It’s before your time, I’m sure, but there was a time- and I’m not that old, mind you, so don’t look at me like that- but there was a time when the Federal Aviation Administration had a mandate for maintaining air safety, as well as the somewhat contradictory mandate to promote the air travel industry. Well, that all changed in 1996, when a pair of disasters occurred that underscored the necessity for the FAA to focus its duties on safety and regulation.
For a while, the promotional aspects of the FAA worked quietly, lobbying with all the others on the Capitol Building steps. But after the post-9/11 slump, and the Abramoff scandal, airline lobbying changed. Former congresspeople started joining lobbying firms 98% of the time after leaving public office; the main attractor was linked to the aviation industry.
Through a series of bizarre court decisions, laws and executive orders, the Federal Aviation Association became the official government lobbying and promotional organizational yin to the FAA’s regulatory yang. Other industry groups followed suit; rather than spending two and a half billion dollars to lobby congress, the health industry agreed to make extragovernmental lobbying illegal so long as they were granted their own government-sponsored lobbying group.
Critics called the practice “Welfare Lobbying,” which of course upset the Welfare lobby, while amusing to no end the Bootstrap lobby. But for a time, government was less corrupt than it had ever been. In hindsight we recognize this as the calm before the coming storm.
As the new FAA gained ground against the old FAA, the veteran group adopted some of the gray tactics of its junior sibling. Character assassinations became prevalent, until the public became engorged with scandal, and bodily assassinations became the norm. While the FAAs might have been pioneers, they were by no means alone. The conflict only continued to grow, tearing the executive in half, and threatening large swatches of the territory held by the legislative and judicial branches as well.
Just last week, the Anti-Lobby lobby lobbed grenades at the Pro-Lobby lobby in the Lobby of the Capitol Building; the damage was so thorough that the building was condemned pending repairs to its structural supports. But to render this long story short, son, that’s why I had to put a claymore in the neighbor’s car before I dropped you off at school: because his side weaponized the debate last night by firebombing the Gun-Control Commission lobby’s headquarters. It saddens me to admit this, but we have passed the point of civil discourse.