Democracy in the Mirror: Politics, Reform and Reality in Grassroots America

Overview

Democracy in the mirror is a collection of fifty-two thought-provoking essays about the workings of government and politics in states and localities across America. First published in Governing magazine, these essays touch on topics both current and diverse and issues both national and local, including term limits, redistricting, suburban development, political corruption, and the effects of the global marketplace. Throughout this collection, Ehrenhalt shows that the government is a mirror of ourselves, with all ...
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Overview

Democracy in the mirror is a collection of fifty-two thought-provoking essays about the workings of government and politics in states and localities across America. First published in Governing magazine, these essays touch on topics both current and diverse and issues both national and local, including term limits, redistricting, suburban development, political corruption, and the effects of the global marketplace. Throughout this collection, Ehrenhalt shows that the government is a mirror of ourselves, with all our strengths and weaknesses.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Contains 52 essays, gathered by the executive editor of the monthly magazine from the magazine's pages, addressing the workings of government and politics in various American states and localities. Lacks an index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568024417
  • Publisher: Congressional Quarterly, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/28/1998
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 197
  • Product dimensions: 5.96 (w) x 8.88 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 The Government We Deserve 5
Will Term Limits Do Anything about Microwave Government? 6
Redistricting and the Erosion of Community 9
If Term Limits Are the Answer, What's the Question? 12
Let the People Decide between Spinach and Broccoli 16
The Court That Forgot about Politics 19
American Politics: The Last Refuge of Poor Quality 22
2 Leaders and Followers 27
The Virtue of Modest Accomplishments 28
The Remarkable Resilience of "Politics as Usual" 31
The Debilitating Search for a Flabby Consensus 34
The Need for a Few Good Hacks 38
3 Who Speaks for the City? 43
The Modern Urban Dilemma: Who Speaks for the City? 44
I'll Match Your Nine Lobbyists and Raise You Twelve 47
The Underclass and the Suburban Solution 50
The Bitter Costs of Municipal Sibling Rivalry 54
The Unraveling of a Local Government 57
Are Developers Still Invincible in Local Politics? 60
The Consequences of Public Compassion 64
4 The Search for Community 69
Up Against the Wal-Mart 70
Looking for the Latte Life 73
Village Signs and Veto Power 76
Fast Horses and Strong Neighborhoods 80
Neotraditionalism and the Corner Store 83
The Dilemma of the New Urbanists 87
5 Reinvention and Reality 91
The Urge to Measure Everything That Moves 92
Can We Repeal the First Law of Civic Griping? 95
To Innovate, You Have to Know How to Multiply 98
Performance Budgeting, Thy Name Is . . . 102
In Search of a World-Class Mission Statement 105
6 Devolution Fever 109
The Locust in the Garden of Government 110
Mandating from Above: The Irresistible Impulse 113
Out in the States, It's not the 1930s Anymore 116
The Devil in Devolution 119
The Increasing Irrelevance of Congress 123
7 The Semi-Reformed Legislature 127
The Political Virtue of Partisan Deadlock 128
Twilight of the Bubba Era 131
The Ethical Conflicts That Won't Go Away 134
Legislatures and the Salary-Mismatch Syndrome 137
8 The Corruption Obsession 143
The Big Numbers That Government Can't Bring Down 144
The Costly Medicine of Corruption Fighting 147
The Utter Uselessness of 1990s-Style Corruption 150
The Unaccountable Institution 154
Is the Age of Entrapment Coming to an End? 157
9 The Follies of Liberalism 161
Newspaper Crusades and Dangerous Illusions 162
The Temptation to Hand Out Irrelevant Entitlements 165
The Radical Idea of Neighborhood Schools 168
Lucky Winners in the Housing Sweepstakes 172
The Intellectual Regalia of Thirty Years Ago 175
10 The Mysteries of Economics 179
The Most Misleading Question in Government: "How Much Does It Cost?" 180
Will Moral Responsibility Keep the Local Factory Open? 183
When Politicians Get That Free-Market Religion 186
The Dangers of Making Sin Scarce 190
Why We're So Hooked on Credentialism 193
Books Cited in the Text 197
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