Monday, March 30, 2009

Government intervention

It's never been my intention to use this blog for a particular issue (other than lobbying), but I think the most recent action taken in the name of "saving" GM is too much. The idea that the government/President can "ask" a CEO to step down is absolutely horrifying. I believe that goes beyond anything even remotely close to the founding principles of this nation.

I will hold my tongue on most any issue the President and Congress advocate as they were elected to do so. However, the prospect of Washington D.C. telling private industry who should be running their companies is shocking. If any citizen has more confidence in Washington D.C. running a private company than anyone else, they are either blinded by partisan enthusiasm or they are simply idiots.

Pardon my language, but I believe this (beyond everything else that has happened to this point in bailing out failed institutions) signals some VERY dark clouds on the horizon. I don't fear anything long-term at this point, but I don't believe this bodes well. Let's pray I'm wrong and I'll just get back to lobbying again.

Monday, March 16, 2009

republican form of government

One of the legislators I deal with more often than others is a long-time veteran of the statehouse. He is a great guy and we disagree on quite a few policy philosophies. However, I am an entranced observer to watch him in action. He is the Chairman of a committee I often attend, and I've gotten to know him pretty well over the last few years.

He approaches things in what I view the most appropriate manner: He asks how will a proposal impact his constituents first, then, what is the larger philosophical perspective and/or how does the proposal impact other groups. He isn't blinded by that perspective, but it's just the foundation for any consideration he makes. Obviously there are times where he votes for things that a majority of his district may not like, but that is the whole point of the republican (small "R") form of government. His job is to make decisions for his district.

Legislators have to make tough's their job. They aren't supposed to vote for the majority of their districts, they are supposed to vote based on how it impacts the whole. This legislator does that. I disagree with many of his votes, but at least he votes his conscience.

I've touched on this previously, but, in Indiana at least, many of the bigger votes are based on a caucus or leadership decision. On less controversial issues, legislators generally vote their conscience, but on the big issues, they generally have to go along with the group decision. There are positive and negative aspects to that approach, but generally I think that's a bad thing.

So when I come across a legislator who, even though I disagree with their votes sometimes, is willing to stand his/her ground, I have a great appreciation for them.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

tough one

Today's request came from a young Brazilian gentleman who wants to lobby for his home country in DC. He has a pretty terrific academic background, so I suggested that since he already knows his economics, he might consider gaining some relationships and ties to DC as the next step in pursuing his dream.

I did a search on the U.S. Clerk of the House of Representatives site and found quite a few results for "Brazil" clients being represented in DC.

I still think it's really amazing to help some folks find their way into this field. Hopefully each of them will retain some awe of the process while they're in the game. When someone gets burned out, it's a shame. Government Affairs should be a calling for those with a passion, rather than a paycheck. Generally, I think that holds true for the majority of lobbyists, but when you see someone who has lost it, you just want to ask them why they still do it for a living...obviously it's probably because of the money, but maybe they will find a client or issue that will revive their spirits.