Sunday, July 17, 2011

Giving people what they don't want

By Bill Kraus

The legislative leaders' chance to cap campaign spending ended when the Supreme Court opened the money floodgates to everybody, making campaigns both expensive and endless.

The people did not like this.

The legislative leaders who have succeeded to the jobs of slating, funding, and orchestrating campaigns from the eunuched parties responded to this costly, to them, development, by redistricting legislative districts to reduce the number of campaigns that are unpredictable enough to be worth contesting.

The people either didn't notice this or care enough to protest.

The result is that the hold on the political agenda by the money and the zealots increased, because both are inordinately important in the low-turnout primaries which have become the main battlegrounds for otherwise invincible incumbents.

The people who are wondering where their government that works went and where all these true believing zealots came from are not happy about this.

So the legislative leaders have won and lost. They still have the slating job the parties once had and enough money to fund the few contestable races that are left. The price they pay is dealing with caucuses of single-issue, unmanageable fanatics who have little or no interest in actually governing.

What the people want or think about this is no longer a concern. They have been relegated to seats in the stands for the power game which is governed to a large extent by the law of unintended consequences.

Follow Bill Kraus on:
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Bill Kraus is the Co-Chair of Common Cause in Wisconsin's State Governing Board

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