Politicians throughout the ages have considered lobbying just part of the game. Jack Abramoff is one of the most famous lobbyists in our country. He was caught having influence with roughly 100 legislators and is now an ex-convict. Keep in mind he was only one lobbyist so knowing there’re hundreds of lobbyists leads me to believe that most politicians have benefited in one way or another. He said that in dealing with politicians most of them didn’t feel like they were corrupt they were just enjoying perks that everyone else gets; it’s just the way business is done.
Some of the things Abramoff did to influence legislators includes: 1) He offered lucrative jobs once the politician or his chief of staff left office. He said that once a politician agreed to this, he had them in his pocket. 2) He would use his clients’ corporate jets as personal transportation for politicians and their families. 3) He had two staffers whose full-time jobs were to source entertainment tickets for politicians. This is how politicians end up with some of the best seats at sporting events. Mr. Abramoff even purchased two suites at Washington Redskin’s Stadium so politicians and their family and friends could enjoy the game. It was okay as long as they didn’t’ discuss politics with Mr. Abramoff.
Jack Abramoff went to prison but what about the politicians who were part of his corruption? Well the Congress and Senate considered it more along the lines of ethical violations not legal. I just mentioned a few of the perks legislators get from lobbyists is it any wonder we haven’t seen aggressive legislation towards getting rid of it?
After presidential addresses, both sides trash the other party for the agenda that’s being pushed. Their language shouldn’t be to create division it would be better stated like: “There are some good aspects to the plan we just need to figure out a way to address those issues where we have disagreements and turn it around.” But they know that it works better for them if they inflame their party. They have to create the impression they’re fighting for us in taking on the bad guys.
Politicians at all levels give speeches to their constituents about matters they have no control over. Politicians know a majority of Americans don’t have a clue what their job descriptions are or the authority they actually have. This makes it very easy for them to sound like heroes on the campaign trail when they can't actually do anything about the issues.
They intentionally blow up legislation that can negatively impact them (i.e. campaign reform, pension limits, term limits, etc.) as both parties say they just can’t come to an agreement. They won’t even let this type of legislation hit the House floor for an up and down vote because there would be an official record of how they voted. So instead of getting things done like they promised, the legislation gets tabled. Have you noticed they get awfully quiet about these topics after they’ve used the issues to their advantage on the campaign trail (i.e. we need to get rid of ear marks, we need to get rid of lobbyist, we need campaign reform, etc.)? I admit that I get mad at people in the crowd who cheer when politicians make these promises. They’ve been making these same promises for years and nothing has been done!
Various congressmen and senators introduce legislation they know will never pass but they do it to play to their constituents. In 2011 over 4,000 Bills were introduced while only 20 were enacted; what does this tell you? There's a significant amount of power given to those people who decide which Bills will make it to the House floor. This is one of those jobs everyone wants along with high budget areas like Appropriations and Defense. Once again, ask yourself why everyone fights to get on these committees?
Sometimes legislators are given time on the House Floor to discuss their Bill even though only a couple of people are there to hear it. CSPAN tries not to film the empty chamber and instead focuses their camera on the person speaking. So once again, why do you think they do this? The Speaker of the House (who is present) knows the Bill doesn’t have a chance of passing and that’s why no one else is around. The Chairman or Chairwoman does this as a favor to particular representatives. Keep in mind that favors in the political world are known as: “Quid Pro Quo.” One of my greatest problems with this is that it’s all just a game so the representative can gain political favor at home for fighting for them even though he or she knows it isn’t going to fly; it’s all just for show. I call this fraud as well.
Our legislators have a particularly good time using “Co-Sponsoring” Bills as a political tactic. I’ve give you a couple of examples. First of all, politicians will ask to have their name placed on a Bill even though they did nothing to create it. They do this to mislead their constituents in order to create the impression they’re working hard for them.
You can reference legislation on the number of sponsors and who voted for it at www.govtrack.us. Some Bills have dozens of sponsors on it. Each co-sponsor can then benefit from an inflated public record to share with his or her district.
Another tactic is for the Sponsor to try and get someone with more political weight to co-sponsor the bill. Of course they get more political points when it looks like they worked with a distinguished member of Congress even though it wasn’t really collaboration.
There're many problems with this whole sponsorship thing but one of the greatest is that nothing in the political world comes for free. People who asked to be on legislation and people who are asked to be a part of legislation understand there will come a day when he or she will have to repay the favor; just politics in action.
Contrary to the promises made by various presidential candidates on the campaign trail a president is primarily responsible for the following:
- Setting an agenda (this is rarely followed).
- Setting a positive tone between the political parties (this is rarely done).
- Serving as Commander and Chief (mostly handled by the Joint Chiefs of Staff) as what president would risk going against their recommendations?
- To be an ambassador for the U.S. among world leaders.
- Creating confidence in the American people that our government has things under control.
Since most of us don’t know what the President can or can’t do we accept what we hear on his campaign trail as the truth. Although we don’t know what their authority is, they do. This leads me to believe we’re being intentionally misled by our presidential candidates.
In order to reward people who assisted in the election campaign, both the Democrats and the Republicans created positions that are by appointment only. These positions are known as “Plum” assignments. You can find information on these jobs if you Google “Government Plum Jobs.” The appointments for these Plum Assignments last as long as the current President is in office.
It’s estimated there are around 8,000 positions available to be filled. The President mostly spends his time vetting people for his cabinet which leaves various politicians in the Democratic Party to take care of the hiring. Any ideas on the kind of people they might hire? Some of the positions in various agencies use the verbiage “not a competitive position.” This means you and I shouldn’t bother applying for these cushy $100,000 jobs.