A new poster depicts President Bush speaking on the floor of Congress. Or is it the stock exchange trading floor? Or is it really both? Produced by Public Campaign, which works for campaign finance reform, the poster includes thirteen charts detailing how big corporate campaign contributions from leading industries are buying America, what they are getting for their political investments and what the rest of us pay in higher taxes, dirty air and water, billions lost from our retirement funds, and the like.
When voters elect a Representative they also are frequently launching the education and career of a future corporate lobbyist. Don't pity the retired or (rarely) defeated incumbent because their truly lucrative political career just begins when they join the ranks of millionaire lobbyists. "Dick
Armey, the departing House majority leader, summarized the
situation in his usual succinct style when he was asked on
Friday how much money he would be making in his new job
starting this week at Piper Rudnick, a law firm with a
"The expressions of concern about the nation's safety by Mr.
Bush's prospective challengers, voiced in interviews,
speeches and television appearances over the last three
weeks, suggest that the focus of the Democratic White House
candidates in 2004 will go well beyond the traditional
Democratic fare of education, the economy, jobs and health
care. While so far the criticisms lack many specifics beyond
asking for more money for police agencies or the creation
of an additional intelligence force, campaign aides said
"The momentum that ended in Trent Lott's resignation yesterday as the Senate majority leader did not, primarily, come from the traditional behemoths of the US media - the New York Times, the Washington Post and the main TV news networks," observes Oliver Burkeman. Those publications initially failed to report on Lott's racist comments at Strom Thurmond's birthday party. "In the interim, writers on numerous weblogs, or 'blogs,' were condemning the remarks - and swiftly uncovering evidence of a pattern in Mr.
Getting caught in a scandal isn't necessarily bad for a public official's career these days. "Many in business - as well as old Washington hands - who have had their names tarnished and reputations sullied have discovered that there is life in the private sector after public disgrace, and a potentially profitable one at that," reports Leslie Wayne. "Many corporations are willing to overlook an ethical lapse or a subpar performance and put those with Washington expertise on their boards, to use them as lobbyists or to make them partners in business deals." For example:
A University of Southern California shows that local television newscasts have been barely covering the 2002 campaign. As a result, candidates are forced to spend all their time "dialing for dollars" from big campaign donors so they can promote themselves through paid advertising. "They don't go to talking to people. They don't do the kinds of visits to public fora that they used to, because they know it's a total waste of time," says Martin Kaplan of USC's Annenberg School for Communication.
A memorandum from top spinmeisters provides advice, based on opinion polls, as to how Democratic Party members of Congress can explain their votes on the resolution giving President Bush the green light to attack Iraq -- whether the Democrat voted for or against war. According to the New York Times, the memo from Stan Greenberg, James Carville and Bob Shrum contains such advice as "An opponent of the Iraq resolution can run competitively
with the Republican proponent, when he or she affirms
A recent opinion poll shows that many Americans have serious misgivings about the war fever that currently dominates Washington politics. "A majority of Americans say that the nation's economy is in its worst shape in nearly a decade and that President Bush and Congressional leaders are spending too much time talking about Iraq while neglecting problems at home," reports the New York Times. "The number of Americans who approved of the way Mr.
After Al Gore spoke out against war with Iraq, media pundits like Morton Kondracke and Linda Chavez outdid themselves inventing "disturbing contradictions" in his statements, raising questions about his motives and avoiding the merits of his arguments. "Remember -- the pursuit of facts plays almost no role in our devolving pundit culture," writes Bob Somerby."What does your pundit corps try to get right? They try to get their scripted spins right."