August 6, 2002

LOBBYIST HATE MAIL! Well, not really. But lobbyist Ken Bryer takes exception to my post below on special Capitol Hill access for lobbyists:

Ah, lobbyists: the one profession even lawyers can bust on.

Have to disagree with you here. We lobbyists have business before the Congress that takes us there frequently. It’s a waste of time and resources to search lobbyists like the vast unknown infrequent guests who come to the Capitol. Should airline pilots and crew have to go through security and customs every single time they de-plane?

I don’t think I have an unrealistic view of lobbyists. I was one myself when I was practicing law in Washington (though my firm delicately called such activity a part of its “Washington policy practice” rather than using the L word). But while it’s a bracingly honest admission to analogize lobbyists to the pilots of aircraft, they aren’t actually supposed to be the ones at the controls.

Bryer makes the absolutely valid point that Americans are represented by lobbyists in lots of entirely productive and reasonable ways. Just about everyone belongs to multiple groups (from the ACLU to the NRA to, ugh, the AARP) that lobby.

My dislike of the special-access provision, I guess, was founded in the belief that security precautions (most of them largely cosmetic anyway) are intrusive enough. If the bigshots get a pass, they’ll never get any better. If Jack Valenti has to stand in line, at least members of Congress will hear complaints out of the mouth of someone whose commands they are used to following unquestioningly. Instead of just from, you know, constituents.

UPDATE: Then there’s this perspective. . . .

InstaPundit is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.