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Michael Goldfarb: “Pushing A Storyline” On Lobbyists? Or Just Phoning It In?


Is this deliberately malicious insinuation or outright lazy ineptitude for the Weekly Standard’s Michael Goldfarb:

Late last week the Hill put out a list of the top 20 lobbying firms in Washington. The list detailed year over year performance for each firm. Most of the firms on the list saw revenue decrease in 2008 by between 5 and 15 percent. Field leader Patton Boggs saw a drop of 8 percent from $42.7 million to $39.2 million, with a weak fourth quarter of just $9.3 million. Still, one firm on the list showed unbelievable growth over the last year….Oddly enough, [the firm showing substantial growth] — the Podesta Group — just happens to boast a managing partner who shares a last name with the man that ran Barack Obama’s transition, John Podesta….

Well, let’s try to answer a few questions about lobbying for poor, befuddled Goldfarb, shall we?  

First of all, Mikey, does the name Jack Abramoff ring any bells for you? K Street Project?   

Ralph Reed, Grover NorquistKarl RoveTom DeLayEd BuckhamAlexander Strategy Group, David Safavian, Tony Rudy, Rick Santorum, John Cornynpay-to-play?  

Any of this sound familiar?  

It should — it was a big GOP project starting in 1989 and continuing well into the Bush Administration.  Pay-to-play was the name of the GOP game — if you needed legislative assistance, you either paid well-connected GOP operatives, or you didn’t get a seat at the power table.

And, funny enough, Michael, you fail to even acknowledge any of this. Ooopsie. Innocent oversight, I’m sure.

But wait, there’s more.  Goldfarb relies on a drop in Patton Boggs earnings as proof — PROOF!!! — there’s a liberal conspiracy afoot regarding a rise in Podesta’s earnings.  Couldn’t possibly be due to clientele that the earnings differential would be there, could it?

Patton Boggs relies on the Trial Lawyer’s Association (which like most lawyers reliant on corporate and other litigation income are seeing a downturn at the moment in this economy) and the Soros hedge fund (no idea what their assets are doing, but what hedge fund isn’t uber-volatile right now?).  Golly, they sure are non-liberals, aren’t they?  The Podesta stable of clients?  Includes folks like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, BP and General Dynamics — not exactly downcycle businesses at the moment, thanks to the chest-thumping of some of Goldfarb’s WS colleagues, eh?  

Yep.  Conspiracy out the yin yang.

So, riddle me this:  Is Goldfarb merely phoning it in here, failing to gather basic factual information and doing an altogether sloppy job of drawing inferences out of thin air and refusing to take history into account on the ebb and flow of lobbying moolah through the years?  Or is this yet another example of goober-licious malice aforethought, what Goldfarb himself once called "pushing a storyline," regardless of what the underlying facts might be?  

Of course, I also note Goldfarb fails to mention all the lobbyists on the McCain campaign’s payroll, too.  

Guess Goldfarb didn’t have a problem with Charlie Black making calls to his lobbying clients on the "Straight Talk" bus with McCain, either.  Goldfarb was working as McCain’s Deputy Press flack during the campaign, and I don’t recall his denouncement of that — or any of the other lobbyists he worked with on the McCain campaign — do you?  

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com