Remember Defending Your Life? For some reason that movie came to mind when I read registered lobbyist Daryl Owen’s piece on President Obama’s lobbyist restrictions and statements.
The president’s repeated verbal, and now legal, castigation of the lobbying community suggests that either he does not understand the role played by lobbyists, or he understands but is demonizing us for political purposes. Yet I am certain that the man for whom I voted (twice) is too smart to fall prey to the former and too noble to yield to the latter.
Lobbyists form a bridge between government and business. In that way we are to the executive and legislative branches what lawyers are to the judicial branch. (Yes, I hear the snickers, but desperate times call for desperate analogies.)
I admit that the system has produced its share of villains, including several now living in federal penitentiaries. But for each headline-grabbing transgressor the system has produced, it has also produced a thousand knowledgeable, dedicated, hardworking individuals who help our society to function. That they might do so using the tool of advocacy should not disqualify them, for every voice heard in Washington is one of advocacy. The fact that these individuals have registered as lobbyists, as the law requires, should not brand them as untouchables.