Tuesday, June 17, 2008


On the op-ed page of The New York Times for January 19, 2006, Norman Orenstein and Thomas E. Mann, veteran observers of the political scene, had a piece which deplored the excesses of the current Congress, not just lobbying scandals, but repeated violations of “the rules and norms that govern Congressional deliberations, debate and voting”. As the Republicans were in control of both House and Senate, they came in for the sharpest criticism, but the Democrats did not escape unscathed. “The two of us have been immersed in Washington politics for more than 36 years”, the authors wrote, “We have never seen the culture so sick or the legislative process so dysfunctional.” Can anyone doubt that the presence of even a few nonpartisans in Congress can only work for betterment?

Part I of A Modest Proposal made the case that a nonpartisan in Congress, despite isolation, can be an effective legislator and make a significant contribution to its work. It did so by presenting mini-legislative-biographies of five impressive Congressional insurgents of the 20th Century: Senators “Fighting Bob” LaFollette, George W. Norris (who served first as a Representative), Burton K. Wheeler, and Wayne L. Morse, and Representative Fiorello H. LaGuardia (sometimes collectively referred to herein as “the Part I insurgent quintet”).

A Modest Proposal urges some able, independent-minded women and men to run for Congress as avowed nonpartisans, not as independent candidates, but by entering the primary of a major party – in which, of course, they are registered – and run as frank and open nonpartisans in hopes of defeating the choice of the regular party organization and taking over the party’s line on the ballot in the general election.

To download a complete copy of A Modest Proposal, click here.

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