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Beartooth Regular
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WASHINGTON POWER 25
Fat and Happy in D.C.
Republicans are busting out all over, not just in Congress and the White House but also on Fortune's latest list of the capital's most powerful lobbyists.
FORTUNE
Monday, May 28, 2001
By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum

Maybe it's a coincidence, but Washington is gorging on red meat. Carnivores have stormed the capital, and this city is nothing if not adaptive. From Smith & Wollensky to Nick & Stef's, from Angelo & Maxie's to the Caucus Room, new steak houses have popped up faster than a politician can pocket a campaign contribution. There are other changes too, like the reappearance of men in boots and women in pearls. But the biggest change is that the Republican Party controls every lever of power in town: the Oval Office, the Senate, the House, the Cabinet. The Democrats? Let 'em eat crumbs!

Although the Grand Old Party isn't about to get everything it wants, a new establishment has taken hold with George W. Bush. This year's Power 25 survey--FORTUNE's list of Washington's most powerful lobbying groups--reflects the turn. Republican organizations are notably on the rise, while Democratic ones are waning. For the first time in four years, the Power 25 has a new No. 1. The heavily Republican National Rifle Association has replaced the nonpartisan American Association of Retired Persons as the group with the most clout in the capital. FORTUNE's survey was conducted by mail in March and April by the Mellman Group, a Democratic polling firm, and by Public Opinion Strategies, a GOP firm.

Although city slickers might be aghast at the ascendancy of the NRA, this is a highly focused, well-financed organization. Despite high-profile school shootings and unrelenting pressure from gun-control advocates, the NRA has held gun-control legislation at bay. How? By electing its supporters to Congress and, last year, to the White House. In particular, the NRA was pivotal in defeating Al Gore in Arkansas, Tennessee, and West Virginia--all states that usually vote Democratic. If Gore had won just one of them, he would now be President.

Nothing inspires zealotry like a threat, and few people feel more threatened than gun owners, more and more of whom are finding comfort in the NRA. It has 4.3 million members, up one million since last year, and two million since 1998. Its budget increased from &#36180 million to &#36200 million last year, including &#3635 million for political campaigns. The money supports a state-of-the-art lobbying machine with its own national newscast, one million precinct-level political organizers, and an in-house telemarketing department. The NRA's pre-election rallies in 25 cities last year drew 5,000 to 9,000 people each--often more than Gore drew.

At No. 2 on the Power 25, AARP is not exactly a has-been. Its budget last year was a staggering &#36542 million. No lawmaker or President would dare to propose changes in Social Security or Medicare without consulting this 34.8-million-member behemoth. But AARP is also a house divided. Half of its membership is under age 65 (people become eligible to join at 50). It even publishes a magazine called My Generation to appeal to baby-boomers, the oldest of whom turn 55 this year. AARP may have difficulty deciding which group to represent: retirees or the soon-to-retire. Retirees, for example, tend to favor keeping Social Security just as it is. Boomers generally support changes to ensure that the program will be there when they retire.

Another reason for AARP's slide may be its political neutrality. GOP-friendly groups excelled in 2001. Republican bastions like the National Beer Wholesalers Association (No. 8) moved up strongly. Pro-business groups, including the National Association of Realtors (No. 9), the National Association of Manufacturers (No. 10), and the National Association of Home Builders (No. 11), also advanced. The Business Roundtable, whose members are CEOs, went from No. 37 to No. 26.

By contrast, two mostly Democratic labor unions, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (No. 27) and the United Auto Workers (No. 33), fell off the Power 25. The National Education Association, a teachers' union, dipped from No. 9 to No. 14. The AFL-CIO dropped a slot, from No. 5 to No. 6. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters barely clung to the bottom of the list at No. 25.

Some of the changes had nothing to do with partisan politics. For beating back Napster, the Internet music-swapping service, the Recording Industry Association jumped from No. 40 to No. 22. Two groups joined the list after successfully lobbying for an increase in Medicare reimbursements--the American Hospital Association (No. 13) and the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America (No. 24). The Health Insurance Association of America rose from No. 25 to No. 19 by helping delay a vote on the Patients' Bill of Rights. The Power 25 poll reflects the divergent views of lawmakers and other insiders, but on one issue there's consensus. A former highflier has been laid low; the Christian Coalition, No. 7 in 1997 and No. 35 in 1999, fell to No. 65 this year. It has never recovered from the departure of its charismatic director Ralph Reed.

