Democrats Maureen Walsh and Andy Rosenberg stood on the side of a street in a Northern Virginia subdivision where the hum of Interstate 66 lingered in the background. They studied a rudimentary map of the neighborhood and flipped through pages on a clipboard to brush up on their script.
It was Saturday, a warm autumn afternoon only 10 days before the elections.
The pair, both lobbyists in D.C., was sent by the re-election campaign of Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) to use their skills of professional persuasion to convince undecided voters to cast their ballots for Connolly and other Democrats on the ticket in the battleground state—Kate Ackley, Roll Call.
So, if you are a law-abiding, mind-your-own-business citizen who happens to live near the Imperial City, you can now add to your list of torments a possible visit from a professional lobbyist sometime during a weekend when you would might rather be doing just about anything else. Already, you cannot watch a football game without being bombarded by those 30-second political spots and now this. These are people who make a living by persuading others, by wearing down their resistance. Seeing them at your doorstep does not gladden the heart.
And, one wonders, don't these people ever get enough? They do this, live this, five days a week. Can't they just give it a rest over the weekend. Rake leaves or something. Do garbage collectors spend their weekends visiting the dump?
And, finally, there is this question. If a professional lobbyist goes out rusting votes for a member of Congress, is this not a sort of contribution in kind? And can the lobbyist not at least imply, when buttonholing that member of Congress after the election, that it might be time for a little payback.