Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wouldn't It Be Great If It Was All Different

Theda Skocpol:

Mugwump type reformers -- and the current public finance reformers who are their descdenants -- think that the key to good politics in America is getting money out. These reformers (I called them neo-Mugwumps in Diminished Democracy) want minimually financed elections and believe that calm discussions among educated people are the way to go; such reformers have never been interested in expanding popular involvement in politics. But the other model, the popular civic model, realizes that widespread citizen passion and engagement are more important. Getting a lot of people into politics is more important than trying to get money out. And involving millions is worth more than winning a few arguments in the editorial pages of the New York Times.

Obviously I can't know if this describes all of those in the reform community, but there's definitely a set in Washington like this. There's a strain of elitism which is concerned about the power of money, but not so concerned about the power of... elites, or at least the right kind of elites. It was truly freaky coming in contact with people who were genuinely concerned that ordinary people could one day (this was pre-You Tube) make political videos! And people on the internets could watch them! And this must be regulated because... well just because!