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Chapter 3

Before his 30th birthday, Gerald Cassidy, a scrappy Irishman from Brooklyn, has left his roots behind, worked for two years as a legal aid lawyer for migrant workers in Florida and talked himself into a job on the staff of Sen. George McGovern's Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs.

Beginning in 1969, the two bright young men on the staff of Sen. George McGovern's nutrition committee became a team, and then an inseparable duo. Gerald S.J. Cassidy, then 29, and Kenneth Schlossberg, four months older, "were the Bobbsey twins," said Marshall Matz, also a McGovern assistant. "It was KenandGerry as if it was one word," said another colleague, John Holum.

Those were exciting, life-altering years for McGovern. By the end of 1970, thanks largely to his work on hunger and nutrition, he was a national political figure. In 1970 and 1971 Congress passed expansions of the food stamp and school lunch programs, both McGovern projects. McGovern's name started appearing on lists of potential presidential candidates.

[Photo]
Gerald Cassidy, right, guides Sen. George McGovern, center, on a tour of labor camps in Immokalee, Fla. (Courtesy Gerald Cassidy)

Cassidy and Schlossberg spent those years working the hunger issues, organizing hearings and drafting legislation. Their colleagues remember Schlossberg as the dominant figure, though he looked younger and was physically less imposing. "I always thought of Ken as the creative member of that team," Matz said, "the guy who had the vision."

They hit it off from the beginning. "We were both ethnic kids from the Northeast," Schlossberg remembered. Others on McGovern's staff were not enthusiastic about hiring Cassidy, Schlossberg said, but "something about the idea just felt right to me." Schlossberg and Cassidy both considered McGovern's interest in the presidency a diversion from unfinished work on hunger issues. But eventually they caught the presidential bug themselves. They played modest roles on the edges of the campaign, leaving the Senate staff temporarily to do so. They had one moment in the sun. In March 1972, Frank Mankiewicz, McGovern's national political director, invited the two to draft a speech for McGovern after Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace had won the Florida Democratic primary, alarming the party establishment. The idea was for McGovern to speak directly to white ethnic voters in Milwaukee, site of the next primary.

"I wrote most of the speech," Schlossberg -- known for his writing skill -- recalled, "but the spirit of the thing, in terms of connecting with blue-collar Catholics, this was really Gerry's." In the speech McGovern described the votes cast by working-class voters who chose Wallace in Florida as "an angry cry from the guts of ordinary Americans against a system which doesn't give a damn about what's really bothering people in this country today." Mankiewicz had added a nice literary flourish, quoting Willy Loman from Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman": "Attention must be paid." The Washington Post used that as a headline on an editorial praising the speech. (view the editorial [pdf])

"I had been pushing the campaign to concentrate more on the working class, to look for things where George could reach out to them," Cassidy recounted. "Now here's a guy who got elected in South Dakota, and there isn't a more working-class place that I've been to than South Dakota. He could connect with those people." But too often, the elitists running the campaign -- Ivy Leaguers and anti-war activists -- had other ideas, Cassidy thought.

Cassidy did some field work for McGovern, including a stint during the Ohio primary when he was responsible for Toledo, but he didn't like the work or his colleagues. "I just didn't like the people I was working with," Cassidy recalled. "A lot of them were why George lost" -- self-righteous people who imagined an "enlightened class of college graduates who were going to lead the world to their point of view. ..... They were talking about themselves. And that's what I didn't like about them."

McGovern's crushing defeat came as no surprise. Cassidy had returned to the nutrition committee payroll before election day, Schlossberg right afterward. Cassidy soon had a job offer from Barbara Mikulski, then a city council member from Baltimore and now a U.S. Senator from Maryland, whom he had met courting ethnic voters for McGovern. She had become chairman of a panel at the Democratic National Committee established after the McGovern debacle to once again examine the party's delegate selection process. She hired Cassidy as her chief staff man. In January 1973, he left the nutrition committee for the DNC. But he ran into trouble almost immediately.

Robert Strauss was the new chairman of the DNC, and "he didn't want anyone around who was connected to McGovern," said Jack Quinn, whom Cassidy had brought with him to the Committee. (Quinn years later served as White House counsel under Bill Clinton, and is now a successful Washington lobbyist.) Strauss "systematically weeded out" McGovernites, including, before a year was up, Quinn and Cassidy.

Cassidy's firing, which Strauss says he cannot recall, was one to remember. In September 1973, Cassidy had been driving home from a meeting in Annapolis on Route 50 when a car driven by an undocumented immigrant without a driver's license crossed the median strip and crashed into Cassidy's car head-on. He suffered a serious back injury and spent six weeks in the Fairfax Hospital. While he was lying on his back in his hospital room, Cassidy learned that he had been fired.

Schlossberg went to see Cassidy in the hospital and offered him his old job back. "Don't ask me why I did this, because my life would have been totally different if I hadn't," Schlossberg said in an interview in 2005. McGovern agreed to put Cassidy "back on the payroll while he recuperated," Schlossberg said. It took many more weeks for him to regain his health. They went back to work on nutrition issues.

By the spring of 1975, both men were exasperated with McGovern, who had begun talking about running for president again in 1976. He wanted to use his committee payroll to hire people who could work on another campaign. One was Bob Shrum, then a young operative who would go on to run or advise eight unsuccessful Democratic presidential campaigns. McGovern still considers him "one of the most brilliant people around."

[Photo]
Sen. George S. McGovern, right, and his presidential running mate Sen. Thomas F. Eagleton at the Democratic National Convention in 1972. Eagleton later withdrew from the race. (AP Photo)

Schlossberg remembers the uncomfortable moment when McGovern ordered him to fire Cassidy to make room for Shrum. That order is recorded in a letter found in McGovern's papers at Princeton University. (view the letter [pdf])

"Dear Ken," McGovern wrote. "As you know, I have been thinking for a couple of months about making a change on the Committee. I would like to have you tell Gerry Cassidy that Bob Shrum is coming on board as general counsel. ..... Therefore, Gerry should begin looking for other employment."

Shrum, who did join the staff, remembers an altercation with Cassidy, which he attributed to Cassidy's anxiety about his future. "He pushed me up against a wall. I said, 'Gerry, this is a lousy way to deal with it.' " McGovern says, "If I fired anyone I don't remember it." Cassidy said he did not remember pushing Shrum.

In the early months of 1975 Schlossberg and Cassidy spent hours talking together in the office they shared, according to Alan Stone, another former colleague on the committee. They were hatching plans to leave the committee and go into business for themselves.

Schlossberg and others who knew them both at the time recall this as Schlossberg's idea, but Cassidy says it was his: "I wanted to start a lobbying operation." Schlossberg thought of it as "a consulting business," specializing in food issues, that would do lots of different things for clients, from writing reports to organizing conferences and helping solve problems with government agencies.

Acknowledging that they had different visions, Cassidy says now, "We should have parted company right then." Instead they started a firm called Schlossberg-Cassidy & Associates, though they had no associates other than Cassidy's wife, Loretta, who did secretarial work. The president of the firm was Schlossberg; Cassidy was Secretary-Treasurer.

The original articles of incorporation filed with the District government on May 20, 1975, described the firm's "purposes" in terms that reflected Schlossberg's vision: "to provide a broad range of services to industry and government including but not limited to research, counseling, evaluation, planning, policy making and analysis of agricultural, food, nutrition and health programs, policies and products." (view the incorporation papers [pdf]) Their original address was 623 South Carolina Ave. SE, which was Schlossberg's house at the time. They worked out of his English basement.

The two sent letters to everyone they could think of, offering to help them in Washington. No one replied. They sought advice from others who had consulting businesses. Schlossberg remembers being told not to start without enough money to keep the business going for at least two years, a pipe dream for them. Schlossberg had $10,000 to $20,000 saved, he remembered; Cassidy remembers borrowing $5,000 from his wife's parents. Schlossberg says he lent Cassidy $5,000, too. The other advice both remember was to work for retainers, not hourly rates, and to demand payment in advance.

This was a difficult time for Schlossberg, who found himself in "a really wrenching and painful divorce" from a "very difficult wife," as Cassidy put it. He spent part of the summer of 1975 at a food conference in Europe and then writing an article on food stamps for the New York Times Magazine. The first phone call from a possible client came after he returned from Italy. A California company called Larry's Foods was having a hard time collecting money it was owed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

[Photo]
Schlossberg, sitting, and Cassidy in 1983. (Colin Norman, Science)

Trying to sort out this history by talking to Cassidy and Schlossberg is not easy. The two men haven't spoken for two decades, and they have retained no affection for each other. Each puts himself at the center of the early events of their joint enterprise. For example, both claim they took that first call from Larry's Foods.

Schlossberg remembered that Larry's was owed $200,000 by the USDA for hamburger patties it had provided to the school lunch program. "I can fix that for you for a fee of $10,000," he remembers telling Chip Goodman, son of Larry Goodman, the Larry of the company's name.

Cassidy's version: "I was the one who took the call from Larry's Foods; I knew to call this fellow Eskin at the Department of Agriculture, and I knew this could be more than just one shot. We could turn this into a retainer, which we did, we had them for a client for a number of years."

Tracked down 30 years later in California, Chip Goodman said he had a similar memory to Schlossberg's ; he said he made the first call to Schlossberg, whom he had known from his work on the nutrition committee.

Schlossberg remembers that he, the gregarious one with lots of pals, was constantly reaching out to potential clients, looking for business. Cassidy, he says, sat in the office: "He didn't know many people, and those he knew didn't like him." No, said Cassidy, in those early months "Ken was not around a lot. ..... So the business getting started was largely me getting started."

Schlossberg remembers getting a call from Bill LaMothe, an executive at the Kellogg Co., "who called to ask if I could help get Hubert Humphrey to take part in a Kellogg event. I had easy access to Humphrey." Schlossberg asked for, and got, a fee of $5,000. Cassidy remembers a different history: "I had a very, very good relationship with Phil Hart (a Democratic senator from Michigan, Kellogg's home state) ..... He got us a meeting with Bill LaMothe, the CEO of Kellogg, and they had problem with cereals, with getting their products into the school lunch program ..... so we got him as a client."

LaMothe, also interviewed 30 years later, supported Schlossberg's memory of these events.

Schlossberg-Cassidy had started to get real clients. By the first anniversary of the firm, Schlossberg remembered, he and Cassidy were each making about what they earned at the Senate committee -- roughly $35,000 a year. Nearly all the first clients were food companies and related enterprises.

Then in 1976 came a phone call from the new president of Tufts University that would transform Schlossberg-Cassidy's business and, eventually, Washington itself.

Washington Post research editor Alice Crites contributed to this report.

Tomorrow: Schlossberg and Cassidy invent the modern earmarked appropriation and turn their new lobbying firm into a thriving enterprise.

Key Related Materials

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About This Series | Chapters:

Photo Gallery

An overview of Gerald Cassidy's life and career.

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A "cast of characters" in the life and career of Gerald Cassidy.

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Spin, spin, spin. Lobbyists, ALL lobbyists, NEED TO GO NOW. Lobbying as it currently stands is the engine of fascism that let an oil company family ruin our international standing, credibility and fostered assaults on civil liberties. Let us not mention the fact that the way lobbying and campaign finance works only gives us garbage candidates interested in keeping their corporate "donors" happy in most races. WaPo, how much longer are you going to run this K Street PR campaign garbage?

Posted by: Todd | March 7, 2007 05:00 AM

Todd, do you have a life?

Posted by: Batman | March 7, 2007 07:56 AM

This series is really interesting, particularly for political junkies like me. Love the anecdote of Gerry Cassidy in Ohio with McGovern 1972. Wasn't Gary Hart there, too? Hunter Thompson wrote about Ohio 1972 in one of his books. Ah, memories.

Posted by: Gonzo | March 7, 2007 09:10 AM

Hey, Wash Post: nice to see you giving a 360 degree view of people vs this typical black and white, evil or villain stuff we normally see. Or do you have your knives out for Gerry in the episodes ahead?

Posted by: Tony S. | March 7, 2007 09:14 AM

Hey "Todd" -- you talk about "the way lobbying and campaign finance works." Wanna do something real rather than launch juvenile attacks? How about supporting transparency in the way Washington works. Turns out Gerry Cassidy wants more transparency in lobbying. So should you.

Posted by: Not Todd | March 7, 2007 09:30 AM

This part of the story is great -- "The two sent letters to everyone they could think of, offering to help them in Washington. No one replied." Ha! I've been in the same boat. Memo to self: persistence pays off. Don't give up a dream. Thanks for the anecdote!

Posted by: Archie C. | March 7, 2007 09:35 AM

Didn't know Bob Shrum and Gerry Cassidy have a history. In this story Shrum calls Cassidy "brilliant." I'd say Cassidy also a bit more successes under his belt.

Posted by: Rummy Not Shrummy | March 7, 2007 09:40 AM

Yes -- transparency. Public disclosure. That's what we need. Hope the Post goes into that more -- ways to reform the system. Cassidy's for that, right?

Posted by: Reform | March 7, 2007 09:42 AM

I think Todd has a great point--he just frames the argument a bit on the coarse side.

I know of a startup nonpartisan nonprofit organization that intends to address the very real issues of money and ethics in politics--that lobbyists (and the businesses they represent) are today's true constituents, and that the exhorbitant amounts of cash required to run make it practically impossible for the most qualified (read: people of the highest caliber character) to even ENTER the race.

Our founding fathers were dramatically concerned about money seeping into politics--shouldn't we be too?

Check out Constitutional Principles Policy Council at www.constitutionalprinciples.org...

Posted by: Jeremy | March 7, 2007 09:59 AM

Yes, from what I've gathered, Cassidy has been a longtime and vocal supporter of transparency and disclosure. Below is a letter Cassidy sent to The Hill and Roll Call that I found while browsing his new blog:

Dear Editor:

Each year The Hill performs a great service for its readers by reporting the annual revenue totals for K Street. Your newspaper compiles its top earnings list through numbers which Congress requires us to file under the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA).

However, each year your readers get an incomplete look at these revenue totals. As modern-day lobbying has transformed into areas that go beyond the work captured by the LDA, The Hill and other publications should also change the way they report this story.

By limiting your reporting to only LDA numbers, you miss other work such as international efforts that fall under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), strategic communications and public affairs as well as federal marketing. These are all revenue generating components that add to K Street's bottom line that should be included in your story.

Take for example the LDA numbers for Cassidy & Associates correctly showed $24,600,000. That, however, leaves out other key elements of our business model including $4,866,000 from our affiliated brand, The Rhoads Group, $2,614,125 under FARA, and $890,566 of other communications and marketing work on behalf of clients.

That totals up to more than $8 million which is not part of your reporting, but certainly is an important part of our business. Even the LDAs combined for Cassidy and Rhoads at $29,466,000 would place us at second only to Patton Boggs.

The American people have made it very clear in demanding changes in the way Washington works. By giving your readers the complete picture of what we do as lobbyists, you will help ensure both Congress and K Street keep to their promises of transparency.

Kind regards,

Gerald S.J. Cassidy

Posted by: Franklin | March 7, 2007 10:04 AM

This is the biggest waste of time and resources I have seen in a long time. Nobody gives a crap about these guys except others in the business.

Posted by: Bill | March 7, 2007 10:27 AM

Luckily this piece is on-line so we can simply ignore it.

Posted by: Don | March 7, 2007 10:31 AM

I agree 100% with you Bill. Why is the WPost devoting so much time to this one man? And why are there people here on this post talking about what Mr. Cassidy thinks about lobby disclosure? Who gives a crap what he thinks? He's not an elected official.

These articles are about helping present an image of this man as a legend so that he and his company can make more money.

Posted by: anon | March 7, 2007 10:34 AM

Thanks Jeremy. Interesting Cassidy letter. Thanks for alerting us. Yes, transparency and disclosure. Works for me.

Posted by: Reform | March 7, 2007 10:36 AM

The Post recently did an in-depth series called "On Being a Black Man." Now they have poured tremendous resources into a series on a lobbyist. How about this for the Post - a series called "On Being a Black Lobbyist." Or how about this idea for the Post - just report the freakin' news! Who asked for these "analysis" series anyway? Seriously though, I wonder how many blacks are employed at firms that say they are committed to diversity!

Posted by: Phil | March 7, 2007 10:41 AM

Bill, by "others in the business" do you mean people involved in politics? You are aware that this is the Washington (as in DC, federal seat of government) Post, right? Cassidy is an intriguing figure and readers are evidently interested in his life and career. And if highlighting his crusade for transparency can generate discussion and awareness, all the better.

Posted by: Yalie81 | March 7, 2007 10:52 AM

To Bill and Anon: Gee, I can't imagine why people in Washington, DC would care about a series about the man who helped create an industry that employs tens of thousands of people in ....Washington! I guess people in Detroit wouldn't care about a series about Henry Ford.

To Todd -- go live in Iran or Russia and see how much freedom you have to spew your mis-guided rhetoric.

Posted by: washingtonian | March 7, 2007 11:07 AM

To Bill and Anon: Gee, I can't imagine why people in Washington, DC would care about a series about the man who helped create an industry that employs tens of thousands of people in ....Washington! I guess people in Detroit wouldn't care about a series about Henry Ford.

To Todd -- go live in Iran or Russia and see how much freedom you have to spew your mis-guided rhetoric.

Posted by: washingtonian | March 7, 2007 11:07 AM

Transparency? How much more transparency do we need? Already it is a simple matter to go online and, a couple of queries later, have all the information one would need to allege at least the APPEARANCE of corruption--in itself, as the Supreme Court has noted, worse than corruption, since it undermines a people's faith in their government.

It isn't more transparency we need (and one wonders about Cassidy's motives in offering transparency as the cure). We need some law enforcement that isn't terrified of administrative reprisals if it attempts to enforce the laws already on the books against, for example, attempting to bribe a public official.

But to get law enforcement with a spine, we need something even more crucial. A public that not only gives a damn, but puts down the remote control long enough to actually do something about it.

How's this for transparency: The Salt Lake City Tribune in September, 2004 published an article (AFTER a crucial primary vote) detailing the connection between campaign contributions from immigration lawyers to Republican Congressman Chris Cannon of Utah and Cannon's sponsorship of the AgJOBS bill. The article, "Cannon Drums on Immigration Despite Voters" pointed out the extreme unpopularity of the legislation's provisions among Cannon's constituents, and noted that the bill was written by the very people sending money to his campaign. Not only that, the article included the information that the legislation actually mandated fees to immigration lawyers, for crying out loud.

In my view, it couldn't be any clearer that here is an example of naked corruption at its worst.

Two elections later, the creep is still serving in the House of Representatives, misrepresenting his constituents, and, just recently, he reintroduced, you got it: AgJOBS.

If an expose in your hometown newspaper of your congressman's corruption doesn't provide enough "transparency," then nothing will.

Posted by: Craig | March 7, 2007 11:15 AM

Here is a link to the article mentioned in the last post:

http://www.projectusa.org/Library/articles/04-09-14-sltrib-cannon_drums.html

Posted by: Craig | March 7, 2007 11:21 AM

Franklin: I think you missed the point of the letter. Cassidy was defending his firm's drop to fourth place, not looking for more disclosure. He just wanted the extra money from clients not covered by LDA calculated in. That was a little creative bookkeeping, not a call for greater transparency.

Phil: WaPo couldn't write 27 stories on Being a Black Lobbyist because there aren't enough in town. Check out the bios on Cassidy's website and count the number of non-white faces. Or just look at the cast of characters on here. Old white men. Enough said.

Posted by: Missing the Point | March 7, 2007 11:32 AM

What is the biggest thing that you have done for Amercia Mr, Cassidy. What have you done to advance the cause of Freedom and the Freeman?

Posted by: Nicklan | March 7, 2007 12:05 PM

Huh? Didn't you read the article today? How about this for advancing the cause of at least America: "Cassidy and Schlossberg spent those years working the hunger issues, organizing hearings and drafting legislation." Surely that counts.

Posted by: Lou | March 7, 2007 12:18 PM

Hear hear. The article says this was the Cassidy firm mission: "research, counseling, evaluation, planning, policy making and analysis of agricultural, food, nutrition and health programs, policies and products." Solid ideas to improve America, IMHO.

Posted by: Yes! | March 7, 2007 12:43 PM

I know a lot of you may not like hearing this, but I'm enjoying the series and looking forward to tmrw's installment. Why? I know someone who went to Tuft's. Im curious to see Gerry Cassidy's connection. It's a great school.

Posted by: Interested to hear more | March 7, 2007 12:52 PM

This part of the story got to me: "Cassidy had been driving home from a meeting in Annapolis on Route 50 when a car driven by an undocumented immigrant without a driver's license crossed the median strip and crashed into Cassidy's car head-on."

Sounds like an ageless problem. Didn't realize that kind of stuff happened, what, 35 years ago?

Posted by: Ryan | March 7, 2007 12:56 PM

Just to clarify for Yes!, the firms original mission was crafted by Schlossberg. Cassidy states that he "wanted to start a lobbying firm", clearly in contrast to the mission statement.

Posted by: Rachael | March 7, 2007 01:01 PM

I never realized hunger and nutrition issues are so much a part of Gerry Cassidy's background. This is getting interesting.

Posted by: Mac | March 7, 2007 01:28 PM

I gotta admit -- I love seeing all those McGovern photos. Hope the Post shows more of the shots as the Cassidy series continues.

Posted by: Lee A. | March 7, 2007 01:40 PM

Great chapter. I admire the rags to riches story. This is what America is about. We truly admire someone who has worked so hard over the past 30 years and became a true success. It is obvious that the Caasidys earned their wealth through hard work and persistence; not to mention the millions of dollars that have gone to worthy causes. Refreshing.....

Posted by: Carol | March 7, 2007 02:25 PM

Todd- the frequency and tone of your comments so far seem to indicate that your meds may not be at therapeutic level.

Rachael- since both men were in agreement concerning the mission, their lobbying firm was simply a way of implementing those ideals. They are not mutually exclusive.

Posted by: Medic | March 7, 2007 03:00 PM

Sure, it's nice to read about Cassidy's humble beginnings and how he went from being poor to becoming very wealthy. However, this earmarking business is the problem! Let's be honest - although Members of Congress vote on legislation, who actually writes the legislation full of earmarks? Lobbyists, that's who! Lobbyists do not represent the people!

Posted by: DC Dave | March 7, 2007 03:03 PM

Just happpened to step back in here -- I saw DC Dave's comment. Truth be told, given what DC Dave says, there might be a good solution. Disclosure. Transparency. I see in the thread above that Gerry Cassidy backs more openness. Have any other big-time lobbyists joined in the reform movement?

Posted by: Mac | March 7, 2007 03:16 PM

Let's say that all lobbyists disappeared tomorrow. What would you replace them with? What other procedures for soliciting aid from government officials would you like to see?

Posted by: Scott | March 7, 2007 03:18 PM

Medic, maybe this will clarify again my point, as quoted from the article:

"Schlossberg and others who knew them both at the time recall this as Schlossberg's idea, but Cassidy says it was his: "I wanted to start a lobbying operation." Schlossberg thought of it as "a consulting business," specializing in food issues, that would do lots of different things for clients, from writing reports to organizing conferences and helping solve problems with government agencies.

Acknowledging that they had different visions, Cassidy says now, "We should have parted company right then." Instead they started a firm called Schlossberg-Cassidy & Associates....."


Clearly, even by Cassidy's own admission, their vision was very different.

Posted by: Rachael | March 7, 2007 03:36 PM

I too am intrigued by that teaser about Tufts. Looking forward to hearing that part of the Cassidy story.

Posted by: Mac | March 7, 2007 03:38 PM

I must say that at first I was skeptical how the series would turn out -- but now that it's started, I find Gerry Cassidy's story is quite compelling. And I don't even work in DC! LOL. I truly am looking forward to reading more.

Posted by: Kugelman | March 7, 2007 04:53 PM

Yeah, I see nothing wrong with going behind the scenes with a DC powerbroker. I like Cassidy's story. I didn't know much about him before this.

Posted by: James Bond | March 7, 2007 04:56 PM

To the folks on this thread who insist on bashing lobbyists here and elsewhere, keep in mind that someone, somewhere hires lobbyists to do their work. Whether it's earmarks or something else, lobbyists don't make this stuff up. If you have a problem, take it up with the corporations, unions, and non-profit organizations that pay lobbysists to help them get something done.

Posted by: Don | March 7, 2007 06:28 PM

Batman - I do not take insults from someone using the nome de plume Batman. Grow up, sport.

Not Todd - Nice try. Come back when you learn how to insult. Also a childish pseudonym, by the way.

I will state this simply so you can easily understand -- Personal attacks are the last resort of the desperate and the the first tactic of the foolish.

When either of you two nitwits have read the Constitution and seen a few Friar's Club Roasts, come back for another swing and a miss. You don't like what I say, fine. Come back and act like children again and I will again treat you like children.

Posted by: Todd | March 7, 2007 07:05 PM

Washingtonian - Go live someplace else? Why don't you just make me, tough guy. Just because you are too stupid or complicit in the corruption to see your civil rights are being trampled, you lash out. Or perhaps you do not care that lobbyists get corporations preferential treatment. Maybe you even like the idea. But if your response to my statements is more of your jingoistic love or leave it nonsense, I will just ridicule your lack of logic again. Come up with a substantive disagreement or you can keep your you know what in your pants, Mr. Macho.

