Monday, September 30, 2013

"This Town" and our town


By Bill Kraus

Everbody told me, “You gotta read this book.” I have always been leery about “inside” books that are written by outsiders. The only people who really know what goes on in a campaign or a government are those who are in the campaign or the government. Outsiders get leaks, snippets, gripes, lots of questionably motivated stuff. Outsiders then tend to dress this up with melodrama to pump book sales.

I have not changed my mind since reading Mark Leibovich’s This Town even though the writer is as close to being an insider as an outsider is likely to get.

The book is gossipy. A lot like People magazine on steroids. Lots of name dropping where the great majority of names dropped are of people the rest of the world never heard of. All of them earn a lot of money and reputably have a lot of influence.

I should not have been surprised by this.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The money is the message


By Bill Kraus

I think there are three things most can agree on. The first is that money is much too important in politics. The second is that there is too much money in politics. Lastly, there is no known way to limit the amount of money that is flowing into politics.


Certainly there is no way to stem the flow by regulating from above as it were.

Perhaps it can be controlled from the bottom up.

All that candidates have to do is stop spending so much money on the persuasive devices that motivate workers and inspire voters.

Why would they do that?

Because they are in a position to do it if they are convinced that spending more buys less than spending less does.

The excesses of recent years surely have gotten us close to a tipping point where voters are beginning to wonder what and who is being bought by all this money.

Voters are beginning to ask, “Who is contributing all this money?” And, more importantly, since they are not fools, “What or who or both are they buying with it?”

Monday, September 16, 2013

Treating the disease of partisanship


By Bill Kraus

The first step is admitting it is incurable. But it can be treated, ameliorated, contained. For most. Not all. The yellow dogs are beyond treatment and have no interest in being treated. They are addicted and wallow in their addiction. The anarchists have a different disease altogether. They think the government can and should simply go away.

The yellow dogs want their opponents to go away and take their “wrong-headed” ideas with them. They reduce policy and decisions to their basics: who proposed them. If Scott Walker or Peter Barca promised a second coming and eternal life, the yellow dogs of the Republican or Democratic persuasions can be counted on to be against both.

The yellow dogs want to partisanize everything and will reject the second step of my treatment program which is to clean up the definition. There are many politically explosive issues that are not politically partisan.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013



By Bill Kraus

The good news is that almost everyone who is planning to run for office in 2014 has said that he or she will focus on one issue: jobs.

Does this mean that we will be spared the personal demonization and negative attack advertising that has become a staple of 21st century political campaigning? Nobody is promising that, but we can hope.

In any event the subject of this discourse is jobs not smash mouth politics, and the good news is not as good as one may hoped.

Jobs were on everyone's short agenda in 2012 and 2010.

I quickly concluded that talk about jobs was just that. Talk.