Paul Jacob

What is clear is that the American people voted for the change they thought was offered. My fear? No change at all.

I hope my fears will prove as misguided as a Wile E. Coyote missile purchased from Acme Inc. But just look at the experts gathered around the president-elect — where do you see change? I see the same cast of insiders that have been involved in running our government (into the ground) for decades.

Now an American tradition: We vote for change only to wind up getting the same darn thing.

Back in 1994, Republicans convinced the nation that they weren’t just more of the same. They supported an agenda of reforms in Congress — from closing down the House Bank to the Contract With America’s embrace of a balanced budget amendment and term limits.

The populist term limits issue was critical to Republicans in both firing up the base and, moreover, moving Perot voters into the GOP column. Of course, it was independent citizens, not established politicians, who brought the issue to the fore, placing term limit measures on a record number of state ballots.

But in the end, as we all know, the sirens of power lured too many of the new Republicans to the dark side already occupied by the longer-serving incumbents who just pretended to support reforms like term limits and balanced budgets.

Then in 2006, after years of pork pig-outs, numerous ethical and even criminal problems for GOP members, and an unpopular war, Democrats convinced voters that they were different, that they would clean up the culture of corruption.

And yet if congressional approval ratings mean anything, they mean that even Democrats do not approve of the job performance turned in by congressional Democrats.

Still, hope springs eternal, and the Official Hope Candidate received the nod from the voters, for the presidency, giving to Democrats “unified government.”

This week a friend of mine, who supported Obama, told me he was getting away from politics. He thinks he can now leave the fate of our country safely in Obama’s hands.

That’s folly, dangerous folly — the same folly as thinking that Republican office-holders can be trusted.

Which is why I applaud those who work to improve the Republican Party, to take it back to republican values. I also applaud those in the Democratic Party urging more real citizen input, practical democracy.

But we need a force for freedom independent of those two corrupted institutions. For that, we must work across party lines to empower citizens to more directly reform government and hold politicians accountable.

As for allies in this ongoing struggle, I’m counting on you.

Not the president-elect.

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.