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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Another "Is Reform Dead" Editorial

Madonna and Young's Politically Uncorrected attempts to assess "the reform movement" (which as a monicker needs to be killed).

They are generally accurate in their assessment of the lack of reforms enacted ("the legislature has done very little to enact substantive reform") and their prognosis ("to conclude that reform has so far largely failed is not to conclude that it may not ultimately succeed")

But I have to take issue with several of the points they make:

1. With the 2007 retention election, "the reform movement suffered a humiliating defeat". No we didn't - election 2007 was a victory for voters, and CleanSweep does not equal the "reform movement."

2. "The pay raise is moribund as a campaign issue". Maybe, and maybe not. As Sen. Eichelberger points out, Justice Cappy (who negotiated the pay raise) would probably not be retained under the current climate. But while tying local judges and lower court judges to the pay raise for, essentially, not returning a portion of their paycheck, may be moribund, is that true for legislators who voted for the pay raise (25 of whom have not yet faced voters)?

Besides, there are plenty of other issues (I-80 tolling, PHEAA, Bonus-Gate, etc.) to focus on.

3. "The reform movement must move beyond 'body count' politics." This is impossible - the reform movement never focused on body count politics. It is the media, and pundits like Terry Madonna, that focus on the body count. In fact, here are Terry Madonna's body count and scoreboard trackers (in fairness to Madonna, following election results is his primary job).

4. Reform requires "limits on campaign contributions, limits on what candidates can do with campaign money ...". No way. Some of us in the reform movement still believe in free speech.


Anonymous said...

After stating up front that the monicker needs to be killed, you proceeded to use "reform movement" 5 times in your piece. Madonna and company are more right than wrong, this time.
Stan Alekna

Nathan Benefield said...

True enough - I concede that Madonna and Young were "mostly right", at least in terms of the progress of reform. The monicker needs to be killed, but I don't have a good alternative monicker, nor the power to embed it into the political lexicon. Any ideas?

Anonymous said...

How about reform group? There sure isn't enough momentum or energy to support the word "movement".