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AMBASSADORS AT SEA The High and Low Adventures of a Diplomat By HENRY E. CATTO JR. “A prime example is Vice President Al Gore, who depends for money on a large stable of former staffers, many of whom now toil on behalf of some of the Republic’s largest corporations and trade associations.” For example, Peter Knight for years has alternated between working for Gore \(chief legislative aide for a dozen years when Gore was in Congress and head of two of down millions of dollars as a partner in a lobbying firm that represents outfits like Philip Morris, Shell Oil, Westinghouse, and McDonnell Douglas. Silverstein gives this example of how the interplay works: In 1992, Knight was on Clinton’s transition team and picked his friend Thomas Grumbly, a former aide to Gore, to be undersecretary at the Department of Energy. Then Knight, as a lobbyist for the Fluor Corporation and at the same time a fundraiser for Clinton-Gore, persuaded Grumbly to award Fluor a $5-billion that’s billion contract to handle radioactive waste. Thereupon, Fluor gave $200,000 to the Democrats. The professionals who sold themselves on the streets of Gomorrah never even dreamed of fees like these. Jack Bonner, once the late Senator John Heinz’s legislative aide, got sixand seven-figure paychecks for delaying antismoking bills and killing bills to lower credit card interest rates. Bonner is one of Washington’s premier creators of phony “grassroots” cynics call them Astroturf lobbying campaigns, which can generate more than 100,000 letters despite the absence of any genuine movement at the grassroots level. Another is John Davies, who boasts that his firm “can make a strategically planned program look like a spontaneous explosion of community support.” He explains: For old ladies, his workers hand-write letters to Congress on “little kitty cat stationary.” If the writer supposedly represents a business, Davies’ crew takes the letter “over to be photocopied on someone’s letterhead. We use different stamps, different envelopes. … Getting a pile of personalized letters that have a different look to them is what you want to strive for.” The corruption of big money, the arrogance of borrowed power, the whoring of lobbyists, the pimping of politicians \(or is Silverstein’ s account that one wonders why the hell people put up with it. On the other hand, it is so widespread, through both political parties, one wonders if remedies are within reach of ordinary people. Silverstein offers some revolutionary proposals for cleaning up the Washington gutter, but being a realist and recognizing the public’s apathy he doesn’t sound very optimistic. Robert Sherrill, a former Observer editor and regular contributor to the Nation, lives in Tallahassee, Florida. Washington on $10 Million a Day is available from Common Courage Press, Box 702, MonCounterpunch subscriptions, write P.O. Box 18675, Washington, D. C., 20036 or n these sparkling reminis cences, former U.S. ambassador to Great Britain Henry Catto takes readers into the corridors of power in Washington, London, and other world capitals, with revealing, behind-the-scenes stories of the world leaders who inhabit them. $29.95 hardcover At fine bookstores. UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS PRESS 4111Vi 800-252-3206 www.utexas.edulutpress `A book of charm, wit, and substancea combination rarely found in public-person memoirs.” JIM LEHRER ‘What keeps you reading avidly is the charm, the candor, and the humor” WILLIAM F. BUCICLEY JR. shrewd and entertaining memoir” ARTHUR SCHLESINGER JR. `This citizen ambassador, this true friend of mine, has written a fascinating book” GEORGE BUSH L. NOVEMBER 20, 1998 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 23