"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors." - Thomas Jefferson (appears in the Jefferson Memorial)

Spreading Eymanism?

Danny Westneat has a provocative column out today, declaring that Seattle’s mayor, Mike McGinn, is the Tim Eyman of the left.

Put aside the matter of political philosophy; the two obviously have little in common there. Eyman has made a second career of promoting (mostly) conservative ballot issues, mainly of the anti-tax and cut-budget kind, but isn’t a candidate or elected official. McGinn is mayor of Seattle, liberal and environmentalist in orientation, though even in Seattle he’s been pushed to the outside, to the point that many state and other officials make a point of dealing more directly with the city council than with him.

Westneat’s point: “I think the two do share a sense that our current system of representative democracy has failed, though. That politicians are too chummy with special interests. That populist ideas — be it no-new-freeways in McGinn’s world view or no-new-taxes in Eyman’s — are smothered by the power structure. So modern leadership means, by definition, going around the broken system. Straight to the people. I’m not sure how that works when [as in McGinn’s case] you’re also the one in charge of the system.”

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