully employed rather than spend your life in the corridors of Washington.
To hear the candidates in this presidential campaign, you'd think lobbying is just one notch below waterboarding, a black art practiced by the great malefactors of wealth to keep the middle class in a vise and loose upon the nation every manner of scourge: oil dependency, greenhouse gases, unpayable mortgages and those tiny entrees you get at French restaurants.
Lobbying is constitutionally protected, but that doesn't mean we have to like it all. Let's agree to frown upon bad lobbying, such as getting a tax break for a particular industry. Let's agree to welcome good lobbying -- the actual redress of a legitimate grievance -- such as protecting your home from being turned to dust to make way for some urban development project.
Case in point: Is lobbying congress to provide tissue regeneration recovery help for wounded soldiers evil?
It is if you're Barack H. Obama, and your campaign has established a zero-tolerance policy concerning ALL LOBBYISTS. Which brings us to...
Obama disinvited 'lobbyist' Cleland
Former Georgia Sen. Max Cleland was an icon of Sen. John Kerry’s 2004 campaign, a badly wounded war hero who lost his seat, Kerry deplored, after a television advertising campaign questioned his commitment to national security.
But to the Obama campaign, Cleland has another qualification: Registered lobbyist.
So Cleland — despite his iconic status — was abruptly disinvited from appearing with Obama in Atlanta July 8, three sources familiar with the incident said.
"This was a hard decision regarding Senator Cleland," said Obama's deputy campaign manager, Steve Hildebrand, in an email. He cited Obama's policy of banning lobbyists from participating in fundraising or giving money.
"If we make exceptions, we will open ourselves to criticism," he said.
Cleland has told associates he was asked to appear at an Obama fundraising event in Atlanta on July 8, only to be told at the last minute that he wouldn’t be welcome.
The policy has been a key symbol of Obama’s outsider status, but many Democrats have also quietly questioned whether it goes too far when prominent party figures like Cleland, who an associate said has never actually lobbied in Washington, are left out in the cold on a technicality.
Cleland is registered to lobby for a company whose products are aimed at helping soldiers recover more quickly from battlefield injuries, Tissue Regeneration Technologies.
“Sen. Cleland is definitely not doing lobbying work. He gives speeches and campaigns for a few friends, but mostly he’s spending his time taking care of his father," said Cleland advisor John Marshall, who said that Tissue Regeneration Technologies was the only company on whose behalf he lobbies.
Evidently, Obama is too afraid to stand on principle.
Too afraid to point out the difference between a bridge to nowhere and wounded soldier after-care.
Too afraid to be seen with a multiple-amputee whose only "lobbying" activity is helping wounded soldiers.
Heaviest of sighs.
Thus endeth today's sermon.
Go forth today and pay attention to the derogatory language used by both major political parties to describe lobbyists, particularly during this election season.
Or, at least, just think about it.
I mean it, damn it.
Number of days since Donna Brazile promised to leave the party if superdelegates decided the Dem nominee:
Donna has known for a long time now that superdelegates would be necessary for any Dem candidate to win the nomination this year. Ask Donna when she intends to keep her promise.
Don't hold your breath awaiting a reply.
"For the great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as though they were realities, and are often more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are."
-Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527)
Best bar bet in the world: Delilah didn't do it.
Judges 16:19-- And she made him (Samson) sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head.