THOSE CURIOUS ABOUT the shutdown have an abundance of stories on which to feast. Fear mongers and masochists alike can delight in the prospects of uninspected meat or undisclosed campaign donations. Everyone else can find ample relief in the triumphant storming of a barricaded WWII memorial by indignant vets.
But what can one learn of lobbyists? How’s the “influence industry” faring?
The beltway media appears not to be the surest source. One paper reports that as a result of the shutdown “…lobbyists are preparing for the fact they may have lots of time on their hands.” The article quotes lobbyist David Urban, who “said the latest fight over spending are [sic.] throwing a wrench in K Street’s bread and butter work…” The same paper – same reporter even – writes two days later that “…even a shutdown can’t put a stop to K Street lobbying.”
Attempts at a clear conception of what’s really going on are further rent by such opposing headlines as “Government Shutdown Halts Lobbyist Activity” and “No shutdown for K Street as advocates blitz Capitol.”
Yet overall, the reporting itself isn’t to blame; many of these articles paint a subtle picture of how K St. is dealing with the shutdown. It’s the headlines and sweeping generalizations that are the source of confusion, both of which tend to corrupt nuanced analysis. Alas, that’s journalism.
So how, once and for all, is K St. coping with the shutdown? It depends who you ask on K St. Are lobbyists being kept busy? Some, yes; some, not so much. The shutdown provides yet another moment in which one must reflect on whether the use of catch-all terms like “K St.” (meaning more than just the street) sufficiently capture reality. In this case, they clearly don’t.