Religion, Politics and World Events They make great dinner conversation, don't you think? plus Political Film

If Congress is Honest, Why Are Lobbyists Threats?

Old 09-28-09, 06:49 AM
  #1  
Banned
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 21,582
If Congress is Honest, Why Are Lobbyists Threats?

Exactly how do lobbyists influence legislation except through bribes? I mean it's not like members of Congress don't have staffs who know how to Google for information regarding public issues.

Isn't the acknowledgment of lobbying as a problem a tacit admission by Congress that a lot of crooks are among its members?
creekdipper is offline  
Old 09-28-09, 08:01 AM
  #2  
DVD Talk Legend
 
spainlinx0's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: NJ
Posts: 14,827
Re: If Congress is Honest, Why Are Lobbyists Threats?

Come on, you know it's those guys that are crooks. We're all innocent over here.
spainlinx0 is offline  
Old 09-28-09, 08:50 AM
  #3  
DVD Talk God
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Posts: 68,522
Re: If Congress is Honest, Why Are Lobbyists Threats?

Lobbyists perform a valuable service in the congress.

If you don't like lobbyists - you definitely shouldn't be in support of term limits.
classicman2 is offline  
Old 09-28-09, 04:23 PM
  #4  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Sean O'Hara's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Vichy America
Posts: 13,535
Re: If Congress is Honest, Why Are Lobbyists Threats?

If unicorns are made of rainbows, do their farts smell like sunshine?

I mean, as long as we're asking non-sense questions.
Sean O'Hara is offline  
Old 09-28-09, 04:23 PM
  #5  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Sean O'Hara's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Vichy America
Posts: 13,535
Re: If Congress is Honest, Why Are Lobbyists Threats?

Dupe, dupe, dup-peh-dupe.

Last edited by Sean O'Hara; 09-28-09 at 04:26 PM. Reason: Isn't the forum software supposed to stop dupes?
Sean O'Hara is offline  
Old 09-28-09, 05:31 PM
  #6  
Moderator
 
nemein's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: 1bit away from total disaster
Posts: 34,141
Re: If Congress is Honest, Why Are Lobbyists Threats?

Why do you hate the first amendment
nemein is offline  
Old 09-28-09, 06:09 PM
  #7  
DVD Talk God
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Posts: 68,522
Re: If Congress is Honest, Why Are Lobbyists Threats?

They just don't believe that people have the right to petition their government.

Isn't it obvious?
classicman2 is offline  
Old 09-28-09, 10:30 PM
  #8  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Pleasantville - in black & white ;P
Posts: 5,970
Re: If Congress is Honest, Why Are Lobbyists Threats?

re: 1st amendment

Unfortunately, due to the size of the federal govt these days MONEY has become = to SPEECH. Those with money have the mouths that get heard. Those who hear the money get a war chest to help them get re-elected, and thus the cycle continues.

Votes still matter to a certain extent (otherwise we'd already have a healthcare bill on Obama's desk) but money definitely has priority at the table.
mosquitobite is offline  
Old 09-29-09, 09:42 AM
  #9  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Formerly known as "orangecrush18" - still legal though
Posts: 13,846
Re: If Congress is Honest, Why Are Lobbyists Threats?

Originally Posted by mosquitobite View Post
re: 1st amendment

Unfortunately, due to the size of the federal govt these days MONEY has become = to SPEECH. Those with money have the mouths that get heard. Those who hear the money get a war chest to help them get re-elected, and thus the cycle continues.

Votes still matter to a certain extent (otherwise we'd already have a healthcare bill on Obama's desk) but money definitely has priority at the table.
I agree with you to a degree. But, if a senator has a few thousand letters (not e-mails, but actual letters) from continuants saying they want him to vote a certain way, then he is going to vote that way. If people got off their butts and wrote their representatives, lobbyists wouldn't yield as much power as they do.
orangecrush is offline  
Old 09-29-09, 09:54 AM
  #10  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 25,062
Re: If Congress is Honest, Why Are Lobbyists Threats?

Originally Posted by mosquitobite View Post
re: 1st amendment

Unfortunately, due to the size of the federal govt these days MONEY has become = to SPEECH. Those with money have the mouths that get heard. Those who hear the money get a war chest to help them get re-elected, and thus the cycle continues.

Votes still matter to a certain extent (otherwise we'd already have a healthcare bill on Obama's desk) but money definitely has priority at the table.
I wish we could get rid of the legal fiction that corporations are people. That is a bigger problem than money equaling speech.
Tracer Bullet is offline  
Old 09-29-09, 09:56 AM
  #11  
Moderator
 
nemein's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: 1bit away from total disaster
Posts: 34,141
Re: If Congress is Honest, Why Are Lobbyists Threats?

