For many years, lobbyists in Washington have had a free hand in the ways they employed to influence Congress. One of the most blatant was conveyed in a tactic called “bundling.” The lobbyist would solicit support for a candidate observing carefully the legal limits on how much an individual contributed. But, the lobbyist bundled the separate gifts and delivered the impressive total to the candidate who indeed felt indebted to the lobbyist for the support. But, in addition, lobbyists treated candidates to meals, to trips, to membership in country clubs, etc.
When in the mid-term election of 2006, the Democrats won a majority of the seats in both House and Senate not much in the way of progressive legislation was expected. President Bush still had the veto power and the Democrats did not have the necessary two-thirds to override the veto.
But on the second day of August, the Senate passed a bill imposing numerous restrictions on the traditional ways in which lobbyists operated. That, in itself, is no surprise because the Democrats do have a majority in the Senate. But what was unexpected was the lopsided nature of the vote. The vote was 83 for and 14 against.
This means that if the President vetoes the bill there are enough votes to override his veto. The White House has lost control over its party’s delegation in the Senate.
Yes — the political pendulum is swinging from right to left in Washington.