IS "I'M NOT A LOBBYIST" THE NEW "WE DON'T TORTURE"?
The New York Times uncovers ample evidence of Newt Gingrich's lobbying activities even as he continues to insist he's not a lobbyist:
Newt Gingrich is adamant that he is not a lobbyist, but rather a visionary who traffics in ideas, not influence. But in the eight years since he started his health care consultancy, he has made millions of dollars while helping companies promote their services and gain access to state and federal officials.
In a variety of instances, documents and interviews show, Mr. Gingrich arranged meetings between executives and officials, and salted his presentations to lawmakers with pitches for his clients, who pay as much as $200,000 a year to belong to his Center for Health Transformation....
Read the article for the details -- though on the question of whether Newt's activities qualify as lobbying, I'm sure you won't need much convincing. And yet Newt and his people deny that the term applies:
Mr. Gingrich and his aides have repeatedly emphasized that he is not a registered lobbyist, an important distinction in their effort to position him as an outsider who will transform the ways of Washington. They say that he has never taken a position for money and that corporations have signed on with him because of the strength of his ideas.
"You have somebody who knows what he believes in, he can effectively communicate it, and he's successful in doing it," said his spokesman, R. C. Hammond. "God bless America."
Most observers probably think that as the details of this lobbying activity come to light, Gingrich will lose favor with the GOP voter base. Of course, most observers thought he'd start losing favor when his ties to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac became widely known. That didn't happen, did it?
I say this all the time, but I'll say it again: Fox/talk radio/tea party right-wingers don't hate lobbying. They don't hate lobbyists. They don't hate the way money has corrupted politics. As I noted at the time of the decision, teabaggers absolutely loved the Citizens United decision -- it had them dancing in the aisles. When wingnuts see government consorting with business, they don't see two corrupt parties, they see one: government. Government is the House of the Rising Sun. It's been the ruin of many a poor, innocent corporation.
The evil goes one way. Lobbyists aren't bad -- government is bad because it gets lobbied. And yet wingnuts are sensitive to a widespread disgust with lobbying in the broader public.
So Gingrich is treating lobbying the way the Bush administration treated torture -- he's not making any real effort to conceal the fact that he's done it, he's just denying that the word applies.
And that should be enough for right-wing voters, because, Randians that they are, they love big business and support the right to lobby, just as they supported torture under Bush. Just don't call either of these things by its proper name.