The GOP's backdoor scorched-earth campaign

Since last November's electoral rout, the Republicans have redoubled their vigor in taking it to Democrats in the backrooms of power--specifically K Street, the Washington thoroughfare that power lobbyists have traditionally called home. Team Rove and its band of winged Congressional monkeys are mounting an offensive to remake the composition of major lobbying firms in a manner more befitting the GOP's control of every lever of official power.

The WashPost reports today on the K Street hiring boom, which has seen the number of lobbyists in DC double since 2000, to nearly 35,000. Customary retainer fees have doubled, and a former government staffer with any connections to speak of can expect a starting salary in the $300,000 range. Who says Washington isn't producing new, high-paying jobs?

The go-go culture on K Street is the subject of a piece by Elizabeth Drew in the current New York Review of Books. She notes that the GOP's "K Street Project" has been around since 1994, but has gained clout and momentum with each new biennium of the Bush era. It is spearheaded in part by the Republican anti-tax ideologue Grover Norquist, who tells Drew, "The K Street Project is far from complete. There should be as many Democrats working on K Street representing corporate America as there are Republicans working in organized labor--and that number is close to zero."

Drew goes on:

The Republican purge of K Street is a more thorough, ruthless, vindictive, and effective attack on Democratic lobbyists and other Democrats who represent businesses and other organizations than anything Washington has seen before. The Republicans don't simply want to take care of their friends and former aides by getting them high-paying jobs: they want the lobbyists they helped place in these jobs and other corporate representatives to arrange lavish trips for themselves and their wives; to invite them to watch sports events from skyboxes; and, most important, to provide a steady flow of campaign contributions. The former aides become part of their previous employers' power networks.

How long before the GOP runs a horse for Senate?

Read Drew's story here.

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