Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Official Blog.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Hillary and lobbyists the emerging story

So the emerging traditional media narrative from the Yearly Kos presidential forum is that Hillary defended lobbyists. It's an interesting and probably smart move on her part. Not exactly "Sista Souljah" but she was both nice and mean to the Dirty Hippie Bloggers:
CHICAGO - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton refused Saturday to forsake campaign donations from lobbyists, turning aside challenges from her two main rivals with a rare defense of the special interest industry.

"A lot of those lobbyists, whether you like it or not, represent real Americans, they actually do," Clinton said, drawing boos and hisses from liberal bloggers at the second Yearly Kos convention.

Despite their own infatuations with special interest money, former Sen. John Edwards and Sen. Barack Obama put Clinton on the spot during a debate that featured seven of the eight major Democratic presidential candidates. They fielded questions from a crowd of 1,500 bloggers, most of them liberal. The gathering marked another advancement for the rising new wing of the Democratic Party, the so-called netroots.
What's hard to get at in the discussion of "special interests" is any sense of the relative power held by different industries and lobbying groups. The argument always seems to break down on that point.

Big Pharma is a lot more powerful than some two person shop advocating for human rights, for example.

While it's true that there is some responsiveness in the system, it's also true that we still live in a media environment that whip-saws the public around based on the latest big story/outrage/GOP talking point.

To exaggerate and distort for effect, in summer 2001 the Kill the Sharks Lobby had scored a great PR coup. Today, all tragedy duly noted, the Build Better Bridges Association is doing well. Tomorrow, who knows. The Republican Party is sadly expert at glomming on to tragedy.

This is no way to make public policy. In any case, all the candidates endorsed in principle the idea of public financing of campaigns, with Clinton correctly noting it would take a Constitutional amendment.

Frankly, I'm still leery of a Clinton nomination, but she's done well lately. I didn't see anyone on that stage (admittedly via choppy video link) that can beat her. Just offering my impression. We have some very fine candidates, but Clinton is still the one to beat, IMHO.

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