"No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions." --Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1804.

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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