Monday, August 24, 2009

The status quo and the people who love it

isconsin Political Fix
not just another blog
August 24, 2009

By Bill Kraus

Thirty one years ago Bill Safire of the NY Times wrote an Election Day column in which he said, “[The] wrong-headed rejection of political labels--the glorification of non-participation--is at the root of the rise of single-issue voting which bids fair to make this year’s election more of a battle between local extremist groups than a referendum on the nation’s case of hardening arteries.”

At the time, the forces of the status quo were re-directing the money, which was and still is the mother’s milk of politics, from the political parties to the proliferating and rapidly rising single-issue groups.

Without money the parties lost their power to recruit and slate candidates, and a diverse collection of entrepreneurial candidates picked up a party banner that most suited them and we entered the abominable era of wedge politics.

As we quickly learned, money that once went to the parties’ coffers began to flow disproportionately to protecting the status quo. This should have been expected inasmuch as those with money usually got it from the existing conditions and situation, which is the definition of "status quo."

Instead of representatives legislating for the benefit of the people they represent and the nation, state or districts from which they came, they became more and more beholden to the money and the issues and the interests and the causes that they believe got them there in the first place and whose money and votes they needed to stay in office.

Among the unfortunate events that beset our current president, the full flowering of the Safire prediction may be the most intractable.

It is on full display in the battle by the interests and their money to NOT change the way health care is delivered and paid for in this country.

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