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Dick Gephardt

I'd really like to better understand the psychology of a guy like Dick Gephardt, who spends most his life working with labor unions and advocating for liberal causes, and then as soon as his political career ends, sells himself to corporate interests. It's not like this was the only way to make a couple bucks: The AFL-CIO and other liberal groups would certainly have put him on retainer as a lobbyist and paid him a decent wage. It wouldn't be the riches that apportion to the corporate lobbyist, but it would have been enough to live comfortably.

By Ezra Klein  |  October 6, 2009; 2:16 PM ET
 
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Comments

It's hard to be around big money all the time and not have any. Not such a big deal when you're in your 20s, but just give it a few decades and see how it wears.

Posted by: Sophomore | October 6, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

People in our society (particularly men) measure themselves against others based on income. Gephardt probably spent too much time watching rich lobbyists and business people rake in the bucks. He wanted that lifestyle and the prestige (among those people) that goes with it. Idealism is fine when you are young. You have to really believe in it to persist as an idealist in later life. Gephardt may have found union advocacy a road to power in St Louis or whereever he was from but to stay in DC as a player he needed more bucks. Look at Daschle. Same kind of deal.

Posted by: Mimikatz | October 6, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

It's like the Democratic Party spent over a decade rejecting social welfare theory in favor of neoliberal ideology or something...

Posted by: NS12345 | October 6, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Gephardt and Daschle are GREAT examples of effective Democratic leaders, for sure. Right up there with progressive champions like Max Baucus or Joe Lieberman.

Posted by: NS12345 | October 6, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Seems to be a phenomenum among guys in their mid to late 60's. They realize they have a limited amount of time left to cash in, so they sell whatever they have to the highest bidder, whether it's Bob Dylan selling his songs for commercials or ex Congressional bigwigs selling themselves as a tool for corporate access. Real problem is that the concept of having 'enough' has been completely destroyed as a social value beginning with the Reagan Revolution in the 1980's, which was basically eight years of promotion of the concept that 'he who dies with the most toys, wins.'

Posted by: exgovgirl | October 6, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

You have to cash in here. This isnt hard to understand at all, very few people really believe their own rhetoric, whether its republicans extolling loudly and audaciously about limited government, then squeezing every nickel they can out of government for defense contractors. or Gephardt doing this lobbying for big companies now.

Posted by: zeppelin003 | October 6, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

gephart and dascle have "liberal" public images

each of them chose a path as a legislative process facilitator than as a legislative content facilitator

both were relatively "weak and ineffectual"
leaders

maybe their post senate careers says something about those who seek legislative leadership roles

in legislative leadership roles your ideological committment is not as important as your "get along" "go along" committment

Posted by: jamesoneill | October 6, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

There's Klein, again, worried about other people's money.

The only question on Gephardt worth considering: Is he worth the money to hire him?

The correct answer: He isn't worth a plugged nickel to me.

Posted by: msoja | October 6, 2009 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Of course, anyone who believed Gephardt's pathetic populist pandering in the first place deserves to wander around in the fog of political disappointment for the duration.

Posted by: msoja | October 6, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Don't discount Eros, even Barry Goldwater became a liberal after his second marriage to a much younger woman...

Posted by: sramakrishnan | October 6, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

"I'd really like to better understand the psychology of a guy like Dick Gephardt, who spends most his life working with labor unions and advocating for liberal causes, and then as soon as his political career ends, sells himself to corporate interests."

Anyone who had read a little James Buchanan would know the answer. Dick has *always* been gunning for his own self-interest. Back then that was to spout platitudes about liberal issues. Now it's to spout them about business.

Posted by: timworstall | October 7, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

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