The Paradox of American Democracy: Elites, Special Interests, and the Betrayal of Public Trust

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Taylor & Francis, 2001 - Political Science - 305 pages
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Washington is big business. The era of civic-minded captains of industry and serious think-tanks has given way to the heyday of K Street, home to the lobbyists who now spend $2.4 million a year on each member of Congress.
John B. Judis, a senior editor for the New Republic, conducts an instructive tour through this corridor of money and power in The Paradox of American Democracy-with eye-opening results. For example: Former foreign policy advisers now become lobbyists for foreign businesses. Former Senators call for privatizing social security while sitting on boards of investment banks that would benefit from the conversion. The bankers, lawyers, and business people who once devoted time to public service now confine their activity to lobbying for their firms.
The Paradox of American Democracy turns the conventional view of democracy on it's head. Judis shows that it's never been enough to have active political participation; American democracy has always depended on an enlightened political establishment-with only the nation's best interest in mind-to shape public opinion. Our political system suffers today because the lawyers, professors and former government officials who once made up of the establishment have put their minds and reputations at the service of moneyed special interests. Rather than balancing the interests of business and populists, the elites-and their money-are now firmly on the side of business.
With widespread cynicism so completely undermining our institutions, The Paradox of American Democracy cuts to the heart of today's debate on why our systems is broken, and what we can do to fix it.
 

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The paradox of American democracy: elites, special interests, and the betrayal of the public trust

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Is America a place primarily for business or for people? This book explores that question by examining the role that elites have played in 20th-century America. Judis (senior editor, New Republic ... Read full review

Contents

The Paradox of Democracy
3
The Development of Democratic Pluralism
33
The Great American Celebration
59
The Legacy of the Sixties
80
Business and the Rise of K Street
109
The Triumph of Conservatism
137
The Apostasy of the Elites
156
The Conservative Crackup
180
The Frustration of Reform
202
Sleepwalking Toward the Millennium
227
Conclusion
252
Notes
262
Acknowledgments
287
Index
289
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About the author (2001)

John B. Judis is a senior editor at the New Republic, and a columist for The American Prospect, The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post and the Washington Monthly among other publications. His is the author of William F. Buckley: Patron Saint of the Conservatives. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.

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