The American League of Lobbyists is changing its name to remove the offending word “lobbyist.”
They considered “Association of Government Relations Professionals” and “National Association of Government Relations Professionals,” before settling on the former, reports our colleague Holly Yeager, titles that presumably won’t bring to mind the stereotypical (shh ) lobbyist, that oily gladhander who goes around buying off politicians with paper sacks of $50s.
The move reminds us of when the Association of Trial Lawyers of America changed its name to the American Association for Justice in 2006.
But in this case, why not take it a step further and simply replace the word “lobbyist” altogether with something fresher, something with less stigma?
We first thought of “foyerist,” as “foyer” is a fancier name for a lobby. Turns out, that one’s already taken. Seems the moniker is used to describe interior-design fans who like to peer into other people’s windows to admire their color schemes and such. (It’s a play on voyeur.)
Funny, we thought those were Peeping Toms. But perhaps the Toms of the world took umbrage.
Maybe they hired a lobbyist?
Anyway, we’re on the hunt for a better word. Something better than “government relations professional,” which is both a snooze and a mouthful. Got a suggestion? E-mail us at email@example.com.
Secretary of State John F. Kerry is obviously on a roll lately, working out a deal with the Russians in September on Syrian chemical weapons and over the weekend with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on the presence of U.S. forces in the country after 2014.
Reporters flying with Kerry back from Kabul asked State Department officials how he pulled off the draft Afghan deal, offering, as one reporter put it, a “chance for you to talk up your boss,” and talk about what Kerry “brought into this that got it done. . . . How did he change the dynamic to get something done.”
“Just don’t make it too hagiographic,” the reporter cautioned.
“Too what?” the briefer, known in the transcript as “Senior State Department Official Two” asked.
“Hagiographic,” the reporter repeated.
“Hagiographic?” Official Two asked.
Someone defined hagiographic, a word you might read but don’t often hear. (Means over-the-top flattering.)
“Okay. Too . . . okay,” Two said, citing Kerry’s and Karzai’s “long personal relationship,” Kerry’s “persistence” in going to Kabul to hammer something out and his “patience,” as “somebody who will sit there for hours and talk through the substantive issues.”
This tracks with Two’s recounting of the deal with the Russians, which reportedly almost did not happen. It was written by the U.S. side and agreed to in an impromptu poolside conversation between Kerry and Russian officials who dragged over chairs to join them. Kerry edited the draft on an iPad in his hotel room.
Meanwhile, not to get too hagiographic, but Kerry’s two-week, 23,000-mile jaunt to Japan, Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia and Afghanistan brought his travel total, according to State Department figures, to 213,000 miles this year, more than Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s total 2009 mileage. It’s on a pace to come close to, perhaps even best, Secretary Condoleezza Rice’s 241,499 first-year miles. Of course, the more successful he is, the less he’ll need to travel.
(Hint: If you want to best Rice, simply take on the endless, fruitless Middle East peace process.)
The California Republican first sharply lectured Park Service leadership for “not living up to” its obligations, as Park Service Director Jon Jarvis shifted uncomfortably in the hot seat. But that was just the warm-up.
“You’re not here for the first time,” Issa noted, recalling a previous dressing down the committee had given him during the Occupy Wall Street protests. “You came before one of our committees and made it clear that you were going to re-interpret the First Amendment to include basically people sleeping in the parks, defecating on the lawns, creating a health hazard for the people of the District of Columbia.”
Ah, so many fond memories . . .
This week’s debt ceiling/shutdown battle found House Speaker John Boehner tasked, as usual, with rounding up votes from his fellow Republicans.
A new book by former colleague Peter Baker — he now works for a New York newspaper — recalls how President George W. Bush, faced with the financial crash in late 2008, pushed through his Troubled Assets Relief Program, giving hundreds of billions of dollars to shore up a Wall Street system that had caused the crisis in the first place.
As Baker recounts in “Days of Fire,” Bush publicly said it was the only way to avert another Great Depression. But in private, he bemoaned the irony of a conservative, free-market, capitalist Republican sponsoring the biggest government intervention in the economy of his lifetime.
“Our people are going to hate us for this,” he told aides at one point.
Meeting in the Oval Office in September 2008, he implored Boehner, then the House minority leader, to deliver the votes to pass the program. “We need to get there,” Bush said.
“I’m trying,” Boehner replied. “I don’t have the support.”
Deja vu all over again.
With Emily Heil