Ezra Klein gives you a chance to get inside the heads of the newsmakers and power players in politics and media. These are extended conversations with policymakers, writers, technologists, and business leaders about what they believe in and why. Look elsewhere for posturing confrontation and quick reactions to the day's news. Subscribe for the anti-soundbite.
When the New York Times profiled Tony Podesta, the headline was simply: "Tony Podesta, superlobbyist." Podesta is head of the Podesta group, and considered by many to be the most powerful, or at least one of the most powerful, lobbyists in Washington. Companies turn to him in their greatest time of need — he represented BP after the oil spill, and Bank of America after the financial crisis. Lobbying is not exactly the most popular profession. And yet, DC is full of lobbyists — they're a genuinely important part of how decisions get made, of how information is spread, of what policies end up happening. Podesta explains what it's like to be a lobbyist, what he actually does during the day, and in a world where his profession is a bit of a dirty word, why it feels to him like a good thing to do. It's an illuminating conversation about a profession that's widely loathed, incredibly important, and frequently misunderstood.