AFTA, Colombia, Hillary and Penn

What to do about the lobbying mess?

Today we hear that Mark Penn, chief strategist and pollster for Hillary, is working both sides of the AFTA issue, a free trade agreement with Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador. While Hilliary ostensibly opposes the free trade agreement with Colombia, the Colombians hired Penn to work for AFTA. Guns are for hire…they will work both sides of an issue if the pay is right.

But one would think, or expect, a candidate to keep his or her own principles somewhat clear.

Is Hillary really against AFTA? Is Penn really for AFTA? Has Penn counselled her what to say on this score? Has he in turn told the Colombians not to worry: Hillary is in the bag. She just has to get elected first.

Colombia, in case you didn’t know, leads the world in assassinations of labor leaders. Mark Penn clearly has no problem with this as he pursues his paycheck.

Does Hillary wonder about Mark Penn? If she is smart, she will profess innocence and fire Penn. But if she is that innocent and naive, should she be elected?

And then there is her hubby, Bill. Bill Clinton. In case you did not know it, Bill is quite an active lobbyist, having lobbyied for the DuBai ports deal. A while ago, Bill made the news when he secured a lucrative uranium mining deal for Frank Giustra, after which Frank made a very handsome donation to Bill’s library.

Will Bill, now an active compaigner for Hillary, continue his sweet lobbying if Hillary becomes president? Would she like to comment on this one?

Where does all this end? Why do we put up with it? Hillary just happens to be the one caught flat-footed on this one. Yet the media and we its listeners follow the presidential race with rapt attention. Already, I am sure, each of you has his favorite in this race: Hillary, Obama, or McCain.

Me? I am voting for Nader. I will have lots to say about all this in the months ahead.