Michael Needham is a lobbyist. At least, he was called a “conservative lobbyist” repeatedly during his recent appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press.
Now, I don’t have anything against lobbyists, per se. We have the right to petition government, as individuals, or for businesses, civic leagues, unions. Disagree with a group? Balk at a group’s influence? Well, when millions and billions are handed out — or taken away — through programs, taxes and regulations enacted on any given day in Washington, a company neglects to hire the eyes and ears and mouth of a lobbyist at its own risk. How can we begrudge them their defense?
On the other hand, the right to plead for special favors doesn’t justify our government doing the bidding of those special-interest pleaders.
“The problem,” Needham explained, is “33,000 lobbyists” that mostly work to preserve the “status quo in Washington D.C.”
NBC’s Andrea Mitchell snarkily shot back, “And how are those lobbyists different from you as a lobbyist?”
Unfortunately, he didn’t get a chance to answer: time ran out.
Needham heads up Heritage Action, a 700,000 member grassroots “lobbying organization” that advocates for conservative policies promoted by the Heritage Foundation.
He is not asking for a bridge project, a tweak to the tax code, a money-making regulatory advantage. He is advocating for what he and thousands of Americans believe is the right set of general policies for the country.
I don’t always agree with Needham or Heritage Action, certainly, but it’s sad to see him slapped with the misleading “lobbyist” label — for the more you lobby for the public interest, the more loathed you are in Washington.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.