Well, there’s no money in honest politics. Never has been. Magazines like The New Republic and The National Review have relied for decades on contributions to continue publishing.
The rise of the Netroots, the home of open source politics, the heirs to the Goldwater tradition does, like that and previous reform movements over generations, bring a lot of amateurs to the party. (And the Party.)
But for those who have been in the game for a while, who have townhomes in Washington and fancy dinners to pay for, politics isn’t that way. For those who can’t make it as media stars, corporate lobbying seems the only way to go (after a time). Thus we have Mike McCurry and (now) Joe Lockhart, who is apparently now creating phony polls for the Bells.
This is the reality that the Bells, and other industrial lobbyists, have relied upon for decades. Political actors need to eat. Thus, both parties have their favored industries. Democrats’ are the legal industry, the entertainment industry, the pharmaceutical industry, insurance, and the Bells. There’s overlap — the Republicans get money from these areas too. (Especially the Bells.) They just add extractive industries, government contractors, bankers, and a few others.
The result is a permanent form of corruption, in both Washington and all our State Capitols. It is the job of open source politics and the netroots to expose and replace this system.
But with what?
The amateurs, who really care about this stuff, are shocked (shocked)
at the inherent corruption here. The pros, the Beltway insiders who’ve
paid high rents for decades, just shrug their shoulders and go on.
For open source politics to reach its full potential, it has to break
through this system in a systematic way. It has to find ways to turn
more amateurs into pros, bring continuing revenue streams to the right
people, and discipline those who (like Lockhart) fall out of line.
Otherwise, it will be as George Washington Plunkitt said over a century ago. "Reformers are only morning glories."