Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Clean Cups! Clean Cups!

What would a Tea Party be without clean cups? We're about to find out. All those fresh faces in Congress, many propelled to their new positions by the pseudo-populist Tea Party movement, promised to bring a change in Washington, one that would end the slimy role of special interests and would return the government to the people. If the past few weeks are any indication, that promised change doesn't look likely.

This picture of business-as-usual Washington clashes with the campaign rhetoric of many newcomers, some who were propelled by support from the anti-Washington "tea party" movement. It also muddles the image House Republicans hoped to project as they took the helm this week. In contrast to the public celebration thrown by Democrat Nancy Pelosi when she became speaker four years ago, incoming House Speaker John A. Boehner has tried to strike a subdued and earnest note as he takes up the gavel.

So it raised eyebrows Tuesday when several House freshmen held a fundraiser in a swanky Washington hotel. The event, organized in part by California Rep.-elect Jeff Denham (R-Atwater), stood out as the flashiest celebration of the new Congress. ...

On his campaign website, incoming Arizona Rep. David Schweikert promised he would "be there to represent your interests, not big spending special interests. I will push for common sense reforms in Congress that will reduce the influence of lobbyists and special interests."

Schweikert invited lobbyists to a debt-retirement fundraiser at the National Republican Campaign Committee in early December. The suggested contribution was $500 for an individual, $5,000 for a "benefactor."

The excuses proffered were the usual: campaigns are expensive and the new incumbents have campaign debts to retire and money to raise for the next round. At $5,000 a pop, that shouldn't take long. Then the freshmen can get down to the real work, right?

Well, sorta kinda. It depends on what that "real work" involves and who the beneficiaries of that work will be.

One tea party favorite, Sen.-elect Mike Lee of Utah, hired lobbyist Spencer Stokes as his chief of staff. Lee explained that he and Stokes, who represented software and healthcare interests, shared the goal of more "limited federal government" in the future.

"He is a brilliant man," Lee told "Fox News Sunday" this week. "He understands Utah politics and he understands Washington politics. And I need a man like that to help me in Washington."

So, Tea Partiers, there you have it. Those clean cups which you ordered are being used by your newly elected congress critters to collect money from special interests, who then will have their usual influence.

Lewis Carroll would be so proud.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home