January 21, 2012  ·  Lessig

I feel confident that sooner rather than later, the American people will come to see [Obama’s] first term from the same calm, sane perspective. And decide to finish what they started.

Andrew Sullivan’s latest, a couple paragraphs after he calls liberals “deluded.”  

Yet I remain less interested in us finishing what we started, and more interested in Obama beginning what he has yet to start. Or better, still less interested. From the Nation, two years ago: 

Yet a year into the presidency of Barack Obama, it is already clear that this administration is an opportunity missed. Not because it is too conservative. Not because it is too liberal. But because it is too conventional. Obama has given up the rhetoric of his early campaign—a campaign that promised to “challenge the broken system in Washington” and to “fundamentally change the way Washington works.” Indeed, “fundamental change” is no longer even a hint.

Any liberal (or sane moderate for that matter) would be crazy to say that we’re not better off today than we would have been had Obama not been elected. Of course we are. But that fact doesn’t negate the (still ignored by Sullivan et al.) criticism of the President: That he baited us with the reform rhetoric, and then switched to the administration promised by H. Clinton. 


January 20, 2012  ·  Lessig

I’ve been pushing the Henry David Thoreau inspired vision of “rootstrikers”:

There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.

Maggie McKinley reminds me of the other rootstriker inspiration — one pointed to by the Supreme Court in their McConnell v. FEC decision: 

More than a century ago the “sober-minded Elihu Root” advocated legislation that would prohibit political contributions by corporations in order to prevent ” ‘the great aggregations of wealth, from using their corporate funds, directly or indirectly,’ ” to elect legislators who would ” ‘vote for their protection and the advancement of their interests as against those of the public.’ ” … In Root’s opinion, such legislation would ” ‘strik[e] at a constantly growing evil which has done more to shake the confidence of the plain people of small means of this country in our political institutions than any other practice which has ever obtained since the foundation of our Government.’ ” … The Congress of the United States has repeatedly enacted legislation endorsing Root’s judgment.

Let them again.