David Donnelly, our national campaigns director, writes over at MyDD about visiting his son's class to talk about elections - and facing the difference between "classroom democracy" and the real power-brokering in Washington.
I couldn't help but think, though, about what a disconnect there is between the classroom democracy taught to our kids and the real world democracy practiced by consultants, fundraisers, lobbyists, and power-seekers. Leaving, I also couldn't help but wonder if any of those kids in Benjamin's class would ever be turned on to politics enough to run for office someday. If so, they'd better make their next birthday party a fundraiser.
I'm only half joking. Who can run major office today? This election wil cost an estimated $2.6 billion. It costs between $1 and 2 million for a challenger to stand a chance. Most have to spend more. It's out of control, and now, out of reach for far too many qualified Americans who see public service as a calling rather an avenue to riches by cashing-in at the end of their time in office.
This next Congress needs to get serious about cleaning up the system, or we better get ready for a trend of birthday party fundraisers.