If you’ve read anything I’ve ever written you know that the last thing I’d do is write a knee-jerk, tribalist defense of someone in the Trump administration. I’m not a fan.
I’m even less of a fan of
the media partisan outrage factories regardless of what side they’re on. Today’s spin and distortion of comments made by former Congressman and acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Mick Mulvaney is a textbook case of blind partisanship in action.
Mick Mulvaney, President Donald Trump’s budget director and the acting head of a top consumer watchdog group, raised eyebrows on Tuesday with an anecdote about his time in the House of Representatives.
“We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress,” he said at the American Bankers Association conference in Washington, according to The New York Times. “If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.”
Mulvaney, a Republican who represented a South Carolina district from 2011 through early 2017, said he also spoke with constituents even if they hadn’t paid him.
First, let’s dispense with the obvious hypocrisy. There is not a single politician on the Hill who doesn’t make similar calculations with regard to lobbyists. That those steaming over Mulvaney’s comments as if he were admitting to be being bought and paid for had very little interest in the organized crime machine Hillary Clinton was running between the State Department and the Clinton Foundation tells you all you need to know about how real their outrage is.
Second let’s look at the hierarchy that Mulvaney described. Who was his time given to and with what priority?
- Constituents (whether they contributed to his campaign or not)
- MAYBE Lobbyists who had contributed
- DEFINITELY NOT lobbyists who hadn’t contributed.
No matter how much virtue signaling and pearl clutching there was on Morning Joe today, this is not an open admission of corruption, or even anything that should shock anyone who pays attention to politics. I dare say that there are many on both the left and the right who routinely move the big contributors to the top of the list all the time.
Also keep in mind that Mulvaney was talking to people on the lobbyist side when he made his comments. He’s telling them the very simple truth that politicians pay more attention to groups who support them than those who don’t. Maybe that’s an ugly truth but don’t insult everyone’s intelligence by suggesting this is something astonishing or unique.
The newspaper reported that he was encouraging the industry to lobby lawmakers:
“Mr. Mulvaney said that trying to sway legislators was one of the ‘fundamental underpinnings of our representative democracy. And you have to continue to do it.’”
Swaying legislators is how the system works. The only beef the leftists have with this particular enunciation of it is that it involves a Republican they don’t like talking to bankers (who are evil incarnate unless they’re having exactly the same interactions with a Democrat).
This isn’t a blanket defense of Mulvaney or his ideas or his political career. I don’t do those.
It’s an indictment of the partisan media for misleading the public.