Thomas Fleming: [W]e need to adopt the model of the ancient Athenian democracy

Thomas Fleming advocates sortition in the Daily Mail, even though, with the sordid state of the national character, he seems unsure whether it would do any good:

If Americans ever needed a clear refutation of Churchill’s fatuous aphorism on democracy–an institution he, more than any man of his time, knew how to manipulate to his own benefit–they have it now. If modern democracy cannot do better than the presidential candidates of the two parties, we need to adopt the model of the ancient Athenian democracy, which selected political leaders by lot.

Even a national presidential lottery would not save us. We have the leaders we deserve, leaders who reflect the American character. American voters like to complain that they are dissatisfied with the politicians they elect, but Bush, Obama, McCain, and Gingrich are the political face Americans see when they look in their mirrors.

Congressional representatives are richer, Americans are not

Gap Between Americans, Congressional Representatives Grows Considerably Over Last 25 Years

A new investigation by the Washington Post has revealed the financial gap between Americans and their representatives in Congress has widened considerably over the past 25 years. Between 1984 and 2009, the median net worth of a member of the House more than doubled from $280,000 to $725,000 in inflation-adjusted 2009 dollars. Over the same period, the wealth of an American family has declined slightly, with the comparable median figure sliding to just more than $20,000. A key reason for the shift is the soaring cost of political campaigns. According to the Federal Election Commission, since 1976, the average amount spent by winning House candidates quadrupled in inflation-adjusted dollars, to $1.4 million.