• http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    FYI, you might find this interesting:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2008-11-07/mccain-campaign-autopsy/p/

    [McCain] Chief strategist Steve Schmidt
    [my emphasis below]

    “Well, I would say this. When you look at the campaign, one of the results of this campaign is the reality that public financing is dead. And the Obama campaign changed the scale of American politics by their fundraising operation, and their use of technology. Each party develops techniques, usually when they’re out of power, for the purpose of gaining power on the next election—need being the mother of all inventions. You saw Republicans pioneer direct mail in an earlier age. You saw, you know, the use of television advertising pioneered in an earlier age. You saw microtargeting—you know, the overlaying of consumer and consumer data against the voter file, earlier in the decade, to much effect. There’s been a profound leap forward in technology and from a community organizing perspective by the Obama campaign in this election. The Democratic Party is a generation ahead technologically. And the Republican Party is going to have to be competitive to catch up in a world where viral information is just as important as what might be in the network news.”

  • http://www.socialsecuritybullshit.com Steve Baba

    Let me get this right.
    Public financing is dead, because of Obama
    The candidate who abandoned his pledge (Obama for the 62% of you who don’t know according to one poll) did not suffer from abandoning his pledge.
    Lessig’s plan is to make people pledge just like Obama did?

  • http://www.davidetarasconi.net Davide Tarasconi

    For me this is an interesting, shining “Us & Them” example: where “us” it’s Italian people and “them” you, American people.

    In Italy, we don’t even call them “lobbyist”: being a politician implies being involved in some kind of business that can benefit from the “political activity”.
    That’s why nobody would ever take the time to do a presentation like yours in Italy. We don’t even see it as something wrong – no surprise we’re one of the most corrupted countries in EU.

  • http://www.legalconsumer.com Albin Renauer

    I agree with your larger point — that the new bankruptcy law is bad and money played a big role in its passage.

    However, I was disheartened to see that your presentation begins by spreading the widely repeated rumor that the new law makes it impossible to wipe out credit card debt.

    This has been one of the most widespread — albeit false — impressions of the new bankruptcy law, and it has simply given the banks a windfall of benefits that are NOT in the law, because consumers fail to take advantage of the important (and very beneficial) rights that still exist under the bankruptcy law.

    I am the co-author of Nolo’s How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, and the operator of the website

    http://www.legalconsumer.com

    For the past two years, I have been using my webstite to educate consumers about the rights they still have under the new law.

    Yes the law did impose a means test, but that test is easily passed by to 90% of the people to typically file for bankruptcy. More than 200,000 people have used my free web-based “Means Test Calculator” to determine whether they still qualify for bankruptcy. More than 80% of these calculator users have had no trouble passing the income and/or disposable income requirements under the new law.

    Don’t get me wrong. I hate the new law. It’s awful. It does present many new procedural requirements in filing.

    But, I would ask that in future presentations, you refrain from stating that it is no longer possible to wipe out credit card debt in bankruptcy. That is simply false.

    In the coming 24 months as millions of middle class Americans face the real possiblility of bankruptcy, it’s important for them to know they still have the right to wipe out their credit card debt.

    Thanks,
    Albin Renauer
    LegalConsumer.com
    Co-author of How to File for Chapter 7 Banrkptcy
    (Nolo. 15th ed, October 2008)

  • http://www.legalconsumer.com Albin Renauer

    I agree with your larger point — that the new bankruptcy law is bad and money played a big role in its passage.

    However, I was disheartened to see that your presentation begins by spreading the widely repeated rumor that the new law makes it impossible to wipe out credit card debt.

    This has been one of the most widespread — albeit false — impressions of the new bankruptcy law, and it has simply given the banks a windfall of benefits that are NOT in the law, because consumers fail to take advantage of the important (and very beneficial) rights that still exist under the bankruptcy law.

    I am the co-author of Nolo’s How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, and the operator of the website

    http://www.legalconsumer.com

    For the past two years, I have been using my webstite to educate consumers about the rights they still have under the new law.

    Yes the law did impose a means test, but that test is easily passed by to 90% of the people to typically file for bankruptcy. More than 200,000 people have used my free web-based “Means Test Calculator” to determine whether they still qualify for bankruptcy. More than 80% of these calculator users have had no trouble passing the income and/or disposable income requirements under the new law.

    Don’t get me wrong. I hate the new law. It’s awful. It does present many new procedural requirements in filing.

