Middle River Dispatches is a gumbo of posts about fly-fishing, conservation, politics and days afield.

Industry and Judgement

Policy making in Washington has now become more about politics then policy. As a lobbyist for more than 25 years i had front row seats at this circus.

When i joined the ranks of professional advocate, issues and positions carried more weight than party affiliation. No longer. Of late if you did not exercise the appropriate feality to party dogma you were ostracised and shunned. Good issues were set aside in favor of political air strikes.

Fed up i retreated to the country side hoping to ply my trade from a safe distance. There is some hope that things may change after the election but experience is not kind in that regard

Having endured this last election season and having the chance to add columnist to my resume to boot, i have been keenly aware of both politics and my new occupation. I have sought to learn from those who have attained, at least to my mind, a clarity of thinking and magic in expression.

A recent example from Peggy Noonan struck me not only as approps to the election but to the work of Washington as well.

She parphased Edmund Burke in her article titled Palin’s Failin:

“Conservatives and Republicans, on the other hand, continue to battle it out: Was her choice a success or a disaster? And if one holds negative views, should one say so? For conservatives in general, but certainly for writers, the answer is a variation on Edmund Burke: You owe your readers not your industry only but your judgment, and you betray instead of serve them if you sacrifice it to what may or may not be their opinion.”

She went on to write:

“I gather this week from conservative publications that those whose thoughts lead them to criticism in this area are to be shunned, and accused of the lowest motives. In one now-famous case, Christopher Buckley was shooed from the great magazine his father invented. In all this, the conservative intelligentsia are doing what they have done for five years. They bitterly attacked those who came to stand against the Bush administration. This was destructive. If they had stood for conservative principle and the full expression of views, instead of attempting to silence those who opposed mere party, their movement, and the party, would be in a better, and healthier, position.”

Magic in both clarity and expression. that i agree with her is the least of it.

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