Fred Thompson campaigning in Iowa defends his tenure as a Washington, D.C. lobbyist (here). And he has a point. Lobbyists represent actual people. The inside workings of the political system would take these people years to learn. Lobbyists already know the ropes and can help these people get some traction on their issues. That’s admittedly a very solicitous view of the lobbying profession.
While Thompson has a point, Americans are going to ask themselves if they want a former lobbyist as president. My guess is that people that might not object to lobbying as a profession per se might balk at electing a lobbyist to be their president.