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Mitt Romney and 'Money'

When you think of Mitt Romney, you probably think of a tall, robotic fellow with no discernible strong beliefs or stances (at least, none that can survive longer than a week at a time). That's terribly unfair, and you should be ashamed for thinking it. He may have started out as an empty husk devoid of strong personal beliefs, but thanks to a crack team of industry insiders, he now is quite filled with opinions. Coincidentally, they happen to be the opinions of an army of top lobbyists in Washington, and the companies they lobby for. Funny how that works.

[Mitt Romney's] kitchen cabinet includes some of the most prominent Republican lobbyists in Washington, including Charles R. Black Jr., the chairman of Prime Policy Group and a lobbyist for Walmart and AT&T; Wayne L. Berman, who is chairman of Ogilvy Government Relations and represents Pfizer, the drug manufacturer; and Vin Weber, the managing partner for Clark & Weinstock. [...]

Other lobbyists serve on one of Mr. Romney’s policy advisory teams, have hosted fund-raisers for his campaign or have joined the many influential Republicans whose endorsements Mr. Romney’s campaign has hailed.

Want to know what Mitt Romney's true policies are? Well, you should have attended Mitt Romney's $10,000-and-up policy round table, where industry lobbyists led "discussions" on what his policies towards those industries should be:
Mr. Romney’s campaign held an elaborate “policy round table” fund-raiser at a Washington hotel, featuring panel discussions run by lobbyists and former cabinet officials or members of Congress.

James Talent, a former senator who runs the lobbying and public affairs firm Mercury Public Affairs, led a panel on infrastructure, according to an invitation. William Hansen, a former deputy secretary of education who is president of the lobbying firm Chartwell Education Group, led the education panel.

Wow. I can't imagine why anyone would be cynical about American politics these days, can you?

The entertaining thing about this story is just how many large companies are represented. Among those specifically mentioned (and kudos to the three reporters for linking the lobbyists with actual clients, which is rather important information for readers) are Walmart, AT&T, Pfizer (drugs), Microsoft, Altria (tobacco), General Dynamics, Dominion (power), Barclays (finance), Allegheny (steel) and Peabody Energy (coal). Lobbyists are cutting the checks; lobbyists are bundling other people's checks; lobbyists are holding the panel discussions about how the candidate can best serve the specific industries they represent; lobbyists make up the inner circle of "policy makers," advising the candidate as to what his own core positions should be.

As for the candidate himself, he's almost irrelevant at this point. You might as well nominate a bunny named Mr. Buttons: If you surround it with the exact same lobbyist-advisors, you'll end up with the exact same policies. Sigh, if only we could teach that bunny to hold a pen—but for now we'll have to settle for our current crop of Republican candidates, all of whom have near-identical policy prescriptions, all of which favor the exact same subset of people and the exact same handful of industries. Go figure.

I've given up on the notion that we can keep lobbyists from capturing our politics. I've also given up on the notion that we can prevent interests like the oil sector or our current handful of top financial companies from tailoring the American government specifically to serve their needs. Want more profits? Want less environmental protections? Want to crush some emerging industry that threatens to make yours less profitable? Just buy a few congressman, or a senator, or a president. At a few million here and there, it's cheaper than advertising, and the results are far more secure.

So I'm in the Bill Maher camp on this one. Lobbyists and industries want to buy our politicians? Fine, I give up, let them. Just pass a law saying the candidate has to wear those corporate logos on their jackets whenever they appear on the campaign trail or when they are in office. The more money is contributed, the bigger the logo has to be. Top presidential candidates will look like military dictators-in-training, with badges and medals and ribbons sticking out from them in every direction, and just from looking at them we'll be able to tell who they serve, and in what proportions. That would certainly be more educational than any rhetoric coming from the candidates themselves.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Warlords of NASCAR (7+ / 0-)
    So I'm in the Bill Maher camp on this one. Lobbyists and industries want to buy our politicians? Fine, I give up, let them. Just pass a law saying the candidate has to wear those corporate logos on their jackets whenever they appear on the campaign trail or when they are in office. The more money is contributed, the bigger the logo has to be. Top presidential candidates will look like military dictators-in-training, with badges and medals and ribbons sticking out from them in every direction, and just from looking at them we'll be able to tell who they serve, and in what proportions. That would certainly be more educational than any rhetoric coming from the candidates themselves.

    dangerous voter for a "dangerous president"; Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Sciant terra viam monstrare."

    by annieli on Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 06:35:40 PM PST

  •  Thanks for bringing this sad report to us Hunter. (5+ / 0-)

    It's probabably good we know the truth.

    What are we going to do to try to preserve democracy?

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 06:36:33 PM PST

  •  I have no problem with this (6+ / 0-)

    This comment was paid for by General Mills.

  •  IPOs (4+ / 0-)

    Hell they should just offer an IPO for every congress person at least that would be more transparent.

    Poor man wants to be rich. Rich man wants to king. And the king ain't satisifed until he rules everything. B.Springsteen

    by howd on Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 06:38:28 PM PST

  •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 06:41:57 PM PST

  •  I rather like this idea (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rabel, HappyinNM, annieli
    You might as well nominate a bunny named Mr. Buttons
    You could get some really good bumper stickers out of it, too.

