Reform Storm

REFORM STORM….Yesterday’s passage of a law creating a House ethics panel reminds me of something that Paul Glastris wrote in our current issue: whatever else you think of John McCain, he’s the first Republican nominee in 80 years who’s shown any interest in political reform. That sets up an interesting reform dynamic:

Regardless of who wins the Democratic primary, the 2008 general election will feature two reasonably committed political reformers. Such a thing hasn’t happened since 1912, when Teddy Roosevelt mounted a third-party challenge to the GOP incumbent William Howard Taft and handed the election to the progressive Democrat Woodrow Wilson. The conditions are right, in other words, for a perfect storm for political reform.

….But just because the potential is there doesn’t mean it will happen….If we want to get a virtuous bidding war started between the candidates, we’re going to need auctioneers. That would be members of the press. Normally, political reporters don’t feel comfortable challenging candidates to propose reform ideas that go beyond what another candidate has offered — to do so seems too much like advocacy. But this year could be different. The public’s disgust with the current rules in Washington has reached new heights. Also, reform is the logical extension of many of the big issues that candidates are already talking about: the influence of lobbyists, excess partisanship, and the abuse of presidential power, to name three. And the fact that the candidates have themselves claimed to be reformers gives journalists a chance to do what they like best: ask “Gotcha” questions.

Click the link to read Paul’s questions. Especially if your first name is Wolf or Tim.