Skip to comments.Why is being a "Washington insider" derided by so many in the media? (foreverfree's vanity)
Posted on 11/13/2008 7:18:01 PM PST by foreverfree
On another, sports oriented board (that has a sub-board for non-sports issues) there was a thread about the pres. election, and someone on that thread commented how in 2000, McCain was lauded as a "Washington maverick" (and I've never understood that label re anyone, either) but in 2008 he was derided as a "Washington insider", opening the door for Obumma. I post there sometimes (using my FR handle) and asked on that thread why "DC insider" is such a bad label. I'm still waiting for a response there. Maybe FReepers can explain, huh, pleeze?
Yet, they hate anyone who is not a “Washington insider.”
Being a Washington insider should be a good thing if it implies that you know the system and you know how to get things done.
The pejorative is that it assumes that you’ve adopted elitist attitudes, you’ve lost touch with the people back home and the way they see things, you’ve lost touch with the original reasons you came to Washington, you’ve become more involved in the process at the expense of principle. You’ve become a careerist willing to compromise on principle, although at election time you can still talk a good game.
A Washington insider who was still firmly rooted in principle could be the most valuable of political animals. But too often it seems to become just a career, and knowing which strings to pull becomes an end in itself rather than a means to an end.
Washington Maverick = Republican who criticizes his own party to gain publicity.
Washington Insider = Washington Maverick who shows up on the Sunday talk shows every chance they get to gain publicity.
Washington Maverick in waiting = Lindsey Graham.
This is because in Washington, they play by any number of different rules than in the rest of the country. And though you have to play by Washington rules in Washington, in the rest of the country, that behavior is seen as rude, weird and unethical.
For example, there is the IOU system. Because much legislation is locally oriented, the way you get it passed is through “positive” IOUs. “If you vote for my little bill, I will vote for a bunch of other little bills.” And when you end up getting a lot of positive IOUs, you can cash them in for truly important bills that you care about. The party leaders have to give out a huge amount of positive IOUs as well.
But then there are “negative” IOUs as well. Fewer congressmen deal in these, because they are based in threats. “Since you didn’t vote for a bill I cared about, I am going to vote against your bills.”
Congressmen are also surrounded by “Hill rats”, aids that actually write the bills, poll other Hill rats to see who will support it, and do a lot of the back room deals that lubricate the system. A lot of the Hill rats are very swinish, indeed. Rare is the congressman who even reads what he is voting for or against.
The lobbyists are really an amazing group of salesmen. Often they are the most contact most congressmen have with “the public”. They explain technical issues, contribute ideas and wording to legislation, and try to get congressmen to vote their way.
Surrounding DC is the Beltway, populated with the “Beltway Bandits”, who are paid consultants for everything the government does. Often they are paid huge sums just for simple things like finding phone numbers. They are subcontractors for information of all kinds.
The bureaucracy are for the most part under the Executive branch, and every government department has to provide enormous amounts of information to congress. If a congressman is on a military committee, he has to spend a lot of time dealing with the Pentagon, both on the phone and in person. And they have their own slant on things as well.
Put it all together, and after a time of doing things the Washington way, congressmen go home and scare their constituents by acting like they are from another planet. Often they have to simplify issues so much they are effectively lying, and sometimes they have to muddle through in the middle of an issue so they won’t horribly offend their voters.
On those occasions the MSM derides Washington it is largely so that you think the MSM are NOT Washington insiders. However, when a Sarah Palin comes along, well, the aspects and characteristics they attack are all related to her being an “outsider,” and thus naive or stupid or lacking experience or “gravitas.” So, on those occasions the MSM are the insiders, Palin is the bumpkin and you of course are a doofus if you agree with Palin.