The Indianapolis Star's Matt Tully thinks Dan Coats' stint as a lobbyist alone should be a disqualifier for his Senate bid:
But this case is particularly glaring. At a time when voters are railing against "politics as usual" in Washington, they're on the verge of electing a lawmaker-turned-lobbyist to the Senate. At a time when voters are complaining about the insider culture in D.C., they are considering electing a man that a King & Spalding news release once touted to clients as a leading member of its team of "Washington insiders."
This next point might sound disingenuous, but I can honestly tell you that I like Dan Coats. He's engaging, intelligent and a sharp politician. He is more thoughtful than many of the nation's other Senate candidates. But I can't get past the idea that he walked through that revolving door, selling his elected past to big-dollar clients eager to shape national policy.
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Dan Coats isn't a bad man. He would be a solid voice in the Senate. But that doesn't matter. Because once a politician walks through the revolving door, it should lock behind him.
I also wish Coats didn't have the baggage he does. But the reason lobbyists hang around Washington and have the influence they do is that government is so big and powerful, and the way to tame lobbyists is to tame government. The question, then, is whether Coats or Brad Ellsworth is the most likely to do that taming. Ellsworth, as Tully says of Coats, "isn't a bad man" and "would be a solid voice in the Senate." But a solid voice for what? When push comes to shove, will he be fiscally prudent or side with Democrats? He's against cap and trade, which is a plus, but as a congressman he went along with health care reform and th