Originally Posted by ToddDH
We have such a tendancy to blame Lobbyists. Lobbyists have been around since this country was formed. To my way of thinking whether lobbyists are good or bad is immaterial.
It is the job, ethically, morally and often even legally for the person being lobbied to cast a vote on a given issue that is in the best interests of the people, period! To some degree, lobbyists do bring information about which the elected official might be unaware. Neverthess, to paraphrase Harry Truman, "The buck stops with them, the elected officials!"
I always thought I was an idealist, but you've got me beat by a mile.
I can't disagree with a word you said, except to repeat that the current environment makes it literally impossible for those ideals to be put into practice. It really does, and waving a wand isn't going to change it. Your personal political experience was gratifying because it was possible to work within the context of those ideals. If you came to Washington you'd be a latter day Mr. Smith, except the ending would be different: you'd either decide to go with the flow, or you'd be uncerimoniously chewed up and spit out.
I wish more than anything that the reality were different, but it isn't. I've got a lobbyist living in a McMansion next door and every morning I have to go out and wash the grease off the street.
There's nothing wrong with lobbying as long as the primary focus is to sell ideas on their merits rather than for cash. Just as there's nothing wrong with financial markets and banking as long as they're trading and selling real products and services instead of betting on things they don't even own (or don't even borrow, for that matter).
It will take various forms of intervention to make a dent in the problem, and it will have to go far beyond a sermon on values and ethics, as laudable as that might be. It will take some combination of the ideas in this string, which I think taken together become a reasonable starting point for a solution.