POLITICS

The heart of bipartisanship: K Street

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney

Two well-paid revolving-door corporate lobbyists are giving a speech together today, but it's apparently something to celebrate, because it's bipartisan!

With confidence in our political system at a low point, our institutions need strong leadership. In 2012, the Bipartisan Policy Center will host a series of events exploring what it takes to successfully lead our key institutions and inspire results in the current environment. For the first of our 2012 leadership events, BPC, in partnership with the Henry Jackson Foundation, welcomes former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle and Trent Lott for a behind-the-scenes reflection on leading the Senate. Daschle and Lott will discuss the peculiarities of Senate leadership, their own personal approaches to the role of majority leader, and the challenges of leading the Senate in an increasingly polarized Washington.

Maybe "confidence in our political system" is "at a low point" in part because our lawmakers cash out and become millionaire lobbyists advancing the narrow interests of Big Business and other powerful groups. 

Daschle is not registered to lobby, but his title is "Senior Policy Advisor in DLA Piper's Government Affairs Practice." The firm's lobbying clients include Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Comcast, Merck, Pfizer, Raytheon. Lott co-founded his own lobbying firm with former Dem. Sen. John Breaux, and Lott personally represents AT&T, Citigroup, General Electric, Goldman Sachs, Raytheon, and Royal Dutch Shell.

It's popular to blame partisanship for Washington's problems, and it's not fully wrong. But we also need to be on guard for bipartisanship, which is often more destructive. 

When Republicans and Democrats reach across the aisle and shed their ideologies, it often means they are also shedding principles. This could open the door for productive pragmatism, but it also opens the door for corrupt self-dealing to the benefit of special interests.

I'm sure Daschle and Lott can provide insight on being leaders, but can these men really 

 
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