Where have I been?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

So you’ve probably been wondering, what’s happened to the regular articles I had been publishing to rid the halls of Congress of the unproductive, inefficient and inept? Am I a fair-weather columnist who only writes when the frenzied excitement of a coming election reaches its pinnacle? Have I contracted a form of political Stockholm Syndrome and have actually become one of the political hacks that have been holding our government hostage?

Nah. I’ve been busy writing a book.

The good news, if you like reading my stuff and care to join my continuing pursuit of “truth, justice and the American way,” is that I’ll be back soon enough.

Sad to report, business as usual in Washington is still just that. Clearly, changing our political system for the better isn’t going to be something we can accomplish overnight. We’re going to need at least a few days, but I’m willing to put in the hours, if you are.

What’s the problem I’m trying to solve? Two related problems really. One is that we’re not holding our elected officials responsible for what they do or don’t do while they’re in office. If we did, incumbents wouldn’t keep getting re-elected again and again. The second, related issue is campaign financing, the way incompetent officials sell their offices for the financial support they need to get re-elected – and the way the electorate so casually lets that happen.

It’s a simple formula. Money gets people elected. The candidates, mostly incumbents, who are willing to give deep-pocket contributors the most for their investments raise the most money.

Running for Congress has become a full-time job. Candidates aren’t elected or re-elected because of what they stand for or accomplish while they’re in office. They’re getting elected because of how effective they are at raising money, at prostituting themselves to get elected. That’s rough language, I know, but nonetheless true.

Am I sounding like some disgruntled child of the 1960s? Sure. A little, but that doesn’t make me wrong. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean there isn’t someone following you. Likewise, just because it’s trite to argue that the process of raising money to get elected has corrupted the system, turning Congress into the useless organization, the great inhibitor of progress it has become… Just because it’s trite, doesn’t mean it’s not true or less in dire need of fixing.

So watch this space. Once again, later this fall, we’re going to be publishing the details of Congressional performance and financing. It’s bipartisan, all American in the best sense of the term and, sooner or later, with your help and my disarmingly good looks, we’ll begin to make a difference.

Thanks. See you soon.

-Next Contestant.

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