From the Department of Credit where Credit is Due
Tom Daschle, a former Senate Majority leader, is widely liked in DC. He's considered a lovely man, wise and with a wide network of supporters and loyalists that were fighting the Clinton wing of the party in the 1990s through Congress. Of course, Daschle is also known as a key supporter of the Iraq war, co-sponsoring and jamming through the Iraq War resolution, undercutting Joe Biden's attempt to push a different resolution requiring UN authorization before the President was authorized to use force. It's possible to see this as just a bad political decision, but there's more behind the scenes.
His wife, Linda Daschle is a lobbyist for pharmaceutical industries, aerospace, and defense contractors. During her husband's time as a key political leader within the Democratic Party, she pledged to remain independent of her husband's work, but that kind of conflict of interest, with a Senate Majority leader married to a defense contracting lobbyist is pretty severe.
It's quite obvious that Daschle didn't take the conflict of interest very seriously, as he did very well after leaving the Senate in 2004, joining K Street law firm Alston and Bird to become a special advisor paid in the neighborhood of a million dollars a year to help in "the law firm's legislative and public policy group." He was recruited by another Alston and Bird's special advisor, Republican Presidential candidate Bob Dole. Daschle was an ally of corporate interests in Congress, literally married to them in fact. And outside of Congress, he reaped a rich reward.
The kicker of course, is that Alston and Bird did work lobbying on immunity for telecoms on FISA, even serving as a recruitment bed for the McCain campaign. And that's what is really going on. Bribery. Tom Daschle goes in the Washington Post and makes the argument that Obama is being pragmatic by caving to big business on a core issue of civil liberties. He preaches the virtues of bipartisanship while working at a firm whose McCain supporting lawyers also support immunity for telecom interests. Meanwhile, Daschle and his wife are and did make enormous sums of money lobbying for the firms benefiting from Obama's so-called pragmatism. It's a sick, perverted, corroded system whereby perpetual political losers like [Dukakis flak and Third Way maven] Matt Bennett and affable status quo lobbyists like Tom Daschle push their agenda through journalists like [WaPos'] Jonathan Weisman, without any disclosure whatsoever about possible conflicts of interest. And it's bipartisan and flows through the leadership of both parties.
I don't think Stoller's quite at the "sack of pus" stage, yet, but a man can dream. Read the whole thing, and meet the new bosses.
New kind of politics my sweet Aunt Fanny.
The old Firesign Theatre slogan "Not Insane!" has never seemed more relevant. Or more unlikely.
NOTE Thanks to DCBlogger for the link. I guess I'll have to start reading Stoller again. Such a pleasure to add people onto the list!