Paul Jacob

Lying politicians are not, of course, a new breed. The fragile ecology of the paved-over marshes north of the Potomac does not suffer from an invasive species, Boobus prevaricatoris politicos. It's an old and native species indeed.

But now, with that ecology invading all other American ecologies, overrunning our flora and fauna with predators and parasites, killing some of the best of our efforts and leaching off nearly all, the entry of yet another Boobus prevaricatoris is not exactly a thing to stand up and cheer.

Bilbray's variety of brazen promise breaking does cut to the very heart of our republic. It does no good to talk about "citizen control" when our most effective means of controlling our politicians — the ballot box — amounts to no control at all. Politicians say one thing to get elected. And then, once firmly ensconced, they act precisely as they want . . . which often has no bearing on what was said before election.

So, what do we do about pork? Or about all the other policies cooked up by the crumbums?

Can we give citizens some measure of direct control? The initiative and referendum process, used by a huge chunk of the states of this union, could be established nationally. It would certainly give the Bilbrays fits, just as it does the little Bilbrays in the states.

You say it's impossible? Too unwieldy? Well, what about starting with a small step, a national election once a year wherein the citizens get the right to veto one law? The law the citizens choose with most gusto, I mean, the most votes, is the one that goes out that year.

It could be fun. It would get the people excited about the particulars of policy. Unlike voting for Bilbray — or his opponent — this vote would actually accomplish something.

But, of course, to put such a system in place would require the co-operation of the crumbums.

I mean: politicians like Bilbray.

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.