Bob Franken

Caught in the Same-Old-Same-Old

(Originally published in “The Politico”)

Welcome to Casa Blanca on the Potomac, where the news of Tom Daschle’s post-Senate financial arrangements has caused so many of us to be “Shocked…SHOCKED”. Now, Daschle has become the opposition party’s first real trophy.

The Republicans needed a morale builder and they got it when Daschle withdrew, even though he was joined in some of his endeavors by card-carrying members of the GOP. Still, they now have a rallying cry: “Today HHS, tomorrow, the Stimulus bill!!”

The truth is that other than the obvious fact he could use a better accountant, failing to cash in would have made Senator Daschle one-of-a-kind. And you don’t flourish in Washington, DC by standing out from the crowd.

One could argue that yearning for more bipartisanship here is a waste of time. It’s already thriving. Look no further than this revolving door between the public and private sector.

Or should I say QUASI-private? Politicians of every stripe conduct their highly paid-shadow government business in the capital’s countless lobbying and government relations operations. Still, even with so many, there’s a crying need for one more.

Announcing the NABG…the National Association of Bad Guys. We provide one stop shopping for bankers, the insurance industry, automobile manufacturers, anyone who believes that “when the going gets rough, feed from the public trough.”

With both Democrats and Republicans on our marquee, we at NABG have our own slogan: “We Go Both Ways”

Catchy isn’t it? But it’s more than that. Our “advisers” include the cream of the crop of those who have served their time in the public sector and now want to exploit that experience by serving their own private needs. For them, when the going gets tough, they feed from the private trough.

We work very hard to pamper them. We pay them millions, arrange ghost writers for their memoirs. We provide tax advice, we even give them a free subscription to “Car and Driver” magazine.

They’re worth it. If the law prevents them from calling their former colleagues, they always know, as the joke goes “WHOM to call”. Their billable hours can be spent helping clients with tactical advice (hide the corporate jet), a hand to hold and a speech before shareholders (extra charges apply).

We also realize that after many have assured their future prosperity they start yearning for the ego trips they got in government. We encourage them to return, since they now have such a sympathetic understanding of your needs, Mr. And Ms. Corporate Client. After all, you’ve been paying their way, and they’re not going to forget that.

Perhaps that’s why this administration has recycled so many who had seemed to disappear in the garbage heap of special interest. These are the ones who know how the game is played, how to deliver on the promises of “Change We Can Believe In”.

At the same time, remember that the Oligarchy Highway is a two-way street. There is always a steady supply of prominent officer-holders, waiting to discover that K Street is paved in gold. They will become the new names on the NABG masthead, devoted to making sure that “Change” doesn’t jeopardize profits.

For more information, please visit our website at

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