Sorry to go all political on you, but I found this fascinating. Fortune magazine has released a list it calls the 'Power 25', what it considers the most influential political lobbying organizations in Washington DC. Fortune last released this list in 1999. There have been some changes.
It arrived at its list by polling 2900 people, "including every member of Congress, senior Capitol Hill staffers, senior White House aides, professional lobbyists, and top-ranking officers of the largest lobbying groups in Washington." (A major caveat: only 397 surveys, 13.4%, were returned. Fortune calls this 'respectable'. I call it a major weakness in the study.)
The results? Available here.
It looks like the NRA is the most powerful lobby in the country. Amazing. Who are these people? I don't think I even know anyone who owns a gun.
Weighing in at No. 2, is the AARP. This is why Social Security is the 'third rail' of American politics, as they say: touch it, and you're one dead politician.
No. 3 is the small business lobby, which you would expect to have clout in a Republican administration; small businessmen are the Republican core constituency. No. 4 is the Israel lobby, a perennial power in American politics.
No. 5 is the ATLA, Association of Trial Lawyers of America, which is why we're not likely to get tort reform any time soon. Everyone please throw tomatoes, rotten eggs, and overripe fruit at the trial lawyers. Thanks.
Nos. 6 and 7 are those Hatfields and McCoys, the National Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO. Let's you and him fight!
No. 8 is the Beer Wholesalers. The who?!? I would never have expected the *&^%$# beer wholesalers to be the 8th most powerful lobby in the entire nation! Oh, my god... What can this mean? They're more powerful than the NEA! More powerful than the AMA! More powerful than the Farm Bureau, and the National Association of Manufacturers, and the National Right to Life Committee, and the MPAA, and the Homebuilders! Beer!
What can it mean?