Once upon a time there used to be a Democratic Senator from Indiana who was the son of a famous and much admired once upon a longer time ago Democratic and very liberal Senator from Indiana.
This Democratic Senator, the son, I mean, was never much of a liberal and as it turned out not a particularly loyal Democrat.
At a critical time during the debate over the Affordable Health Care Act, this Democratic Senator threatened to blow the whole thing up if the already overly industry friendly legislation wasn’t left that way. Any attempts to make it more affordable for the people who needed insurance and he wouldn’t vote to end the Republican filibuster.
Now, this Senator’s wife happened to work in the Insurance industry. Not as an agent. Not as a clerk. Not as a secretary. Not as an accountant or actuarial. Not even as a real executive. She was an extremely well-compensated member of an insurance company’s board. Her job, essentially, was to be married to a U.S. Senator so he could be counted on to do the industry’s bidding in Congress.
Apparently, she did her job very well.
And, apparently, nobody in Washington thought this was wrong.
Passage of the act caused the President and his Party all kinds of headaches and woes in the elections that followed. But this Senator suffered none of them himself because he decided not to run for re-election. He would have won. The Democrat who ran in his place lost. This was predictable. The Democratic majority in the Senate shrank, the odds against overcoming filibusters increased to the point that the only way the Democrats would ever get anything they wanted passed again was to surrender most of what they wanted to the Republicans at every turn.
Now the former Senator has returned to Washington as a lobbyist.
For corporate interests.
He is not a stupid man, but he is not that brilliant either. He is a lawyer but lawyering has never been his real job. It’s not his real job now, even though lawyering is what he’s supposedly doing. Most of his adult life he’s been a politician. He was hired as a lobbyist because of his political connections. For his political connections. To exploit his political connections.
Mostly what he does is set up expensive lunches between his clients and his old friends and colleagues in Congress and in the Federal bureaucracy so that his clients can essentially bribe those friends and colleagues to do what the corporations they work for want done. When he’s not doing that he’s taking people to lunch himself where he tells them what sorts of bribes they can expect if they do what his clients want them to do. And when he’s not doing that he’s going to meetings where after pretending to make the case his clients want him to make he delivers invitations to one or the other type of lunches.
Apparently no one in Washington thinks this is wrong.
What they do think is wrong is that a Congressman from New York, a truly good and loyal Democrat, knows at least six women who apparently do not mind looking at photographs of the Congressman’s bare chest.
Updated Saturday afternoon with virtual face-palm: Damn. Can the guy manage to be any more embarrassing?