Paul Jacob

“All Americans Agree Our Politicians Suck.”

That’s how FDL’s Jon Walker summarized-by-headline a comprehensive survey of American opinion, the newly released fifth political typology study conducted by the Pew Research Center, entitled “Beyond Red & Blue.”

“There are few points on which all the typology groups can agree,” Pew reports, “but cynicism about politicians is one. Majorities across all eight groups, as well as Bystanders, say elected officials lose touch with the people pretty quickly.”

The numbers are startling. Fully 72 percent of us agree that those we send to Washington to represent us promptly lose touch with us. Sixty percent “strongly agree.”

Asked to agree or disagree with the statement, “Most elected officials don’t care what people like me think,” 69 percent of Americans agreed — 60 percent strongly so.

You’d almost think we need labels on politicians to alert folks to the danger: “Warning: Highly Paid Politician Spending Your Money” or “Beware: Usual Politician Who Says One Thing and Does Another.”

But seriously, even in a robust state for voter initiatives like California, no crazy citizen has ever proposed such a humiliating, obviously unconstitutional and historically repugnant idea as making politicians go around in public wearing warning labels on their chest. It’d be downright un-American.

Instead, that’s what California State Senators Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) and Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) intend to force on citizens. Under their landmark Senate Bill 448, in section (c), “The individual circulating an initiative, referendum, or recall petition shall wear the badge required by subdivisions (a) and (b) on his or her chest in clear view of all individuals signing or asked to sign the petition.”


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.