Jim Geraghty is dead-on here:
the bigger story out of the Plouffe speeches is that President Obama, who campaigned so passionately against what he called the “revolving door” between the highest levels of government and the lobbying/influence business, has absolutely no problem with it when his friends do it….
Friends in high places are often for sale once the campaigns end or they leave government work. It’s all legal, both sides do it, and attempting to ban it would probably create more problems than it would solve.
Government work and campaign work often don’t pay very well. But those who choose that path can develop relationships with powerful people – and thus, once a campaign or government worker has built up enough solid relationships with powerful lawmakers, they can cash in on the decades of effort with highly-compensated “totally not a lobbyist” jobs like Daschle’s, or through extremely well-compensated speaking gigs like Plouffe. Again, both sides do it.
But as a candidate, Obama explicitly and loudly denounced this phenomenon, and he ran ads on it: “The chairman of the committee who pushed the law through went to work for the pharmaceutical industry, making $2 million a year. Imagine that! That’s an example of the same-old game playing in Washington. I don’t want to play the game better, I want to put an end to the game-playing.”