How to win friends and influence politicians
By ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ
The Arab lobby, which has no popular support and makes little effort to woo elected officials, profoundly impacts decision-making in the US democracy.
HOW THEN does a lobby with no popular support manage to exert influence in a democratic country? The secret is very simple. The Arab lobby in general and the Saudis in particular make little effort to influence popularly elected public officials, particularly legislators. Again, listen to Bard: “The Saudis have taken a different tact from the Israeli lobby, focusing a top-down rather than bottom-up approach to lobbying. As hired gun J. Crawford Cook wrote in laying out his proposed strategy for the kingdom, ‘Saudi Arabia has a need to influence the few that influence the many, rather than the need to influence the many to whom the few must respond.’” The primary means by which the Saudis exercise this influence is money. They spend enormous amounts of lucre to buy (or rent) former State Department officials, diplomats, White House aides and legislative leaders who become their elite lobbying corps. Far more insidiously, the Saudis let it be known that if current government officials want to be hired following their retirement from government service, they had better hew to the Saudi line while they are serving in the US government.
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