Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 2, 2010

THE FAMILIAR RING OF THE K STREET PROJECT.... The notorious K Street Project became synonymous with Republican excesses of the Gingrich/DeLay/Bush era, and for good reason. As part of the effort, GOP leaders told business leaders that those who supported the Republican agenda across the board would be rewarded with access and influence; those whose loyalties were questioned would be locked out of the policymaking process.

It became a devastating scandal for the Republican Party, and Exhibit A in the culture of corruption that helped drive the GOP from power in 2006. Indeed, when John Boehner sought a leadership post in January 2006, he vowed that under his guidance, "[T]here will no longer be a K Street Project, or anything else like it."

The elaborate scheme has not been resuscitated, at least not yet. But the Washington Post has an important front-page piece today, explaining that something resembling the K Street Project is already taking shape among Republicans on the Hill.

Republicans have a message for the businesses that worked closely with the Obama administration over the past two years on key controversial issues: We won't forget.

Take the case of Wal-Mart, the behemoth big-box retailer that liberals have long loved to hate. Several years ago, it began to break ranks with industry groups by speaking out in favor of a minimum wage increase and health-care reform. And, for the first time in its history, it gave more money to Democrats than the GOP for Tuesday's elections.

The corporation's moves caught the eye of Republican Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan. During a phone call with company lobbyists last year during the fight over the health-care bill, Camp bluntly reminded Wal-Mart of its unpalatable position on the issue, according to sources familiar with the conversation.

Now, Wal-Mart's political team finds itself in an awkward position. Camp is poised to become the next chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.

Companies that worked with the Democrats over the past two years would face a far less sympathetic audience from Republicans, who are expected to make significant gains in the midterm elections. If they gain control of Congress, party leaders have pledged to revisit the health-care bill and lower taxes for businesses.

"Some businesses joined in on the hang-me-last strategy," said Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.). "I think upon reflection, in moments of candor, they may say they were foolish to do that."

The report didn't elaborate on precisely what Roskam meant by that, but in context, the comment implies that businesses "were foolish" to work with the governing majority of the last two years -- because Republicans will be in a position to punish those businesses now.

Keep in mind, this isn't the first hint of the K Street Project's return we've seen. In May, GOP leaders announced they were "keeping score" when it came to corporate PACs' campaign donations. If lobbyists want to start writing legislation again, the way they did before there was a Democratic majority, the implication was that they'd have to start buying that influence once again.

All of this, of course, comes under the leadership of John Boehner, who makes no secret of his affinity for lobbyists, whom he turns to for practically everything.

When GOP leaders vowed to take America back to "the exact same agenda," they were referring to Bush/Cheney on policy, but they were probably also thinking of Tom DeLay when it came to governance.

Steve Benen 10:40 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (16)

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Comments

Of course Rethugs are going to reward their corporate sponsors. That's what they are elected to do. And of course they are going to punish those who are not on board with their fascist policies. That's what they are elected to do. What I want to know is what media is going to investigate and report this behavior? And what justice department is going to prosecute these bastards?

Posted by: Chopin on November 2, 2010 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Possible Problem: WalMart is not going to have as much clout with the Republican controlled House as it otherwise would want because it worked with the Democratic controlled House on Health care legislation.

Likely solution: WalMart can work more closely with the Democratic controlled Senate and President Obama (even if this means it must stop locking its employees in its stores) and then do everything it can to make certain the Republicans don't control the House after the next election.

Posted by: robert on November 2, 2010 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

So now Republicans are openly blackmailing corporations for donations or they won't work with them.

Great.

I thought it went the other way around.

Posted by: mikefromArlington on November 2, 2010 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

The US under Bitch and Boner:
"One nation,
under the highest bidder,
With freedom and liberty
to those who can afford it."

Posted by: c u n d gulag on November 2, 2010 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

Thoreau rethought

So who is in the saddle controlling mankind?
Republicans or Corporations?

Posted by: koreyel on November 2, 2010 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Keep in mind, it's "We the People" voting them into power. we have ourselves to blame. This is no surprise. Everyone knows this is going to happen as soon as they take back control. The American People are willfully giving them control.

We deserve the consequences.

Posted by: SaintZak on November 2, 2010 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Stupid is as stupid does.

Couldn't put it any better than Gump when it comes to the idiots voting in the very criminals who put us where we are.

Nauseating...

Posted by: Stevio on November 2, 2010 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

To be consistent with his deep concern for our nation, Boehner will make repeal of the tanning tax his Number 1 priority.

Posted by: Bob on November 2, 2010 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans have a conflicting interests problem in that most businesses would benefit from a takeover of all health insurance by the government, assuming it is not paid for with income or other taxes on businesses themselves (why shouldn't Walmart support health-care reform). This has to be balanced against the huge monetary power of health-care industries (including physicians - the AMA is usually among the top 3 lobbyists) for which the issue is of primary importance. Of course Democrats have the same problem to the extent that they ignore the clear preference of the people for single-payer.

Posted by: skeptonomist on November 2, 2010 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

So its back to record earmarks, culture of corruptio [which blind loyalty often breeds] record spending another OSP for war.

Jesus would be so proud.


Not.

Posted by: Kill Bill on November 2, 2010 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Theodore Roosevelt—“The citizens of the United States must control the mighty commercial forces which they themselves call into being.”

Posted by: Kill Bill on November 2, 2010 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

There hads been no "devastating" scandal against a Republican since Richard Nixon left office. IOKIYAR! By the way teabagging idiots, you and Dick Army have 0 in common!

Tools.......

Posted by: Trollop on November 2, 2010 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

Keep in mind, it's "We the People" voting them into power. we have ourselves to blame. This is no surprise. Everyone knows this is going to happen as soon as they take back control. The American People are willfully giving them control.

We deserve the consequences.
Posted by: SaintZak on November 2, 2010 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK************************

Maybe, but the eVoting machines are so easily manipulated, with NO audit trail, and controlled by Repig loving corporations. It matters little who votes, what matters is who COUNTS the votes.

Posted by: In what respect, Charlie? on November 2, 2010 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

The GOP wouldn't wise to piss Wal-Mart off. And the Dems would be wise to court them.

Posted by: JEA on November 2, 2010 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

So who is in the saddle controlling mankind?
Republicans or Corporations?

Thoreau [re-]rethought

Republicans = Law making arm of Corporations

But who is now in the saddle controlling Republicans?
Mega Corp USA or FOX TeaTard Nation?

Posted by: AndThenThere'sThat on November 2, 2010 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Awesome site! You have some very interesting posts.. Nice background as well haha. Keep up the good work, Ill make sure you come by to see more of your page ^^

Posted by: Ashley Winston on February 2, 2011 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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