Stange Bedfellows for a Popular but Dumb Idea

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Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire.

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77 Responses

  1. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Commercial speech is constitutionally protected but subject to regulations that are not allowed for other kinds of speech. I admit that determining what is and what is not commercial speech can be very hard at times.

    Do you remember the Lisa Blatt affair from when Brett Kavanaugh was before the Senate? This was possibly before the allegations of teenage sexual assault came up. Lisa Blatt wrote a column for Politico or some equivalent publication with the title “I’m a feminist, liberal Democrat. My fellow Democrats better support Brett Kavanugh for the Supreme Court.” Or something very close to that. What was unsaid but obvious from anyone that can spend two minutes on Google is that Lisa Blatt is a big-time partner at Washington powerhouse Arnold Porter Kaye Scholer. This was a firm formed by Abe Fortas in the late 1940s. They are indeed Democratic leaning.* But they make their massive profits (net income was 383.5 million in 2018 according to an April 2019 National Law Journal article) from representing big, corporate clients. Brett Kavanaugh is much more likely to make decisions favorable to big Corporate clients than any Democratic-appointed Justice.**

    Lisa Blatt made some lip-service comments about abortion and precedent in her essay but what rankled many on the left is that she is from a class (white, wealthy, connected, well-educated) that will never have any problems seeking an abortion or access to birth control for herself or people in her circle that need it. Abortion rights are for those without such connections. Lots of liberals were able to see that while Ms. Blatt might vote straight-down Democratic, she is essentially a careerist looking out for the size of her bank account and what helps her career first over any of her other values.

    The most “bipartisanship” in politics seems to come from a small group of high-level party functionaries that switch from government to private work based on the party in control of the White House. They are always in high-level positions in both sectors. This group has known each other since they were eighteen if not before. They represent the same clients that they later regulate. Or they regulate the clients that they later represent. It should be pretty easy to see how this is a big problem and might lead to regulations being less tough than they should be and need to be. There should be a way to combat this.

    *In the field of BigLaw, there are firms that lean Democratic and firms that lean Republican. Arnold Porter was always known for attracting Democratic types because of the Abe Fortas connection. Kirkland & Ellis and Williams Connelly lean Republican.

    **A good example is this case which went well for plaintiffs’/ordinary Americans only because Justice Thomas’ idiosyncraticies lead him to unique positions from time to time. If Merrick Garland was appointed, the corporate Defendants would not have had a chance:

    https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/05/clarence-thomas-home-depot-consumer-rights-class-action-liberals.htmlReport

  2. Avatar Stillwater says:

    Let’s start with the problems with the premise here: Bipartisanship good, lobbyist bad.

    Nope, that’s not the premise. For starters, the premise of the AOC/Cruz convergence has nothing to do with bipartisanship being good. For seconders, the view isn’t that lobbyists are bad, but that CCers-becoming-lobbyists are bad. And honestly, if the libertarian view is to let the nexus of money, government and connections roll, I’m disappointed in libertarians.Report

  3. Avatar Philip H says:

    Oh please. The issue isn’t that lobbying is bad per se, its that Congresspersons go to firms that are not lobbying for you and me – because those don’t exist and instead go to the big cushy firms that handle large donor clients. None of those congressman are using their private citizen stature to lobby for something they personally believe in (which is what the Framers were after since in England you had to be a Courtier to get the Kings favor).Report

  4. Avatar Jaybird says:

    So it’ll create an additional layer of inefficiency?

    Rep. John Jackson is barred from being a registered lobbyist, but Lobbyist Jack Johnson has to hire former Rep. John Jackson as a consultant?

    Eh, that’d be a good way to give sinecures to nephews and whatnot.

    I guess I’m for it.Report

  5. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    Weird how in the efficient private sector, the idea an employee can take their insider knowledge of how things work, then turn around and use it for personal enrichment with a competing firm is widely understood, and made illegal.Report

  6. Avatar Pinky says:

    It seems to me that a principled conservative and a principled liberal could both arrive at this position. So I can’t judge them negatively on that respect. As for them reaching across the aisle, I hope to see more of that. If politicians can find common ground, and the only thing stopping them from cooperating is the letter after their names, we should want to see them work together. Isn’t that what we always hear, that both sides have supported common sense (blank) reform, but they refuse to work together because it would give the other side a win? Personally, I’d like to see more compromise where people vote a little bit against their interests for an overall win. I’m not going to complain about two politicians supporting something they arguably both believe in.Report

  7. Avatar PD Shaw says:

    Bipartisanship is usually confused with non-partisan. Bipartisanship is often the most partisan partisanship of them all.Report

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