Paul Jacob

Even though the most expensive and serious violations of common sense and constitutional law emanate from the federal leviathan, we don't possess the power or the process to quickly improve the people's influence in Washington. The bulk of politicians of both parties are corrupt -- if not criminally then at least intellectually -- and the parties wholly captured by a cabal of special interests. Congressional elections consistently offer us no better choice than between Tweedlebum and Tweedlevil.

That's why we must focus our political energy at the state and local level. There we find politicians at least closer to home geographically, if not always in sentiment.

Let's not remain naive. Most state legislators and local politicians are barely more interested in representing the average citizen or upholding their constitutional duties than the shysters in Congress. But we are certainly better able to engage them. To educate them. To confront them. To replace them.

And to get around them, when necessary.

At the state and local level, most Americans have access to the processes of voter-initiated ballot measures, referendums and recalls. We can implement directly what victorious candidate after turncoat officeholder has refused to implement.

Incidentally, the constant attacks on the voter initiative process and the successful reforms enacted by the voter initiative are not unrelated. The forces of big government have been relentless in restricting the process and vicious in attacking those who use it. They know what I know: Empowered citizens are the only real threat to big government.

If we are to retake Washington, we must first take our state capitols and local councils. It is close to home that we voters have the most leverage, and we need our local and state governments as allies in restoring citizen control of the federal government.

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.