Claire Bernard And Vanity Fair Teach Us How To Lobby

by SUSANNAH LONG · May 28, 2010

    Before jetting off to look at the oil spill, Claire Bernard arrived in DC to lobby for environmental legislation. Or maybe she was just tagging along with actual lobbyists. Vanity Fair is a little unclear on the deets. We can all learn from Claire's experience, though! Read on for how to twist politicos around your little finger.

    [Photo courtesy of Vanity Fair]

    1. Be stylish.

    You think Claire shows up dressed in a boxy, charcoal suit to talk eco-salvation with balding white guys? Of course not. She either distracted them with jewel tones and metallics or lulled them into a false sense of complacency with elegant neutrals.

    [Photos via]

    It also helps if you're a statuesque blonde.

    2. Be fast.

    As Claire tells VF, Capitol Hill appointments are scheduled in 15-minute intervals and often take place in reception areas and hallways. Study up by watching West Wing walk-n'-talks.

    3. Learn the lingo.

    Politicians thrive on alliteration, repetition, and catch phrases, as Claire's meetings with them show. Claire encounters the "Reduce and Refund BIll," a bill to price carbon in an attempt to reduce emissions. Indiana senator Evan Bayh's tells her he needs an environmental plan that addresses "the 3 C's: cost, competitiveness, and China." John Kerry just repeats the word "oil" over and over again. Brush up on your high school literary/debate techniques, and you'll speak the language of the Hill.

    4. Bring photos.

    Start your lobbying spiel by touting the constituent support and the statistics, then whip out the photos. Claire has pictures of a cholera center in the Congo when she goes searching for support for water purification causes. It probably would have been more effective if she'd had a photo of a baby with cholera, but whatever. Still, Claire's twitter feed shows she's pretty good at using evocative images.

    From this, we see that Claire's trip to check out the oil spill has helped her observe the spirit of the South.

    5. Don't be afraid to touch senators and other lobbyists.

    They like it! And it makes them feel like people.

    Claire with Natural Resources Defense Council founder John Adams. Look how happy he is. His cheeks are all rosy!

    [photo via Claire Bernard's twitpics.]

    6. Lobby from home.

    Claire has some suggestions about how to use your computer mouse for the greater good.