Go Ask ALICE

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In her blog, Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel stumps for ALICE, "The American Legislative Issue Campaign Exchange," which "has the goal of identifying, supporting and assisting 10,000 progressive local elected officials." Notes vanden Heuvel,

It isn't sexy. In fact, it's not even something that most people even notice. But local government in thousands of counties, cities and towns–with more than 490,000 elected officials distributed across them–have primary responsibility for many of the issues most important to progressives: primary and secondary schools and community colleges, land use and planning, work-force development and job-skills training, water allocation, housing, childcare and child welfare, health services, and welfare, among many others.

Yet most people cannot name their city council or county board members. And progressives have not yet supplied these elected officials with message, policies and programs.

She's right–most people have no idea who the hell their local pols are. Curiously, a few years ago it came to light on Chris Matthews' Hardball that vanden Heuvel had a pretty shaky grasp on who her U.S. representative was and what neighborhood she lived in.

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  1. “primary and secondary schools and community colleges, land use and planning, work-force development and job-skills training, water allocation, housing, childcare and child welfare, health services, and welfare, among many others.”

    It probably never occurs to vanden Heuvel that long list of government functions is the major reason why people can’t keep track of who represents them. As government acquires more functions it becomes very difficult for any given individual to track the proficiency of any given elected official or indeed to even know who they are. The real ability of people to provide feedback to the process of government and therefor control becomes overloaded and ineffective. Democracy begins to fail.

    Cicero said, “More law, less justice,” I think we can say today, “More government, less democracy.”

  2. Katrina vanden Heuvel would be a whole lot smarter if she weren’t such a freakin’ idiot.

  3. Shannon: You’re not blessed with one of the “good” liberal, progressive, big spending, regulating, kick back taking politico like we Illinoisans are with Senator Dick Durbin. He even has a big picture on his website pointing you to this “ASSISTANCE WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT” webpage.

    I call the offices periodically to ask that I need help creating a list of all the staff that work for my Senior Democratic Senator. They’ve never said “yes” and helped me.

  4. Shannon, you do know that elected representatives don’t head executives offices, right? That the US Senate is exactly the same size it was 50 years ago? How exactly do my 9 councillors creating a parking department make me any less capable of knowing who they are?

  5. joe,
    I might be mistaken, but I think the Senate has grown by four members in the past fifty years. As for the local offices, I am sure that quite a few new elected positions have been created as the State has increased its scope – e.g., zoning boards for areas adopting zoning. In addition, many new political subdivisions (with their accompanying offices), school districts, etc. have been created in the past fifty years. It adds up.

  6. Hmmmmmm…..

    Someone who does this for living should do a study of the number of elected offices in America, and compare its growth to population growth, urbanization, etc.

  7. I think it’s great that she’s still allowed to write and that folks read her. The more embarrassing, uninformed, simple-minded authors the left wants to identify itself with, the better. It can only serve to show people what that side of the spectrum is really about.

  8. Katrina vanden Heuvel

    Wasn’t she Johnny Ramone’s dominatrix way back when?

  9. Please please please let that be true.

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