Lawrence Lessig in The Nation:
At the center of our government lies a bankrupt institution: Congress. Not financially bankrupt, at least not yet, but politically bankrupt. Bush v. Gore notwithstanding, Americans' faith in the Supreme Court remains extraordinarily high–76 percent have a fair or great deal of “trust and confidence” in the Court. Their faith in the presidency is also high–61 percent.
But consistently and increasingly over the past decade, faith in Congress has collapsed–slowly, and then all at once. Today it is at a record low. Just 45 percent of Americans have “trust and confidence” in Congress; just 25 percent approve of how Congress is handling its job. A higher percentage of Americans likely supported the British Crown at the time of the Revolution than support our Congress today.
The source of America's cynicism is not hard to find. Americans despise the inauthentic. Gregory House, of the eponymous TV medical drama, is a hero not because he is nice (he isn't) but because he is true. Tiger Woods is a disappointment not because he is evil (he isn't) but because he proved false. We may want peace and prosperity, but most would settle for simple integrity. Yet the single attribute least attributed to Congress, at least in the minds of the vast majority of Americans, is just that: integrity. And this is because most believe our Congress is a simple pretense. That rather than being, as our framers promised, an institution “dependent on the People,” the institution has developed a pathological dependence on campaign cash. The US Congress has become the Fundraising Congress. And it answers–as Republican and Democratic presidents alike have discovered–not to the People, and not even to the president, but increasingly to the relatively small mix of interests that fund the key races that determine which party will be in power.
This is corruption.
More here. And here's more:
Professor Lawrence Lessig has known Barack Obama for 20 years, and supported all his campaigns. In this video produced for The Nation and FixCongressFirst.org, Lessig outlines his concern over President Obama's limited approach to truly “changing Washington,” and his view that Congress is a deeply broken institution in need of need reform: