Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Clacker & The White Shoe Law Firm - A Match Made In Heaven?

It just might be.

At least according to this DC Examiner article on Tommy Boggs.

The money paragraphs:

Boggs has always said his key asset is information. He has spent his life in the Capitol, and he knows the place, nooks and knots.

"The knowledge of who likes whom, who has interest now that's hot ... that kind of information is valuable," Boggs told The New York Times in a 1989 interview. "And we tend to be a pretty good repository for that kind of information."

The problem is that in the 21st century, it's harder to have an absolute monopoly on information.

"The story of American society after the Internet is the story of the decreasing relevance of middlemen and institutions: People want to do for themselves," said journalist Matt Bai, whose book, "The Argument," was one of the first to spot the growing influence of netroots groups on Boggs' Democratic party.

Indeed, the netroots groups are impatient with compromise and make no secret of their scorn for professional lobbyists.

"There's this fetish for bipartisanship. And sometimes bipartisanship is stupid," said Matt Stoller, a writer for the Web site "It's often just corruption: Conservative Democrats and Republicans get together and agree to bribe each other. That's bipartisanship."

Political analysts point to the 2006 debate over so-called "net neutrality." A Republican-sponsored bill that would allow communications companies to charge different rates for different Internet users had the support of big companies with deep pockets.

But the blogosphere went ballistic. The bill was defeated, and now the Democrats are considering legislation that would require communications companies to offer flat rates for all Internet users.

Boggs was on the losing side of the issue, representing big telecommunications companies.

Bai said it would be "a gross simplification" to suggest that big-time lobbyists like Boggs are on their way out. They simply have too much "cash and cachet."

"But there is this other force. can get in to see any Democratic senator or congressman," Bai said. "Ten years ago, people could deliver petitions to the Hill — but it took them months to put it together. Now, an Internet appeal can go out, and you can shut down some senator's switchboard or crash a server within an hour."

That hasn't been lost on Boggs or other super-lobbyists. Colleagues, rivals and friends say that he and others are already reaching out to Web groups to get some of their own Internet juju.

"Most people who are good at their job try to learn from other people who are successful," said Hoppe, the super-lobbyist and former Lott aide.

He points to companies such as Verillion that are already making a mint by helping big companies monitor their Web image and crafting high-tech responses to their Internet foes.

AU's Thurber said Boggs is already ahead of the Internet/grassroots curve.

"He's adapted to the new environment of lobbying, which is not just personal contact. You have to build coalitions — grassroots, top roots, Astroturf," Thurber said of Boggs. "He understands that, and he either hires them or contracts them."
"He understands that, and he either hires them or contracts them."

Well that certainly sounds like a bit of alright.

The future is wiiiiiiiiide open.