Reform First!

Having just mentioned the WaMo/TDS White Working Class Roundtable in the last post, I should let readers know that Roundtable coordinators Andrew Levison and myself have written a strategy memo addressed to Democratic presidential candidates under the auspices of The Democratic Strategist, based on the various contributions we published here and at TDS. I won’t quote from it here since we try to stay away from partisan politics at PA, though we are writing as observers, not as partisans. But suffice it to say that we don’t exactly see the Democratic candidates linking together their government and political reform commitments to their economic “populist” messages, as Stan Greenberg strongly recommended.

I’d say today I’m especially unhappy that the first presidential candidate to put a spotlight on lobbying reform is, of all people, Jeb Bush. There’s less than meets the eye in Jeb’s lobbying proposals, which we’ll get to later today, and also some very bad ideas in how he aims to reduce the size of the federal government. But perceptions matter alongside reality in politics, and there’s no reason progressive candidates who are running against the unequal benefits the rich derive from today’s society shouldn’t be more outspoken about how to reduce their unequal influence as well.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.