By Dick Morris
October 08, 2003
How did Arnold Schwarzenegger get to become the frontrunner in California's recall election?
How did Wesley Clark come out of nowhere to lead the pack seeking the Democratic nomination?
How has Howard Dean been able to parlay the Internet into fund-raising that surpasses the entire field of traditional Democratic pros?
Why has President Bush slipped so dramatically in the polls?
Each event is part of a popular uprising against the political class that governs America. Voters realize, correctly, that our nation's politicians are a self-serving, self-perpetuating oligarchy that rules us with scant regard for our concerns and interests.
This professional group of leaders is as removed from the lives and problems of average Americans as are generals and priests. Like them, politicians are absorbed in a world of their own which operates along its own rules and promotes from within those most likely to perpetuate their own power.
Several relatively recent trends have hardened their domination of the political system:
Voters understand that the money-dominated political system has effectively stripped them of their sovereignty, handing it to the hidden power of financial, special-interest, and party oligarchies on both sides of the aisle.
We are back in the 1890s, when the Senate could be said to represent, not states, but interests like Standard Oil, United Fruit and U.S. Steel. But now the interests that control seats are the Christian right, the AFL-CIO, the AMA, the NRA, the trial lawyers, the Fortune 500, the Israel lobby, the insurance industry, bankers and a handful of others.
This realization has spawned an "off with their heads" mentality among voters (the title of my last book) which has the same lack of selectivity as the guillotine of the French Revolution, but also packs the same wallop.
The Dean candidacy offers the surest of solutions to this oligarchic monopoly - the use of the Internet to overcome the advantages which money and media can confer on the incumbents. The former Vermont governor is proving that the Internet is a better, cheaper, and faster way to raise money than the old glad-handing of special interests and fat cat donors.
He's also about to demonstrate that the Internet is a better place to spend campaign dollars than are TV stations and media time buys. The fact that Internet communications is free makes one-on-one retail politics more effective, more rapid, and less costly than mass communication.
No campaign-finance reform
can rectify the special-interest and wealth-donor domination
of the political process or the power this system confers on
party bosses. But the shift of campaigning from TV to the Internet
will and is accomplishing the same goal.
Dick Morris was an adviser to Bill Clinton for 20 years. Morris is a political consultant, commentator and best selling author. Look for his newest book, "Power Plays" available now and look for Dick's new book, "Off With Their Heads - Traitors, Crooks & Obstructionists In American Politics".
Distributed by Cagle Cartoons, Inc. to subscribers for publication.