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Yet Another Tricky Dick

October 6, 2009

Ezra Klein, is shocked, shocked to find out that Dick Gephardt, that old champion of progressive causes, has become a corporate shill. Klein whimpers:

It’s not like this was the only way to make a couple bucks: The AFL-CIO and other liberal groups would certainly have put him on retainer as a lobbyist and paid him a decent wage. It wouldn’t be the riches that apportion to the corporate lobbyist, but it would have been enough to live comfortably.

Live comfortably! My word, that’s exciting! I bet that Gephardt could go down to the club with that in his pocket – ladies, don’t worry, I’ve got this one, because I live comfortably.

The fact that Klein is so surprised to find out that his “champion” is corruptible just goes to show how incredibly naive progressive are with regard to politicians who support their political beliefs. Ted Kennedy was lionized in the same way – that champion of health care reform, that champion of equal rights for all. The real champions of these causes are the people who actually go out there and work for soup kitchens, public health organizations, and the like These legislative “champions” are doing this work as a vehicle to acquire, if not money, then status. They might well sincerely believe in the cause while they are advocating for it, but once the ring of power slips off, they’ll do anything to get it back on.

Nobody should be shocked by this. It’s just another manifestation of the double bind of reform. These corporations aren’t stupid. They know who has connections, who has friends, who can get an earmark or a loophole inserted in a bill. That’s why they are knocking on Gephardt’s door with millions of dollars. And if your reform is predicated on people like Gephardt not taking money when it’s presented to them, then it’s not a reform that’s going to pass, because special interests do. not. lose.

One Comment
  1. Tushar permalink
    October 9, 2009 1:25 am

    The utter naivete of the new progressive bloggers is just coming out, as the new ‘progressive’ administration is in power. With adversaries in power, it was supremely easy to believe that ‘bad guys’ were in power, and hence when our ‘good guys’ take over, things will be fine and dandy.

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