The behavior coming out of Washington these days gets stranger and stranger. Take, for example, today’s story about the families of the students killed in Newtown who have all now started political careers as lobbyists against the Second Amendment. The speed in which President Obama has latched onto them and pulled them into the inner-sanctum of Washington politics will make you dizzy. It’s almost as if, mind you I say almost, but it’s almost as if this was the plan all along. Now, at this point we need to interject that we take no stand on the Newtown Shooting conpsiracy theory, other than to say they raise some interesting and heretofore unaswered questions. But we’ll let you decide that one for yourself.
But something is indeed rotten in Denmark…and Washington.
From Politico: When a lobbyist for families of Newtown shooting victims called the office of Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) to set up a meeting, the first response was a standard D.C. offer. They could get a meeting with her staff, and a quick and simple “hello” from Collins herself, they were told.
The families’ answer: not good enough. According to their lobbyists, the families have a rule against staff-only meetings: They won’t do them. They insist on sitting down with the senators themselves.
That rule is just one of the ways that the Newtown families, political novices just a few months ago, are proving to be savvy, effective advocates as they promote the gun legislation that has finally begun to move through the Senate. The families are well-educated, and many are well-off. They have been polished and sharp on TV. They’re mostly non-political, but quite accomplished in their own fields. With access to money and media, they’re using persistence, visibility — and, most all, their unique moral authority — to help prod Senate action. They also have their own lobbyists — several of them, in fact.
They don’t try to sound like wonks or pundits or operatives. They just tell their heart-breaking stories, weaving in a demand for action that is respectful but forceful. As a result, senators respond to them as bereaved parents, not advocates.
“These are smart, articulate people, who don’t have a scintilla of Washington about them,” said Matt Bennett of the centrist Democratic group Third Way, which has been helping the families navigate D.C. “But they virtually cannot be denied a meeting. There are not many groups of people that can get a meeting with any senator they want, whenever they want.”
What started as a support group is now a lobbying force unlike any other to descend on Capitol Hill. The family members typically begin their pitch to senators softly, telling the story of the child that they lost. They gently say they could not have imagined themselves in this position, but they’re doing it to honor the memory of their children. They say they’re supporters of the Second Amendment, and just want to have a conversation.
But there’s nothing subtle about the way some of them conclude their visits: by leaving behind a color card with a photo of their slain relative. Nicole Hockley, who introduced President Barack Obama in Hartford this week, hands senators a card with three photos of her son Dylan, who was 6 when he was gunned down. One frame shows him grinning, in a Superman shirt.
“Dylan Hockley, 3/8/06 – 12/14/12,” the card says. “Honor his life. Stand with us for change. NOW IS THE TIME.” source – Politico