Upon taking control of the House, Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer immediately proclaimed: "We will end the K Street Project, a practice that brought shame on this House when some Members promised access in return for patronage hiring."
So you can imagine my shock and dismay upon discovering Democrats, now firmly ensconced in power, have a K Street Project all their own. Not since the realization that Bill Clinton's vow to run the most ethical administration in American history was less than sincere have I been so disillusioned.
It's like finding out Santa charges parents for their kids' toys.
These days the Democratic leadership is strong-arming K Street to - take a guess! - hire more Democrats. "I think they haven't come to terms with what happened two Novembers ago," Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), told Roll Call. He added that while Democratic politicians will talk to Republican representatives of various industries, the "lack of a common philosophical and policy background makes it hard to communicate and build consensus" (in Roll Call's words).
No kidding. Funny how that works. For good and ill, the Republican Party is the pro-business party and the Democratic Party ain't. Maybe that explains the lack of common philosophical background. After all, I don't recall Tom DeLay saying that labor unions and the NAACP should hire more Republicans.
"If Democrats want to hold the majority," a Democratic lobbyist told Roll Call, "they don't do it by playing Mr. Nice Guy. You don't hold power if you don't know how to use that power." Why, it's almost like that guy's a ventriloquist's dummy for Tom "The Hammer" DeLay.
On Thursday, the Senate Democratic leadership dragooned the heads of 17 major trade associations, according to the Politico. In an act of political intimidation the KSPers never dreamed of attempting, the senators leaned on the business representatives to get with the Democratic program or lose access.
What about all those Democratic promises of turning away from the corrupt practices of Republicans?
The great conservative statesman Edmund Burke offers one possible answer: "Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises; for never intending to go beyond promises, it costs nothing."
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