If people got off their butts and wrote their representatives, lobbyists wouldn't yield as much power as they do.
I think one thing that is frequently overlooked in the castigation of lobbyists is sometimes those lobbyists are representing public interest/membership groups. Frequently lobbyists are portrayed only as "arms" of corporations but that's not the whole story. Would direct mail be better, maybe, but I think the general feeling is those letters aren't really read (sure you get a form letter in return) whereas sending your money to a group that has the professional lobbyists on staff is a better use of time/money.
nemein is offline  
Old 09-29-09, 10:01 AM
  #12  
DVD Talk Legend
 
wishbone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 20,907
Re: If Congress is Honest, Why Are Lobbyists Threats?

Originally Posted by nemein View Post
I think one thing that is frequently overlooked in the castigation of lobbyists is sometimes those lobbyists are representing public interest/membership groups. Frequently lobbyists are portrayed only as "arms" of corporations but that's not the whole story. Would direct mail be better, maybe, but I think the general feeling is those letters aren't really read (sure you get a form letter in return) whereas sending your money to a group that has the professional lobbyists on staff is a better use of time/money.
A handwritten letter stands a better chance of being read than a typed form letter, fax, or e-mail.
wishbone is offline  
Old 09-29-09, 10:22 AM
  #13  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Formerly known as "orangecrush18" - still legal though
Posts: 13,846
Re: If Congress is Honest, Why Are Lobbyists Threats?

Originally Posted by nemein View Post
I think one thing that is frequently overlooked in the castigation of lobbyists is sometimes those lobbyists are representing public interest/membership groups. Frequently lobbyists are portrayed only as "arms" of corporations but that's not the whole story. Would direct mail be better, maybe, but I think the general feeling is those letters aren't really read (sure you get a form letter in return) whereas sending your money to a group that has the professional lobbyists on staff is a better use of time/money.
Congressmen take hand written notes from their districts very seriously. They calculate that 1 note = a certain number of voters. They know exactly where voters stand if they are told by said voters where they stand. Most congressmen's first concern is getting re-elected.
orangecrush is offline  
Old 09-29-09, 10:50 AM
  #14  
DVD Talk Legend
 
wishbone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 20,907
Re: If Congress is Honest, Why Are Lobbyists Threats?

How to Write a Letter to Congress

 1. Though it is tempting to fire off an e-mail, write a letter instead.
 2. State your purpose.
 3. Make your letter personal.
 4. Support your stance.
 5. Make your request.
 6. Remain professional and courteous.
 7. Keep you letter clear and concise.
 8. Close your letter.
 9. Know to whom to send your letter.
10. Proofread your letter.
11. Know that your vote counts.

I used "Senator" instead of "Honorable" when I wrote to my state senator -- no disrespect intended.
wishbone is offline  
Old 09-29-09, 11:20 AM
  #15  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Pleasantville - in black & white ;P
Posts: 5,970
Re: If Congress is Honest, Why Are Lobbyists Threats?

Originally Posted by Tracer Bullet View Post
I wish we could get rid of the legal fiction that corporations are people. That is a bigger problem than money equaling speech.
Corporations have money, so that's why they get to talk.

And like nemein said, it's more often groups (think pharmaceuticals, lawyers, doctors, Realtors, unions) that have powerful lobbies, not just corporations.
mosquitobite is offline  
Old 09-29-09, 11:22 AM
  #16  
Banned
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 21,582
Re: If Congress is Honest, Why Are Lobbyists Threats?

Originally Posted by Sean O'Hara View Post
If unicorns are made of rainbows, do their farts smell like sunshine?

I mean, as long as we're asking non-sense questions.


To repeat:

Exactly how do lobbyists "influence" legislation? I know they are paid to represent others & to make a case for "their side", but how a lobbyist exert any more "influence"...which is the term used when describing the detrimental effect of lobbying...than any other constituency unless they are offering huge campaign contributions in return for political favors? If it were just a matter of presenting the best arguments, then what would be the problem.

My point is that lobbying should not be a problem if Congresspeople are honest & competent. If they are honest, they will ignore the temptation to grant favors in return for donations. If they are competent, they will check out the issues for themselves & vote accordingly.

Why isn't this a fair question? To say that we just accept the corruption of government as SOP seems awfully cynical.

Last edited by creekdipper; 09-29-09 at 11:32 AM.
creekdipper is offline  
Old 09-29-09, 11:34 AM
  #17  
Banned
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 21,582
Re: If Congress is Honest, Why Are Lobbyists Threats?

Originally Posted by spainlinx0 View Post
Come on, you know it's those guys that are crooks. We're all innocent over here.
creekdipper is offline  
Old 09-29-09, 03:27 PM
  #18  
Member
 
Brack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: near Cincinnati
Posts: 9,710
Re: If Congress is Honest, Why Are Lobbyists Threats?

Originally Posted by creekdipper View Post


To repeat:

Exactly how do lobbyists "influence" legislation? I know they are paid to represent others & to make a case for "their side", but how a lobbyist exert any more "influence"...which is the term used when describing the detrimental effect of lobbying...than any other constituency unless they are offering huge campaign contributions in return for political favors? If it were just a matter of presenting the best arguments, then what would be the problem.

