Pots, Kettles, and the Corrupting Nature of Washington

This morning I noted Steve LaTourette’s op-ed against conservatives and raised the issue of his affair with a lobbyist. Several people thought it not relevant, but I think it is completely relevant. It gives a solid example of the corrupting nature of Washington, D.C. now that a permanent political class has arisen there.

Hypocrisy is defined as “the behavior of people who do things that they tell other people not to do.” And Steve LaTourette’s article in Politico Magazine was full of it.

In 2003, multiple newspapers reported that Steve LaTourette had left his wife for his then-chief of staff, Jennifer Laptook. Jennifer proceeded to leave Congress and register to lobby, where she, according to Salon, “acquired some major Cleveland-area clients for her lobbying business almost the instant she left the representative’s staff” and touted her relationship to Congressman LaTourette on her lobbying firm’s website.

After leaving congress bemoaning the lack of Congress’s ability to govern, Congressman LaTourette and his now wife, Jennifer LaTourette, started, from scratch, the lobbying practice at the McDonald’s Hopkins law firm. In 2013, the firm pulled in $1.1 million (I’m in the wrong business) in lobbying fees. This, despite the fact that Congressman LaTourette was banned from lobbying Congress for most of 2013. LaTourette’s lucrative lobbying practice is set to exceed $1 million again in 2014. In a New York Times piece, LaTourette described “his firm’s assignment as finding approximately 20 House Republican votes for his clients, the minimum count needed, along with the Democrats in the House, to get legislation his clients want passed.”

So you see, Steve LaTourette’s presidency of the Main Street Partnership (they used to be called the Republican Main Street Partnership, but under LaTourette, they dropped the “Republican” from the name and said they’d welcome Democrats) and his advocacy for “governing” isn’t about governing at all. It’s actually explicitly about electing people to Congress (moderates) who dovetail with his policy aims (bigger government) and his private business (making money off of moderates who vote for big government). Thus, his claims that conservative groups simply exist to make money are about as hypocritical as it gets. Pot, meet kettle.

What’s truly embarrassing is the fact that there are still Republican members of Congress for whom Steve is an ally and a political Svengali. Essentially Steve, who after 18 years in Congress boasts a lifetime 67% ranking from the American Conservative Union (the lowest of all Ohio Republicans the year he left Congress) is a pusher for tax increases, bailouts, green energy subsidies, and anything else that flies in the face of conservative policy. He stands for everything the Republican Party says they do not. His existence does more harm to the Republican Party brand, and more importantly, efforts to pass conservative policy, than any tea party group could ever do.

Being a lobbyist has led to a more comfortable lifestyle for Steve and his family. In 2002, then-Jennifer Laptook bought a modest three-bedroom house in Alexandria for just under $500,000. In 2009, she bought a $1.3 million mansion in McLean with six beds and five and a half baths. Given the revenue brought in by McDonald’s Hopkins this year, particularly now that Steve is now longer prohibited from lobbying his old colleagues, perhaps they can upgrade again.

After news of his affair, multiple newspapers quoted one of Steve’s constituents saying the following:

“He was a wonderful husband and father, the best I ever saw, until he went there. I told him I was trying to get him out of the dark side, all that power and greed and people kissing up to them all the time. Now he’s one of them. All they care about is getting re-elected.”

Those words were spoken by Susan LaTourette, Steve’s ex-wife. You see – Congressman LaTourette isn’t really a role model for any member of Congress looking to save America. He’s more of a sad and cautionary tale, and his career path is one Republican members of Congress would be wise not to repeat. The permanent political class residing in Washington, D.C. is a bug in the political system our founders did not intend. Is rise infects many who live in Washington, giving way to projection of their own sins onto others because, like Gollum clinging to his precious, they are convinced everyone else wants their precious too.

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Commentariat Is Not Constituency

“Government is not supposed to be efficient. The Founders recognized how bad things happen in efficient governmental systems.… Efficiency breeds tyranny.”

On Thursday, House Republicans failed to pass a piece of legislation related to the border crisis. The commentariat in Washington roundly criticized the House Republican leadership. On Friday, instead of trying to ram through a piece of legislation, the House GOP found consensus among its members and passed the legislation.

The commentariat roundly criticized the GOP for passing something that could not make it out of the Senate. Never mind that the Senate had already fled Washington. The Wall Street Journal editorial page assailed conservatives, Ted Cruz, Jeff Sessions, and the House GOP for bringing to the public’s attention to the rift within the GOP. Ironically, for a bunch of hand wringing about exposing rifts, the Wall Street Journal does a very good job of exposing it.

The media-centered commentariat has been wholly dismissive of the House GOP, Ted Cruz and Jeff Sessions, and the conservatives. The media wants a deal. The commentariat wants a deal. The institutionalist factions of Washington, D.C. are desperate for a deal. They have created their own echo chamber and feedback loop in favor of a deal and because they did not get what they wanted, the House GOP must have broken down in some way.

They blame Rush Limbaugh for the break. They blame RedState. They blame Heritage Action, FreedomWorks, the Senate Conservatives Fund, Madison Project, For America, Tea Party Patriots, and a long list of others. They say the House GOP is too interested in the opinions of these groups and catering to the whims of these groups. Really what they mean is that the House GOP is not catering to the commentariat, the Gang of 500, the DC institutionalists, and other like mind groups.

