The Instigator
tmoney226
Con (against)
Losing
14 Points
The Contender
lindseyloo92
Pro (for)
Winning
35 Points

RESOLVED: organized political lobbying does more harm than good

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/23/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,694 times Debate No: 11852
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (7)

 

tmoney226

Con

According to Webster's new world dictionary, a lobbyist is just someone who tries to influence someone to take one position over another on a particular issue. It is easy only to point out the things we don't like about lobbyists; like when they support laws that we're against. But we must look at all the good things they do as well; they give us all in voice in politics and make it easier to be informed on the issues. Therefore we stand con.

Resolved: In the United States organized political lobbying does more harm than good.

Contention 1: lobbyist promote community interest

A decade ago Union Station in Kansas City was falling apart. The city proposed replacing it with a casino. A local Hallmark branch, not wanting to be located next to a gambling outlet, lobbied against this proposal. Union station and the surrounding area have now been renovated into museums and attractions that bring in thousands of dollars for the city.
Lobbyists are not exclusively hired by corporations. In the evidence presented the corporation was hallmark but any organization can hire a lobbyist; a church, a community center, and a club can all hire lobbyists to make their interests known to their representative. There are lobbyists for virtually everything and this is all very good because all of these lobbyists are making sure that these bills and laws are written correctly and fit the needs of our ever growing economy.
Contention 2: lobbyists are necessary for a representative government to function.
Legal analysts Lanny Davis writes that
Without lobbyists, gov't cannot function efficiently and perhaps not all going all the way back to George Washington. Lobbyists spent much of that with members of Congress providing factual and expert Information about legislation that affects their clients. Their clients are companies that employ people, real people, sometimes hundreds of thousands of people, who deserve to be considered when laws are made.
Lobbyists are necessary because they provide information. According to the center for responsive politics an average state congressmen votes on 200 bills a year. The only way to provide the information necessary is for lobbyist to organize and present research to their representatives. Because of these lobbyists our Congress and are better informed on those 200 bills passed each year.

Contention 3: lobbyists give people a say in our government.

again from legal analysts lanny Davis...
Their clients are companies that employ people, real people, sometimes hundreds of thousands of people, who deserve to be considered when laws are made.
Our government has become so inflated that the little man gets no voice. A lobbyists is the bridge between the small person and the government. These people are going to get a say as a company, and lobbyists will promote the welfare of the company, doing more good than harm.

In conclusion, because lobbyists promote community interests, they are ness. for a government to function and they give people a say, I vote Con.
lindseyloo92

Pro

I thank my opponent for posting this debate. Not only is political lobbying a highly profiled debate in current events these days, it was also the Public Forum debate topic for February. Since my team's February tournament is our favorite, this topic is near and dear to my heart.

Unfortunately, I just got home from watching the Predators get owned by the Blackhawks in hockey and I have exactly a minute and forty-four seconds to write this. I don't want to forfeit this round or this debate, so I will have to post greater detail and refute my opponents contentions in Round 2. I apologize for this inconvenience and irresponsibility on my part!

However, my contentions will stand as follows:

1. Political lobbying is detrimenal to public interest.
2. Political lobbyists have too much power.
3. Political lobbying has negative impacts on the protected rights of American citizens.

I look forward to some real debate in the next round. :)
Debate Round No. 1
tmoney226

Con

It is fine; I'm not a big hockey fan, although the fighting interests me. Thank you for accepting this debate.
How is lobbying Detrimental to the public interest when it is the public that hires these lobbyists? I believe it was my first contention that addressed this. They have too much power, well all I can say is take that up with the government, I assume you will talk about how they use that power, in order for me to attack this, I need more info. Political lobbying has negative impacts on the protected rights of the American citizens; well lobbyists have rights to, lobbying falls under that always-talked-about amendment called the freedom of speech. Finally your last point was that lobbying has a negative impact on the protected rights of American Citizens. How does it when lobbying gives them a say and furthers our democratic system? Of course I cannot attack this effectively until more is posted.

It is because of these reasons I stand CON.
lindseyloo92

Pro

Normally I would address my opponent's arguments before moving onto my own, but seeing as how I have already thrown debate format out the window by ruining Round 1, I will go ahead and address mine first.

Political lobbying does more harm than good for three key reasons.

The first reason is that political lobbying is detrimental to public interest. It prevents our legislators from acting in the best interests of the country. Nathan Witkin writes in the Ohio State University Journal on Dispute Resolution that the lavish gifts and contributions that lobbyists are willing to provide to legislators distract lawmakers from their core duties and, "...have led to corrupt dealings that hinder legislators from acting in the best interests of the country" (1). When legislators recieve contributions from specific lobbying organizations, they have little choice but to vote in favor of that organization or risk losing important financial backing. This results in legislators voting with the highest bidder, rather than with the majority of American people. Though polls conducted by the New York Times indicate that two-thirds of Americans are in favor of stricter gun control, senators like Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee who are backed by the National Rifle Association and similar organizations consistently vote against gun control; despite the wishes of the American people (2).

Secondly, political lobbyists have far too much power, and far more than the average American citizen. Lobbyists use their sway with government to cloud the issues for their own benefits. Look to the actions of wind industry lobbyists back in 2009. When a Spanish study from a nonbiased education institution indicated that wind power actually causes more job loss than job creation, the American wind energy lobby began pushing the Energy Department to to produce a counterstudy, which they soon did (3). Obviously, if American legislators had paid attention to the Spanish study, they should have been voting against pro-wind power energy legislation because it has the potential to be extremely harmful to our economy. However, since this would harm the jobs of those in the wind power sector, of course they would want a study produced that proves otherwise. So who is to say whether the study of the Energy Department was legitimate, or just a ploy to counter the less biased Spanish study? When lobbyists are affecting the validity of information available to legislators, they are clearly abusing their power and abusing our political system. I do not see how that is more beneficial than detrimental in any way.

