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On January 20th, the Bushites were shown the door and sent packing – right?
Yes, but many of them didn’t go far. USA Today reports that nearly a third of George W’s cabinet members have landed in cushy and highly lucrative jobs on K Street, Washington’s corporate lobbying corridor. Some are called “lobbyists” and some prefer to be called “consultants,” but either way, what they’re doing is cashing-in on the contacts and insider knowledge they gained from their Bush years.
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Of course, seeing high-ranking public servants turn into rank, for-hire influence peddlers is nothing new. Many of Bill Clinton’s crew did it, too – but that doesn’t make the sell-out any less cheesey.
What’s especially notable about the Bush bunch is their efforts to try attaching a high, moral purpose to what they’re doing – which is essentially pimping for the corporate powers. For example, former homeland security chief Michael Chertoff now helps corporations get access to grants and contracts from the huge agency he headed. Chertoff insists that he’s not just another tacky lobbyist, but a sophisticated business consultant who can “share the benefit of our experience in terms of helping people understand how government works.”
Excuse me, Michael, but if “sharing” knowledge was really your goal, why not become a high school civics teacher? You could use your experience to help youngsters learn the unpleasant truth about how K-Street lobbyists work the government.
Chertoff could even point to Tom Ridge, another former head of homeland security, as a case study. Tom now rakes in a seven-figure annual paycheck by providing “strategic consulting services” to corporations and foreign governments. Which ones? He refuses to say, but a spokeswoman assures us that, “The way we conduct business is above board.”
Isn’t it a little “below board” to hide your special-interest clients from public view? But that, children, is the underhanded way government really works.
“Several Bush officials work in areas related to their former jobs,” www.usatoday.com, May 20, 2009.