The Republicans at each other’s throats now for the presidential nomination both call themselves reformers. But reform of what? At whose bidding? And for whose benefit?
H. L. Mencken warned us long ago that most civic reform is a process of sweeping the tired old tarts out of the bawdy house and replacing them with bright young virgins. So where’s the reform agenda and a reform movement you’d trust to solve a real problem?
John Judis’s beef is that the supercitizen species, the believable brokers of public-spirited reform, the Elliott Richardson types, have sold out or been crowded out, or just died out. Washington since the 70s, John Judis writes, is a capital of paid hacks and single-issue fanatics-not experienced policy-heads for the public interest.
What we need beyond a new president, he says, is a new elite that could show us the difference between economic reform and just another tax break.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)
John Judis, senior editor at The New Republic and author of “The Paradox of American Democracy: Elites, Special Interests, and the Betrayal of Public Trust.”