So Damn Much Money by Robert G. Kaiser
A sage politician by the name of Jesse Unruh once observed that “money is the mother’s milk of politics.” Robert G. Kaiser believes the nation’s capital is drowning in it. His book, So Damn Much Money: the Triumph of Lobbying and the Corrosion of American Government, is an account of how Washington politics has changed since the 1970’s as seen through the lens of one of the largest and most successful lobbying firms, Cassidy & Associates. It is not, he says, “a pretty tale.”
According to Kaiser, a veteran reporter and editor at the Washington Post, excess money and a “new class” of lobbyists have together caused “ethical rot in the nation’s capital” and are the source of a litany of government’s failings. The need to raise vast sums of campaign contributions dissuades talented citizens from running for office, forces those who do to avoid discussing real problems on the stump, and diverts their attention from such problems once elected. Money has obliterated the distinction between electioneering and governing; turned campaigns into a blood-sport of negative advertisements that alienate voters; and destroyed public trust in government. Finally, the explosion of “earmarks”—congressional appropriations for specific projects that are the particular province of lobbying efforts—has undermined the public interest.
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