My point is that lobbying should not be a problem if Congresspeople are honest & competent. If they are honest, they will ignore the temptation to grant favors in return for donations. If they are competent, they will check out the issues for themselves & vote accordingly.

Why isn't this a fair question? To say that we just accept the corruption of government as SOP seems awfully cynical.
In contrast to offering money for political favors, they could go the other way, convincing the elected officials to steer away from an issue, or else take the risk of losing campaign contributions.
Brack is offline  
Old 09-29-09, 04:41 PM
  #19  
Admin-Thanos
 
VinVega's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Caught between the moon and NYC
Posts: 31,584
Re: If Congress is Honest, Why Are Lobbyists Threats?

Originally Posted by creekdipper View Post
My point is that lobbying should not be a problem if Congresspeople are honest & competent. If they are honest, they will ignore the temptation to grant favors in return for donations. If they are competent, they will check out the issues for themselves & vote accordingly.

Why isn't this a fair question? To say that we just accept the corruption of government as SOP seems awfully cynical.
I think if you don't have some level of cynicism, you're going to be mad all the time and if you're mad all the time you run the risk of a premature heart attack.

In the end it all comes back to money and power. Money is more power than it is speech, but unfortunately it's quantified as speech in the political process, so a rich person/corporation's speech is more important than someone who is poor. Money is power and the politicians want to stay in power, but to do that they need a ton of money to run for reelection. That money has to come from somewhere. The easiest way to get the money is from large backers. So it's actually pretty easy to be cynical.
VinVega is offline  
Old 09-30-09, 08:22 AM
  #20  
DVD Talk Legend
 
spainlinx0's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: NJ
Posts: 14,827
Re: If Congress is Honest, Why Are Lobbyists Threats?

Originally Posted by creekdipper View Post
Just a joke that lobbyists are only a problem for the other side, depending upon which side you're on.
spainlinx0 is offline  
Old 09-30-09, 09:09 AM
  #21  
Banned
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 21,582
Re: If Congress is Honest, Why Are Lobbyists Threats?

Originally Posted by spainlinx0 View Post
Just a joke that lobbyists are only a problem for the other side, depending upon which side you're on.


Thanks, spain. I knew it had to be something obvious that I was missing, but I was having a dense morning. I would blame it on trying too hard not to be cynical, but that would be flip-flopping.

My interpretation of your joke (which is funny) was so far off-base that it's embarrassing.
creekdipper is offline  
Old 09-30-09, 09:10 AM
  #22  
Banned
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 21,582
Re: If Congress is Honest, Why Are Lobbyists Threats?

Originally Posted by Brack View Post
In contrast to offering money for political favors, they could go the other way, convincing the elected officials to steer away from an issue, or else take the risk of losing campaign contributions.
For some reason, this observation is not helping to restore my faith in our elected representatives.

Actually, I should be mad (but not mad enough to need CPR, as vinvega pointed out) at the electorate. The money used in campaigns to purchase signs, ads, tv & radio spots, and (for national pols) trips around the country are meaningless to me. I get all the info. I need to make voting decisions from various media (print & electronic), debates, and the like. The bought political ads are meaningless to me (well, they are incredibly annoying, so they do have a negative influence on my perception of the candidate who paid for them), but they obviously sway voters who don't take the time to do a little investigating for themselves. Even the "name recognition" factor of having signs plastered all over town is a lame but obviously effective means of getting elected.

To me, that makes the "voters" who are unwillingly to use their critical thinking skills to examine the issues and the candidates' purported stand on them equally guilty with the politicians who buy their votes through cheap persuasion, attack ads, blanket coverage, etc. It still boggles my mind that, in the day of multiple cable tv channels such as C-Span & all of the internet coverage (in addition to the print media), people still vote according to whose name they remember seeing along the roadway as they drove to the polls.

Last edited by creekdipper; 09-30-09 at 09:21 AM.
creekdipper is offline  
Old 09-30-09, 10:25 AM
  #23  
Member
 
Brack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: near Cincinnati
Posts: 9,710
Re: If Congress is Honest, Why Are Lobbyists Threats?

I agree with what you're saying, but just because there are more ways of getting information doesn't mean people are becoming any more informed. There's more disinformation than ever before, and that doesn't help matters either.
Brack is offline  
Old 09-30-09, 09:27 PM
  #24  
Banned
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 21,582
Re: If Congress is Honest, Why Are Lobbyists Threats?

Originally Posted by Brack View Post
I agree with what you're saying, but just because there are more ways of getting information doesn't mean people are becoming any more informed. There's more disinformation than ever before, and that doesn't help matters either.
No doubt about that. One has to put on waders to pore through all the B.S.

However, I still find it easier to trust my instincts than to pay attention to one-sided ads designed by "strategists". People ought to be able to sort out the obviously-biased "commentators" from the more objective people who point out flaws & strengths of both sides.

Just saying that I don't get why any rational person would simply accept political ads as gospel without challenging the 'facts' presented.

Not holding my breath waiting for the electorate to rush to turn off "Dancing With the Stars" to become better-informed at election time.
creekdipper is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.