But the overall story of the list is the triumph of the GOP. Lobbying companies followed the same pattern as the lobbying organizations. The new No. 1 firm is Barbour Griffith & Rogers, led by Haley Barbour, former chairman of the Republican National Committee. His company replaces Verner Liipfert Bernhard McPherson & Hand (No. 3), which has a stellar but painstakingly bipartisan roster of marquee partners (Bob Dole, George Mitchell). Another company, Podesta & Mattoon, rose from No. 14 to No. 9 partly by adding a Republican partner, Dan Mattoon, and making him part of the name alongside Democrat Tony Podesta. Similarly, the law firm Greenberg Trauig zoomed from No. 40 to No. 21 after it hired a slew of former GOP leadership aides. In contrast, OBC Group (No. 23) fell out of the top ten after its big-name GOP partner, Nick Calio, quit to direct the White House lobbying efforts.

This is no time to short Republicans.
 

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Beartooth Regular
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1,116 Posts
Did I detect just a hint of teeth clenching by this Birnbaum fellow as he described NRA? I do hope so!
The comment about big draws at the pre-election gatherings is true. We had two here in Pittsburgh. Heston and LaPierre at the first, the latter by himself for the second. Both drew at least 4000 each event in a ballroom rated for 2000.

Now the important thing is keep this up! Turn out that many for even local politicos that are pro-gun and we'll all be much happier and safer. So will the likes of friend Birnbaum, even though he'd never admit it.
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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Contender,

Thought you'd be interested in this recent headline from CNN news - quite frankly, I'm at a lose for words:

"A bill that would have made Maryland the first state to require public schools to teach gun safety from kindergarten through 12th grade was vetoed Thursday by Gov. Parris Glendening.

The governor said he would have signed the bill if lawmakers had not added provisions allowing educators to take middle-school and high school students to gun ranges and to work with organizations such as the National Rifle Association to develop the courses.

"I support efforts to create responsible gun-safety programs in our schools," Glendening said. "However, this bill would create a clear appearance of the state encouraging young people to handle weapons and potentially furthering their interest in a time when we are trying to fight the scourge of gun violence."

The bill raises "the specter of the National Rifle Association taking busloads of 13-year-old boys and girls off to a firing range for a day of shooting," the governor added.

The NRA did not immediately return calls for comment.

The bill was approved by a wide margin in the General Assembly, with support that crossed political and ideological lines.

Many teachers, however, had objected to the cost and the shooting range provision. Educators have been among the strongest political supporters of Glendening, a former college professor. "
 

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Beartooth Regular
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1,116 Posts
DOK,

This just adds more proof that the likes of Glendening, Sarah Brady, Chuckie Schumer, etc. could care less about real gun safety. They hide behind that thin veil so that they appeal to the unthinking masses. At that level of the "gun control" debate it is about the ultimate confiscation of all arms and destruction of the Second Amendment.
 

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Beartooth Regular
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1,177 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Exactly!

Actually, what they really are afraid of is that the kids might like it!

God forbid we should teach any respect or responsibilty for firearms to these kids, who knows they might form a lifelong interest in the shooting sports and firearms in general and then proceed to vote these leftists out of office.

This is the same crap reasoning that our wonderful governor gave for his veto of gun safety legislation over a year ago here in NY. Then he bragged that he "stood up to the NRA". The only difference is he's a Republican and was originally voted into office by gunowners. Now, after stabbing us in the back within the last year, his last appearance was at a MMM rally on Mother's Day.


Rant Mode Off,

:cool:
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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This type of dishonesty reminds me of an insight gained from the "Gun Show Loophole" article in the May 2001 American Rifleman.  The prior administration and their supportors (certainly the Million Moms) were belaboring the horrendous loophole of not requiring all gun show purchases be screened.  The article offers data developed by the NIJ (National Institute of Justice, the research & development branch of the US Department of Justice) and released in December 1997. The NIJ studied the convicted felons in 12 state prisons to find source of the firearms they used. Gun shows represented 1.7%!!!!  Now the Clinton admin. had to of know the results developed by their own personnel, but you never heard them indicate it was only 1.7%, just that it was a scandulous loophole that had to be closed. Of all the ways to get the "biggest bang for the buck", 1.7% ain't it -- but it made for easy, "let's pass more laws" and make good sound bites, but dishonest rhetoric.
 

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Beartooth Regular
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1,116 Posts
The gun hating crowd reminds me of a steady drip of water. Day after day, year after year, the water continues to drip. In time, the Grand Canyon is created.
The gun haters are equally patient and committed.
 
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