Is Washington obsolete? A lot of people would say that Washington insiders don't have a clue to the real America. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, how Washington became an exclusive country club, and what it will take to fix it.
Rick Bragg is the Atlanta-based national correspondent for the New York Times. He tells Steve Paulson that Washington seems to have nothing to do with the lives of the poor and working people he knows and writes about. Also, University of Wisconsin political scientist David Canon tells Jim Fleming that easy transportation back to their home districts and access to public opinion polls make today's Congress members more in touch than ever. In fact, he worries that they're too sensitive to public opinion and become afraid to do anything. Canon's book (with co-author Kenneth Mayer) is "A Dysfunctional Congress? The Individual Roots of an Institutional Dilemma."SEGMENT 2:
Historian Stanley Kutler tells Judith Strasser that Americans have been critical of the national government since Colonial days. He recounts some of the vitriolic abuse heaped on George Washington and Abraham Lincoln while they were just politicians, before history made them heroes. Kutler's books include "Abuse of Power: The New Nixon Tapes."SEGMENT 3:
Sam Smith, editor of The Progressive Review and author of "Sam Smith's Great American Political Repair Manual," tells Steve Paulson why his views make him a Washington outsider, and points out that mainstream journalists have a symbiotic relationship with the Establishment — they trade "access" for "spin." And, a selection of listener letters in response to "Religion at the Crossroads."Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 98-10-25-A.
Page Design and Management by Jim Fleming at Wisconsin Public Radio.
© Copyright 1998 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System.