If there were any question where lobbying ranks in popularity these days, the attacks on former senator Dan Coats of Indiana over the past week provide a pretty clear answer.
Coats, a Republican who served in Congress for nearly 20 years, is preparing a run to win back the seat occupied by Sen. Evan Bayh (D). National Republicans see an opportunity to target Bayh for his support of President Obama's stimulus and health-care plans.
The problem for Coats is that he spent a good part of the past decade as a well-connected Washington lobbyist, which doesn't bode well politically in the age of tea partiers and grass-roots anger at Wall Street.
The former senator has had scores of corporate lobbying clients over the years, including health-care firms (Amgen, United Health Group, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America), bailout recipients (Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch) and communications companies (BellSouth, Sprint Nextel, Verizon). Another past client is Cerberus Capital Management, where Dan Quayle -- whose seat Coats took over in the Senate -- is a top executive.
Lobbying disclosure records also show that Coats represented foreign firms or governments that could prove controversial, including the Indian government and Bombardier, a Canadian aerospace firm. Coats also represented a Texas oil-and-gas company that partnered with Venezuela's Hugo Chávez, records show.
Comment: Another example of the one party system running two candidates of the same cut.
I truly believe the greatest hurdle we have to repealing the 17th is the Democrat and Republican Parties. Some believe ideologies stand in the way, but I believe the two main parties will not give up the power they have consolidated in the last century willingly. And that power reside more deeply in the US Senate than any other office in this country, not even the White House.
When we can vote for a “person” because of ideals and norms rather than the silly color of a state or label, then we stand a good shot at turning back the growing centralized government. Then we might restore the states to their position as states, not provinces, and in their role of checks and balances within the federal government.