Thursday, February 11, 2010

Things That Make You Go "Whoa!"

I suspect that if you went to the dictionary to look up chutzpah you'd find a picture of Dan Coats.

From the Washington Post:

If there were any question where lobbying ranks in popularity these days, the attacks on former senator Dan Coats of Indiana over the past week provide a pretty clear answer.

Coats, a Republican who served in Congress for nearly 20 years, is preparing a run to win back the seat occupied by Sen. Evan Bayh (D). National Republicans see an opportunity to target Bayh for his support of President Obama's stimulus and health-care plans.

The problem for Coats is that he spent a good part of the past decade as a well-connected Washington lobbyist, which doesn't bode well politically in the age of tea partiers and grass-roots anger at Wall Street.

Now, I'm not exactly thrilled with Evan Bayh, but come on, Republicans, a "well-connected Washington lobbyist"? Haven't you seen all the glory the press has been heaping on teabaggers and birthers?

Snark aside, Mr. Coats' list of clients the past decade is quite impressive:

The former senator has had scores of corporate lobbying clients over the years, including health-care firms (Amgen, United Health Group, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America), bailout recipients (Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch) and communications companies (BellSouth, Sprint Nextel, Verizon). Another past client is Cerberus Capital Management, where Dan Quayle -- whose seat Coats took over in the Senate -- is a top executive.

Those are just the domestic clients. Mr. Coats has also represented other governments and other foreign companies.

Further, Mr. Coats no longer lives in Indiana. He lives and votes in Virginia, presumably to be closer to his office, which apparently is close to the Capitol. Now he wants to move his office into the Capitol itself, which should make commuting much easier.

I suppose I shouldn't be shocked at this development. In a crazy kind of way it is simply the next logical step in the growing corporatocracy this country is developing. Instead of the revolving door in which elected officials run on corporate donations (now guaranteed to be even more generous), serve a few years and make a whole lot of money, retire on a government pension, wait a few more years, and then get hired by a lobbyist group, the lobbyists just become senators or representatives. The scary part is that the next logical step is cutting out this whole business of holding elections.

Just shoot me now.

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