The romance between the House Majority and lobbying and ethics reform is like the made-up relationship of an 8th grader who wants to impress his friends at camp with lurid tales of his hot girlfriend back home. From the Associated Press:
It was only in January that Republicans and Democrats battled for the ethical high ground. They proposed to outlaw privately funded travel, ban meals and gifts from lobbyists, and slow the move of former lawmakers to lobbying jobs.
Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., who has led GOP lobbying efforts in the House, said at the time he hoped to pass a bill by the end of February.
There’s your fantasy relationship. Just like the steamy make-out sessions in the illusory relationship none of this is true. Instead the House narrowly passed a pathetic excuse for reform and now refuses to name members to the conference committee. The Senate has done no better. They passed a slightly better reform package than the House and then placed anti-reform Senators onto the conference committee.
The AP article quotes Ross Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University, stating that Americans have a “a built-in cynicism” about politicians and corruption and therefore “most ordinary Americans really don’t think much can be done”. Politicians seem to think that they should only respond when their constituents are pressing them to do something. In this case they ought to try and rescuse their public image by passing serious reforms over every expectation of a cynical public. Perhaps that would restore more confindence in our governing system. Or maybe Congress feels the same way about public trust in government as President Bush does about gay marriage: they just don’t give a sh-t.