THE K STREET PROJECT….In 2002 and 2003 the Washington press corps finally began taking note of the K Street Project, a Republican plan designed to cement their long-term hold on power. But coverage was sporadic and light. The first serious examination of the project and what it meant came in “Welcome to the Machine,” a terrific cover story by Nick Confessore in the July 2003 issue of the Washington Monthly:

Over the last few years, Republicans have brought about a revolutionary change: They’ve begun to capture and, consequently, discipline K Street….The corporate lobbyists who once ran the show, loyal only to the parochial interests of their employer, are being replaced by party activists who are loyal first and foremost to the GOP. Through them, Republican leaders can now marshal armies of lobbyists, lawyers, and public relations experts — not to mention enormous amounts of money — to meet the party’s goals. Ten years ago, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, the political donations of 19 key industry sectors — including accounting, pharmaceuticals, defense, and commercial banks — were split about evenly between the parties. Today, the GOP holds a two-to-one advantage in corporate cash.

I can’t tell you how many times I read and linked to this piece between the time it was published and the 2006 midterms, when the K Street Project finally crashed and burned. It was a genuinely seminal article explaining how the modern GOP was reshaping politics in its image, and understanding how it worked was also one of the keys to understanding the Republican defeat last year. But you only see stuff like this when it first comes out if you subscribe to the magazine.

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