Monday, January 30, 2006

Wooldridge in Washington

Our friend Howard Wooldridge checks in with his weekly report on the world of reform lobbyists. Having hung out with Howard when he's in action, which is always, I can just picture him buttonholing these guys.
How to Make a Politician Smile: Since my arrival, I have been telling Congressional Staffers how “Law enforcement is mosquito on the butt of an elephant. We don’t make a difference.” Late last week I followed that up with, “You’ve given us over a half billion dollars in the past 35 years and we have made 0.0 difference. Please, STOP GIVING US MONEY!!” So far every staffer but one (from Texas) has at least cracked a big grin with several saying they had never had anyone request less money for their issue.

I visited 27 offices during the week. It was the last week before all the Congressmen returned to town = free time will be at a premium.

The highlight of the week came on Friday, as LEAP speaker Norm Stamper was able to bring me to a dinner and social hour at a prestigious DC institute and think tank. . Norm, recently retired chief of police of Seattle, WA was a speaker at the event. The gathering included about 50 large-city mayors from around the USA. 4 of 8 that I chatted with came right out and agreed with the LEAP goal. Those declarations were followed quite quickly with the proviso that they would never whisper that in public. Hearing such things, it is such a sweet wine to the ear, followed by vinegar on the tongue, as they refuse to go public.
You know the really frustrating thing about that is I can't find anybody who thinks marijuana shouldn't be legal. I've been hanging around the right wing crowd at Gut Rumbles and look at the comments in this post. These guys are not centrists. They're not extremists either, they're mainstream Red State Republicans. So it's not like there's a lot of political danger with a reform plank.

The people get it. It's the politicians that don't.


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