A former lobbyist, writing at the Verge, tries to explain Congress to nerds, and does a pretty good job:
As long as the entertainment industry spends more money in Washington than the tech industry, bad laws like SOPA and PIPA will appear with frightening regularity. The government will seem ignorant and unresponsive to the internet community for as long as the internet community refuses to participate — that’s just how this works.
Congress is a game, and anyone who wants to get something done in government plays. Those who don’t play never accomplish anything. It’s a game of reputation, relationships, back-room deals, and big money. And if you haven’t called or written your representatives, or engaged someone to advocate on your behalf, you’re not even spectating from the bleachers — as far as Congress is concerned, you’re sitting in your car listening to the game on the radio, somewhere in the uncharted Canadian tundra. Meanwhile, special interest groups help decide the batting order, while lobbyists line the bases, waving their pet legislation home.
Getting Congress to listen is not the problem with SOPA or PIPA, because they are listening — to the loudest voices with the most money. […]
It’s notable that the money man himself, Chuck Schumer, as well as his colleague Kirsten Gillibrand, are still co-sponsoring PIPA, while Marco Rubio withdrew his support, along with 10 other Republicans and only two Democrats. Schumer, Gillibrand and the rest are more scared of losing that sweet MPAA cash than they are of their constituents, even when their offices are being picketed and their websites are crashing.