    Of course, the candidate's reputation might go counter to the official anti-birth-control, erm, position.

    Listen, are you breathing just a little and calling it a life? -- Mary Oliver

    by Mnemosyne on Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 06:43:36 PM PST

  •  Newt...the Lobbyists' Revolt......Go Newt!! (0+ / 0-)
  •  The whole point is to raid the Treasury (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marinero, Jlukes, GrannyOPhilly

    Deficits don't matter, as long as the right people are pocketing the cash.

    The invasion of Iraq was a war crime, a crime against humanity, and a crime against civilization. Prosecute the crime.

    by Positronicus on Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 06:44:28 PM PST

  •  This has been going on for a very long time (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    word is bond, GrannyOPhilly

    I always thought that Reagan was Mr. Buttons. Let's hire a "B" actor and put him in charge of the free world. Here's the script buddy, maybe there's an Oscar in it for you down the road.

    " The whole world is about three drinks behind" Humphrey Bogart.

    by flatford39 on Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 06:46:10 PM PST

  •  Mitt Romney is not a robot. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HappyinNM

    Robots build useful things.

    Mitt Romney fucks up useful things.

    •  Yeah! (0+ / 0-)

      ...except when they're trying to breed us into batteries, imitate us via Austrian-accented body builders or stop astronauts from shutting them down, sure, they're useful...

      snark!

      They're also meticulously programmed to do these things, so really, what's the difference? :)

      "There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will be neither a short nor an easy task, but it can be done." - Theodore Roosevelt, Kansas, 1910

      by One Little Victory on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 04:27:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Would have thought Santorum was lobbyist's dude (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HappyinNM

    (R)Money spent something like $12 million telling the State of Florida that Gingrich was not a historian but a - gasp - lobbyist. Gingrich defended himself and said he was a historian or consultant or resident expert, but not a lobbyist. Didn't matter. It worked.

    I come to find out that Santorum, prior to his days in Congress was an actual lobbyist. For the professional wrestling industry. Fighting the good (fake) fight trying to exempt the actors wrestlers from steroid laws.

    Then, while in the Senate, Santorum was in charge of the Senate effort on the K Street Project. Remember that? It was Tom Delay's brainchild to get the K Street lobbying firms to hire Republicans into top positions. In return, they would get preferential treatment in lobbying efforts.

    Socks and sandals. Yeah, I wear 'em. They are comfortable and convenient. So, get off my case.

    by bobinson on Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 06:59:16 PM PST

    •  Accuweather is based in Pennsylvania (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GrannyOPhilly

      And they have lobbyists in Washington who gave money to Rick Santorum.  And they call the National Weather Service "government weather."

      So Rick Santorum made it a personal crusade to kill the National Weather Service.  

      Rick Santorum's "Good Gosh I'm a good Catholic" routine is a lie.  He is a cheap political whore who has always used his position in government to sell favors to wealthy corporate interests.

  •  LOVE the RMONEY Picture!! (0+ / 0-)

    I have copied somebody else on DK and I always refer to the Mittster as R-MONEY, just to drive the point home.  

    "The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave." -- Patrick Henry

    by BornDuringWWII on Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 07:02:43 PM PST

  •  Oh yeah? Well .. (0+ / 0-)

    Obama would have a big WALL STREET sign on HIS suit!  So there!

    (I wanted to be the first.)

    Andrew Mellon & GOP: 'In a Depression, assets return to their rightful owners'

    by Tuffie on Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 07:51:02 PM PST

  •  Altria (tobacco) (0+ / 0-)

    In other words, R-Money is pal-ling around with the glorified drug pushers known as tobacco lobbyists.

    In the R-Money universe, luring kids into a lifetime of nicotine addiction is just making a living, but abortion AND birth control are both crimes against humanity.  What's more, he's even selling out his own religion.  Mormons don't use tobacco, and that's a major reason Mormons are known for longevity.

    You might be a Rethug if you join forces with the tobacco lobbyists but condemn abortion, birth control, and gay marriage as crimes against humanity.

    by jhsu on Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 07:59:00 PM PST

  •  Who can design "NASCAR" app showing each pol's (0+ / 0-)

    picture w the Corporate logos on their jackets? Some of this info is available @OpenSecrets. Seems it wouldn't be that difficult - for anyone but me, that is.

    "All politics is national."

    by Auriandra on Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 10:29:20 PM PST

  •  "Hey, just because I'm rich doesn't mean..." (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    weinerschnauzer
  •  Bravo, Hunter. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    weinerschnauzer
    I've given up on the notion that we can keep lobbyists from capturing our politics. I've also given up on the notion that we can prevent interests like the oil sector or our current handful of top financial companies from tailoring the American government specifically to serve their needs. Want more profits? Want less environmental protections? Want to crush some emerging industry that threatens to make yours less profitable? Just buy a few congressman, or a senator, or a president. At a few million here and there, it's cheaper than advertising, and the results are far more secure.
    Electoral politics is a joke. Thanks for speaking the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

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