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Today must be "stuffed shirts resignation day"
Posted by: Billy Hollis on Monday, November 26, 2007

I notice that two men who were both the formerly the highest ranking GOP member of their respective houses of Congress both resigned today.

First, former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott announced his resignation. He had five years to go on his Senate seat, and you might think someone who just got re-elected last fall and was currently Senate Whip would be serving more of his term.

But it seems there are new lobbying rules taking effect in 2008 that would mean a two-year delay in getting down to the serious business of cajoling his former colleagues as a lobbyist, so Trent decided to get cranking on making those lobbying bucks right away. Well, that would be a natural conclusion anyway. Trent denies it:
Mr Lott denied that he had been influenced by an imminent regulatory change that would make it harder for former members of Congress to become lobbyists. Starting next year, members of Congress will have to wait two years after leaving Capitol Hill before they become lobbyists, up from one year.
We'll see. If he becomes a lobbyist in the next few months, I won't be taking his denial very seriously. Of course, he also maybe getting tired of taking heat as one of the major pork advocates in the Senate. And I'm not talking about bacon...

A few hours later Denny Hastert announced his resignation too. Hastert was Speaker of the House until the Democrats won the House back last fall. There's not as much speculation on his reasons. It's not as unusual for a former House Speaker to resign, though. But if Hastert ends up with a lobbying job, I'll be guessing that his reasons are not too far from Lott's.

From my perspective, both of them were the epitomy of the stuffed-shirt politician who cares more about wielding power and trading favors than about any philosophy of government. The GOP captured the Congress in 1994 with the supposed intention of reining in government. Both these gentlemen should get a nice, fat share of the blame for the fact that there wasn't much progress made on that front in the years the GOP held the Congress.

I won't miss either one of them.

 
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No great losses
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Question is: how do we get better representatives?
 
Written By: Rick
URL: http://
Answer: Elect the good ones
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Question is: how do we get better representatives?
Up the ban from lobbying to 10 years.
Block campaign contributions from anyone or organization outside that representative’s district.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
I understand your perspective. I don’t share it. My family has lived in northern Illinois for nearly 60 years. I myself have lived here in DeKalb for 25.

Congressman Hastert has been a good Congressman for my district. He has fought a good fight against significant odds, taken on a leadership position in a highly fractious Republican Congress, and been a fine example of what good a politician can do for his people.

It’s not surprising that those who call for bold vision and an allegiance to more than constituency rarely do so for their own Congressman. I do not claim that you are doing this, but I very clearly see it as a common reaction.

All politics—in the end—is _inescapably_ local. Denny Hastert is a good American, a good Christian, and a good Representative. May God continue to bless and enrich him in what he chooses to do in the future.
 
Written By: Paula Harper
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Denny Hastert is a good American, a good Christian, and a good Representative.
While these may be true, he was a god awful Speaker of the House. Glad to hear he was a good congressman for your district, but I’m curious. What does that mean? Does it mean he was able to direct pork back home?
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
I’m also curious about what made Hastert a great representative for his district. If it’s bringing in the pork, then it fits my overall criticism quite well, though I don’t see how he could have been as "productive" in that sense as Lott.

But when he became Speaker, that raised the bar, and Denny didn’t seem to care. He plodded along, with no guiding priniciples I could see. His party’s excesses during that period have been well documented, and as best as I can tell, he did nothing to curb those excesses; in fact, he seemed to encourage them. More spending? Limit freedom of speech with McCain Feingold? All just fine with Denny Hastert.

He exemplifies the reason those who worked hard to get the GOP control of Congress felt betrayed. Control of the Congress was merely a means to ... more control. The only goal seemed to be to maintain control, by doing what seemed expedient and polled well. I expect this of Democrats; Bill Clinton was the best practitioner of such politics in the modern era. But Republicans claim they’re better than that. The fact that they elected Hastert and left him as Speaker so many years is strong evidence that they’re not.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Could it be as simple as these ’old stuffed shirts’ expect a Hillary win and do not want to go thru the grievance of being stuck out of both houses and the executive? Not to mention, the character assasination that would happen the first time they crossed her.
 
Written By: SkyWatch
URL: http://
I’m not feeling real bad about either one of these leaving.

Lott especially.

Hastert, a blob.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Gee, this post almost backhandedly acknowledges that the Democrats passed meaningful lobbying reform.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
See, illustration of a point we keep trying to make with you, we’re not a bunch of mindless ’rah rah republican!’ cheer leaders.

As for the Dems, Yeah, all by themselves. They were the only ones there that day. And they’ve done such a swell job of making government transparent, what with all their unfullfilled and meaningless promises.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Gee, this post almost backhandedly acknowledges that the Democrats passed meaningful lobbying reform.
I’ll make it explicit if you like, though "meaningful" might be a bit stronger term than I would use. Ceratinly anything that helps jam the revolving door between Congress and lobbying firms in Washington, whereby all the players have incentives to please each other by spending other peoples money, is fine with me. Both parties voted heavily in favor of the bill, though to their credit, the Democratic leadership did drive the process.

The reason I would question the use of the term "meaningful" is that the law doesn’t go nearly far enough. In particular, the parts about earmark reform are mostly weasel words that I don’t think really accomplish anything. And it only increased the "time out" for Senators, not Representatives. But I’ll take what I can get.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
In particular, the parts about earmark reform are mostly weasel words that I don’t think really accomplish anything.

Our interests overlap in the area of preventing legal political bribery, but diverge in earmarks. As far as I can tell, they’re just one procedural method of spending government revenue among many, made into a pet project by limited government types for no clear reason beyond the neat sounding name.

It’s bad when politicians are bribed by others, but politicians bribing their constituents, in one form or another is the essential function of government. Even if the bribe in question is simply the effective delivery of national defense and judicial services.



 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Our interests overlap in the area of preventing legal political bribery, but diverge in earmarks.
To me, many earmarks look like they can be precisely described as legal political bribery.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://

 
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