chapter  9
25 Pages

Friends and Foes of Convenience

ByThomas T. Holyoke

This chapter explores the surprising and sometimes treacherous aspect of interest group politics. Great Britain's Lord Palmerston said that "Nations have no permanent friends or allies; they only have permanent interests". Lobbyists often want to form coalitions to share contacts and information, conserve resources, and please lawmakers, who themselves generally prefer that everyone get along rather than fight. If a lobbyist cannot find enough coalition allies, or finds too many enemies, to advance member interests in a congressional committee without considerable struggle, he or she can try another committee. Congressional committees are clearly the most preferred venues, especially the committee where the legislation was first created, the House Banking Committee. With Republicans in control of Congress, anything that looked like environmental legislation was dead on arrival. International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies underwent a strategic change of identity, as groups must do as situations warrant, presenting itself as a conservation and states' rights group rather than an environmental group.