Desiccated dinosaur Jack Valenti is politely being ushered out the door as head of the MPAA after nearly 40 years, to be replaced by the worst kind of industry lickspittle politician, Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.). This ran on Saturday:
- Louisiana congressman Billy Tauzin has been plucked to replace Jack Valenti, the long-running head of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), according to sources familiar with the matter.
Speculation that the 82-year-old Valenti, who has headed the movie industry’s powerful lobbying group since 1966, would step down has run rampant for years. But now, sources say, Tauzin, a Republican, has agreed to take the job, which comes with a reported $1 million annual salary.
He could take up the reigns as soon as the end of this year, after the current congressional session ends in November.
….On CNBC this week, Hilary Rosen, the former head of the Recording Industry Association of America, said, “I think this is a done deal. I could have egg on my face in a couple weeks, but I think this is a done deal.” [NY Post]
But whoa now – House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) calls Tauzin to explain this unsavory bit of news:
- The conversation in the Speaker’s office is stoking expectations that Tauzin will resign soon and join the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).
Hill aides and K Street lobbyists said Tauzin told Hastert there is a significant chance that his days in Congress will be over after this session.
But in an interview yesterday, Tauzin denied it. “I categorically made no statement to the Speaker that I was leaving,” he said.
However, Tauzin effectively abandoned earlier assertions that he would definitely stay in Congress until 2006, by confirming that he would consider an offer from MPAA.
….He told Hastert “in a candid conversation” that he would definitely consider an offer to replace MPAA head Jack Valenti.
“Of course I would have to consider it,” Tauzin told The Hill.
But he cautioned that the 82-year-old Valenti has not announced his retirement and that he has not been offered a position from MPAA.
“[An offer] may in fact happen,” Tauzin said. “But we’re not there yet,” he added.
Tauzin’s choice of words, hinting at negotiations, will do nothing to still talk that the powerful chairman’s political career is drawing to a close. [The Hill]
And people wonder why the public is deeply cynical about the relationship between politicians and industry. Also, this kind of mealy-mouthed, coy, gibberish is despicable – the Beltway merry-go-round continues unabated.