Lastly, political lobbying has negative impacts on the protected rights of American citizens. First, it is important to realize that or modern lobbying is not what the founding fathers envisioned. Louise Slaughter, a Democrat Representative from New York, writes in the US Fed News that, "They [Founding Fathers] never intended to condone a system in which private lobbying firms, wielding vast sums of money, spend their days shaping our nation's legislation, and do so to a degree the average citizen can't even dream of" (4). Similarly, Leon Panetta, former Chief of Staff, member of Congress, and Director of the Office of Management and Budget, claims that citizens now must be prosperous in order to partcipate in government to the extent which lobbyists do (5). This cocept directly challenges a quote by James Madison:

"The door of government must be open to merit of every description—without regard to poverty or wealth."

Unfortunately, the vastly wealthy lobbying organizations drown up the phone call or e-mail of the the average citizen to their lawmakers. Citizen voices can simply no longer be heard. Anita Krishnakumar of St. John's School of Law explained in the Alabama Law Review that lobbyists have far more access to congresspeople than other citizens. This greater access inherently leads to a partiality towards lobbyists versus the greater majority of citizens (6). Since our politicians can't hear our voices over the conniving whisper of lobbyists, this is certainly a harmful impact.

Now, I will move to address my opponent's contentions.

He first stated that lobbyists promote community interest, and his main point is that anyone can higher lobbyists, not just big corporations. Indeed, many lobbyists lobby for organizations that could be considered beneficial for the majority of Americans. However, out of the top twenty highest spending lobbying firms in 2009, the vast majority are corporations whose interests often collide with those of the majority. These include Exxon, BP, etc. So though my opponent is correct in the fact that many good groups are legally ALLOWED to lobby for their own good, I would contend that they are unable to do so effecively because of the powrful, high-spending corporations that sway our legislators.

Secondly, my opponent wrote that lobbyists are necessary for a representative government to function. He contends that lobbyists provide important information for the political process, and that this information allows for a better informed Congress. However, we have to recognize that there is a difference between accurate and biased information. I point you again to the wind energy example I discussed earlier. It is only natural for lobbyists to present only those facts which benefit their clients. However, this means that congresspeople are not necessarily getting the best information, but only the information that the lobbyists want them to recieve. An article called "Access and Lobbying: Looking Beyond the Corruption Paradigm" in the Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly says that, "...it may not always be the case that legislators get to hear both sides of an issue and can thus triangulate between two competing views" (7). A lawmaker is inherently most likely going to be persuaded by the arguments that they're most exposed to. Therefore, the information provided by lobbyists is not necessarily a good thing.

Finally, my opponent wrote that lobbyists give people a say in our government, which you will find is in direct clash with my third point, that lobbyists have negative impacts on our protected rights. My opponent claims that lobbyists give the little man a voice. However, I still stand by my contention that lobbyists are too powerful to allow the little man to have a voice, and generally back large corporations. While this may benefit some Americans, it certainly does not benefit the majority. My opponent must prove that political lobbying helps the majority of Americans in order to prove his case.

For all those reasons, I remain in firm affirmation of this resolution and likewise urge a strong vote towards affirmation from you. Again, I apologize for my misconduct in round 1 and thank my opponent for this debate.

Sources:
(1) "Interest Group Mediation: A Mechanism for Controlling and Improving Congressional Lobbying Practices" by Nathan Witkin in the Ohio State University Journal on Dispute Resolution.
(2) http://www.ontheissues.org...
(3) http://www.investors.com...
(4) Louise McIntosh Slaughter: "Representative Slaughter Addresses ‘Corrosive Ethics Crisis' During Third Rules Committee Ethics Reform Hearing. US Fed News.
(5) http://www.campaignfinancesite.org...
(6) "Towards a Madisonian, Interest-Based, Approach to Lobbying Regulation" by Anita S. Krishnakumar in the Alabama Law Review.
(7) "Access and Lobbying: Looking Beyond the Corruption Paradigm" Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly.
Debate Round No. 2
tmoney226

Con

tmoney226 forfeited this round.
lindseyloo92

Pro

Since my opponent has forfeited this final round, I must insist on a vote in affirmation based on his failure to refute any of my points. Political lobbying is detrimental to public interest because it prevents our legislators from acting in the best interest of the country. Political lobbyists also have far too much power, which they can easily abuse to get their own way. Lastly, organized political lobbying takes away power from ordinary citizens. Again, I thank my opponent for posting this debate and encourage a vote in affirmation.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by lindseyloo92 7 years ago
lindseyloo92
Of course, any time!
Posted by tmoney226 7 years ago
tmoney226
i would like to challege you to another debate later on, but for now, good debate
Posted by chiefjoseph 7 years ago
chiefjoseph
haha lindsey, this is why I will never debate you because you kick rear with your sources.
Posted by lindseyloo92 7 years ago
lindseyloo92
It's ok, it happens!
Posted by tmoney226 7 years ago
tmoney226
i din't mean to forfeit
Posted by link100 7 years ago
link100
wow trev u coppied it right out of the case that 1 guy made for us this year, im lagghing so hard it aint funny
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