    But, I would ask that in future presentations, you refrain from stating that it is no longer possible to wipe out credit card debt in bankruptcy. That is simply false.

    In the coming 24 months as millions of middle class Americans face the real possiblility of bankruptcy, it’s important for them to know they still have the right to wipe out their credit card debt.

    Thanks,
    Albin Renauer
    LegalConsumer.com
    Co-author of How to File for Chapter 7 Banrkptcy
    (Nolo. 15th ed, October 2008)

  • Dan

    One thing to bear in mind is that what goes for presidential elections may not necessarily apply to legislative elections. Also, it may or may not apply to state-level elections (governor maybe, state legislature, maybe not — ballot initiatives?).

    Whatever happens to presidential public financing (and Fred Wertheimer still has ideas to fix it, like doing 4-to-1 matches for donation below some cutoff amount), it may not necessarily apply to congressional election financing, which often has less “star power” involved.

  • ScottRA

    The end of your presentation reflected the feed I had received earlier from the BFI:
    “You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
    To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
    - R. Buckminster Fuller [http://bfi.org/change]

  • rich solomon

    Isn’t Change Congress itself a special interest group?

    The timing is good for this project, right on the heels of Obama’s victory, hope showing promise, lots of interest and energy focused on the restoration of trust in our government to live up to the promises of our middle school history classes–that of, by and for stuff.

    I have to wonder if the improvements we seek (open government, net neutrality, environmental stewardship, etc.) would be best gained by increased lobbying in favor of the greater public interest –the long tail of politics– rather than trying to get rid of what exists and institute a brand new system that so far does not exist. Seems more practical to use the organizing tools at hand to pursue desirable legislation through professional lobbyists and enforce transparency and accountability using the now time-honored tools of public relations, rather than trying to exact promises through petitioning and rulemaking that those more powerful than us will submit to our requests. Just a thought.

    One more: If the government bails out the finance and auto industries, and those industries in turn spend part of their bailout money to lobby congress for pro-industry legislation, will that be a step toward public financing of elections?

    I fear the intelligent and motivated people in government, industry and all points in between will seize on whatever reform comes along and corrupt whatever cleaner simpler processes might be developed by hopeful reformers. More vision and more intelligence and unceasing determination will ultimately be needed to bring about the kinds of change we hope for.

    You’re starting out at the right time and in the right place to mobilize donations and support, not to mention a big if somewhat transient friend list. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes, and I wish you lots of luck. But let’s see how CC’s (oops, ambiguous acronym; I mean Change Congress’s) four points stack up against Grameen Bank’s 16 when it comes to mobilizing for the future.

    And give careful consideration to feet-in-the-door, camels’ noses in the tent, and elephants in the room that you’re not supposed to think about.

  • http://www.iconblog.com ObsessiO

    Hi, great presentaion.

    I saw in the comments, it’ made by Steve Baba, and he wrote “Public financing is dead, because of Obama”

    I can’t agree with u.

  • http://www.ticketpoint.de Flüge

    Lol Davide:D Yes we know about you Italians;) But you are right. That’s the normal business. Contrary to Italy in the US the politicians try to cover this fact up, even though or currently because business has a much bigger impact on their “political” decissions. Anyway great presentation.

  • http://www.shef.ac.uk/law/staff/acstaff/davisf.html Fergal Davis

    I’m and Irish Public/Constitutional law lecturer with a slightly different outlook.

    It seems to me that Prof Lessig is skeptical of Congress due to the role of big money and the erosion of trust this has caused amongst the People: the 9% figure is astounding. While Congress is compromised by money it at least retains the potential to be democratic.

    Prof Tushnet and the judicial review skeptics are skeptical of the role of the judiciary because they are elitist and undemocratic. Though they are at least independent (of money).

    Tushnet, as I understand it, argues that we need to re-invigorate Congress but that if they fail we should fall back on the People acting in their Constitutional capacity. He acknowledges that the People need to be made better aware of this role.

    So my point is this: is it fair to say that web 2.0 can be used to re-energize Congress and increase its democratic accountability and the faith of the Peoplein it and web 2.0 can also be used to awaken within the People an awareness of their Constitutional role? Since both the judicial review skeptics and the Change Congress ideology involves reinvigorating the democratic process rather than relying on the ‘institutions’ might some exchange of ideas be advantageous? After all the US Supreme Court did not close Guantanamo but the President elect says he will.

    As a public lawyer I’m new to the lessig blog – I never understood intellectual property but this new direction is inspiring.