Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The End of Legal Bribery

This is a compelling piece by Jeffrey Birnbaum in The Washington Monthly, but it displays a certain bit of insulated ignorance on the part of Beltway Insiders who seem removed from the average American vibe on the state of our political system. Perhaps we're being cynical; optimism is a rare luxury we can't afford anymore when considering the conduct of modern elected officials.

Says Birnbaum:

Money will always have a say in politics. But nowadays, its voice is deafening. Maybe the work of diligent prosecutors will soon allow average voters to be heard more often as well.

Deafening? Yeah, right - We doubt that considering the rising cost of political campaigning. Presidential campaign in 2004: $4 billion. In 2000: $3 billion. 1996: $2.2 billion. Mud-slinging candidates and 19 second soundbites: priceless. Notice a trend? As long as elected officials are forced to spend three quarters of their time running in and out of fundraisers, money will rule politics. Scandal will follow. The impact of periodic indictments, trials, and jail sentences will be short-lived. The consistent wrath of fed-up citizens and a continuous uprising of voter discontent is the essential ingredient. It's a shame most of us are too lazy to even exercise that basic right.