Posted by: Todd | March 7, 2007 07:08 PM

Medic - It would seem your rabid tracking of activity makes you a psychological remote diagnostic genius with skills I have not seen since the superior medical diagnostic skills of Bill Frist.

You people are arguing like children. Just the level of political discourse the neocons want you to have. You can start saying something constructive, like suggesting a process ANYONE can use to lobby if they have enough registered voter signatures that requires no money changing hands and no gifts or preferential treatment or graft of any sort, or you can keep insulting me like the children you act like. I am disgusted with lobbyists and lobbying, but I am even more disgusted with the poor quality of thought and logic exhibited here.

Posted by: Todd | March 7, 2007 07:16 PM

Your personal attack responses lambasting others for resorting to personal attacks on you remind me of a famous quote:

"Arguing on the internet is like participating in the Special Olympics. Even if you win, you're still retarded."

Posted by: I heart Todd | March 7, 2007 07:25 PM

Boy, this thread seems to have taken a weird turn. That's what's so wrong with politics today. Uncivil discourse. Let's reform the system. I want to hear more from the insiders, like Mr. Cassidy.

Posted by: Yikes | March 7, 2007 08:46 PM

I heart Todd - Being a smarta$$ isn't exactly the height of intellect either. Make a valid point about lobbying or another insult directed at someone who was not attacking you unless you are a lobbyist. Or you can sit at the kid's table with the rest of the simpletons. As for the other "retards", you semi-enlightened twit, they got the response they merited. Just like you did. Either prove what I said is impossible (that you can have a system that lets Congressional members know the needs and wants of their constituents without ANY money ever changing hands or "favors" being granted, is impossible) or throw another insult. One makes you look like a thinking person with free will. The other makes you look like a child. Go ahead! Jump on the bash Todd without substantial counterarguments bandwagon. Neocons with room temperature IQs and graft peddling lobbyists are good at that bandwagon thing. It doesn't require you to think. Just go along for the ride. So where on K-Street do you work, anonymous insulters?

Posted by: Todd | March 7, 2007 09:19 PM

Editorial correction - granted) or you can . . .

Posted by: Todd | March 7, 2007 09:20 PM

I find the story on a whole interesting. What caught my eye was the line--when a car driven by an undocumented immigrant without a driver's license. I have seen this phrase-"undocumented immigrant" elsewhere in Post stores. Nice PC term, the person was an illegal immigrant. I guess the person was not an illegal unlicensed driver either, rather an undocumented one. As much as some people and Post editors want to believe otherwise, to be in violation of immigration laws is a crime, not an act of civil disobedience.

Posted by: merganser | March 7, 2007 09:47 PM

Ok, Todd, you've had nothing to flip out about in an hour; here's this: You want a system where no money changes hands, that "lets Congressional members know the needs and wants of their constituents without ANY money ever changing hands or "favors" being granted." Are you in favor of public financing for congressional and presidential elections? Because if not, candidates will still need money to run their campaigns, and people, both lobbyists and non-lobbyists, will still write them checks for one reason or another. You don't have to be a lobbyist to ask a member of congress to do something that benefits you and write him or her a check the following week. And the more you limit the ability of people running for office to raise money, the more you get a Congress and a White House full of rich people. Which you probably don't want either. So how much of your federal income tax payment are you willing to contribute to the federal election campaign fund?

Posted by: Campaign Chekov | March 7, 2007 10:26 PM

Hey Todd -- understand your complaint. I'm angry too. So let's reform the system. Change Washington. Let's hear what Gerry Cassidy has to say about reform. Hopefully this series will tell us more. I'm waiting.

Posted by: Dr. Spock | March 8, 2007 09:07 AM

I think the vitriol of these comments says alot. Let's calm down folks. At least long enough to let this Cassidy series play out. Give the guy his due. Seems like someone we should at least listen to.

Posted by: Kickbox | March 8, 2007 09:11 AM

Where is the lobbyist for the people?

Which lobbyist represents the people's interest?

Maybe we,the people, should fight fire with fire and hire Cassidy for the people's interest.

Maybe if every voter gave $5 for the peoples lobbyist, we would have enough money to attract his attention and could get universal health care passed.

Posted by: baldski | March 17, 2007 01:25 PM

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