2 October 2009 The Uniform
“The Lobbyist sips coffee with three coffee-sipping colleagues at 9:04am in the American Grille eatery in Dirkinson Senate Office building’s basement. The table to his left seats four more. So does the table to his right, which is one-fourth female. All wear ‘the uniform’.”
-Notebook, 11 July
The uniform is dry cleaned crisp and anonymous; “professional garb,” says the award-winning beltway correspondent, “because professionalism is Washington’s most-essential visual currency.”
The most-essential non-visual currency?
“People tend to think it’s money. That’s not exactly true. It doesn’t take much to discover that the political contributions lawmakers get to vote a certain way are, ostensibly, non-binding donations to a non-profit political campaign. The lawmaker is under no obligation to vote the way the private health care industry, for example, wants them to vote. But unfortunately they do, in most cases.”
“Opposing certain moneyed interests is bad for the lawmaker’s political party because those same interests will work to unseat the candidate by funding his challengers. This means that the party has to factor in spending more in the candidate’s political district.”
“So if the party has a budget to elect as many of its members as possible. One of the main factors party strategists consider in order to gauge a candidate’s electability or reelectability is his opponent’s spending power.”
Washington culture unfolds.