Ezra Klein writes that legislative influence, in addition to $1.4 million a day spent on lobbying, has as much to do with relationships:
But saying no to your former friends and confidantes is a whole other thing entirely. Suppressing your instinct to trust a former chief of staff and legislative director is a hard thing to do.
If you look at this chart, one thing is glaringly obvious: the Finance Committee Democrats who are waffling — or outright opposing the public option are the ones who have the greatest number of former staffers who now work for the healthcare lobby. Specifically, Max Baucus, Blanche Lincoln, John Kerry and Kent Conrad.