WASHINGTON – Hope and change, allow me to introduce you to money and lobbyists. Compromise and bi-partisanship, come meet ideological purity. Now, let’s see if we can get some work done.
With his rousing State of the Union speech, President Obama almost had me persuaded, once again, that he can change a political culture that is self-indulgent, hyper-partisan and steeped in monied special interests. He was, by turns, funny and contrite, firm and mature, using his bully pulpit to urge Congress to abandon a “perpetual campaign where the only goal is to see who can get the most embarrassing headline about the other side — a belief that if you lose, I win.”
Though the president has had a tough first year — a year of Republican obstructionism, bi-partisan pettiness and legislative sausage-making — his powerful commitment to keep on trying to overcome gridlock restored my idealism. For a moment or two.
Then, I remembered that there were lobbyists and professional