What they miss is simple. The House is not listening to them, but the House is not waiting with bated breath to take orders from Heritage Action, RedState, Rush Limbaugh or any other outside influencer save the most important — their constituents. The circle of jerks in Washington is so focused on their own needs and interests and so used to getting their way, they forget there is a more important constituency and it is actually made of up voting constituents.

The circle of jerks in Washington sometimes forgets the slow and grinding pace of government is all a feature and not a bug. They are used to getting their way. In the past few years they have had a harder and harder time getting their way. While this has made the allure of a go-it-alone President more intriguing for them, they forget the Founders designed the system to be extraordinarily difficult to get things done.

Consider, for a moment, the masturbatory gleefulness of the Circle of Jerks and their acolytes to this Steve LaTourette piece. LaTourette posits that conservative outside groups and their insiders like Ted Cruz are “grifters”. He posits they are a “grifter wing” opposing a “governing wing.” What LaTourette is really saying is that there are outsiders who more and more in Congress are listening to and there are insiders who Congress used to listen to and he wishes Congress would go back to listening to them. LaTourette’s firm made over a million dollars in 2013 and wants to be listened to.

Notice please that LaTourette never mentions two words: “voters” or “constituents.” He does not care about them. He cares about his profit and, in an act more and more common these days, projects his own sins onto others because it is the only way he understands them.

Given that LaTourette’s two greatest skills in Washington have been adultery and profiting from his tenure, I assume his next op-ed will accuse Ted Cruz of infidelity to conservatives. Yes, we should not be surprised that the man accusing conservatives of “grifting” cheated on his wife with a lobbyist who, some reports have noted, had business before the committee on which LaTourette sat while in Congress.

In fact, though the Circle of Jerks, their acolytes engaged in masturbatory glee at LaTourette’s crying, and guys like LaTourette himself ignore it, don’t mention it, and presume they are the constituency, there are in fact two houses of Congress with two different constituencies, plus a President and a court system — not to mention several states with the same systems duplicated in them. Government is not supposed to be efficient. The Founders recognized how bad things happen in efficient governmental systems. This gets to Ross Douthat’s excellent column on where Barack Obama is headed with the Circle of Jerks cheering him on. Efficiency breeds tyranny.

Whether one likes what happened in the House of Representatives or not, it is operating within the system the Founders created and they are listening to the constituency they are constitutionally chartered to listen to — voters in congressional districts. What the Circle of Jerks view as aggravating bugs hampering the system, the Founders viewed as a feature of the system. We may be at the “halt and catch fire” point of this feature, but that then is what elections are for. When the country is ever more divided, the congress necessarily works ever more slowly by design.

The bug in the system is a Washington of permanence. The Founders did not intend that to be a feature. The politicians were supposed to go home. They were not supposed to be a fixture of the swamp creating a new aristocracy. That is what they have become. The system is on the verge of a constitutional crisis because of this permanent class of politician turned lobbyist befriended by a commentariat who whore each other for gossip, sleep with each other for pleasure, dine with each other for frivolity, and circle the wagons against the outsiders. Steve LaTourette, who laments that he is not being listened to anymore, is a perfect example of this. He cheats on his wife with a lobbyist, leaves office, and stays to turn the system and taxpayer dollars toward his preferred interests. Then he has the audacity to accuse others of “grifting” in a publication that itself profits from the present system of permanence. Pot, meet kettle.

They are so used to the bug of permanence that they turned it into a feature to grease wheels and speed things along. When the system corrects itself, when elections change things, and when the gridlock by constitutional design rears its head, they would rather add more bugs to the coding than step back, take a breath, and remember things are supposed to be slow and they themselves are not supposed to be permanent.

We head now to a constitutional crisis because the political class that should have never been permanent cannot get its way from a system working as its founders intended it — a system where the members of the House of Representatives listen to their voters in their districts, not to general public opinion polling, editorialists, commentators, pundits, or politicians turned lobbyists.

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Next Weekend, House Republicans Collaborate With Left-Wing Interests Against Conservatives

Next weekend, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, and twenty-five other members of Congress are flying to Amelia Island to collaborate with a group dedicated to defeating conservatives in Congress.

The Republican Main Street Partnership’s offshoot “Main Street Advocacy” is hosting the event at the Ritz Carlton on Amelia Island. Steve LaTourette, a liberal Republican former Congressman from Ohio, is the face in front of the group. LaTourette is good friends with John Boehner. Behind the scenes, LaTourette’s group is funded by the vast left-wing conspiracy. According to an email inviting people to the event, “People that are attending have donated $5,000 to the PAC.”

As I reported at the first of the year, LaTourette’s group has received money from left leaning unions, George Soros back organizations, and a major Democrat contributor.

The Mainstreet Partnership has multiple offshoots all housed on the 6th floor of a 7th Street office in Washington, D.C. Together, the groups — including Main Street Advocacy — want to, in the words of their backers, “bolster our incumbents who are under attack from the far right, and ensure that we hold on to seats represented by pragmatic Republicans that we would otherwise loose if there was an ultra-conservative in the general runoff.”

Their disclosures expose the lie. The group claims to be conservative and to support Republicans, but it is funded by the left. LaTourette himself has a long history of attacking conservatives and trying to defeat conservatives.

Next weekend, he is luring the top there Republicans in the House of Representatives and twenty-five others to the Ritz in Amelia Island to shake hands and collaborate with the very donors intent on defeating not just conservatives, but Republicans.

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