A Return to Common Sense

April 1, 2008


Imagine an America in which a vast number of people routinely vote; where voting is easy, accessible to all, and fair; in which campaigns know they cannot win by dividing slivers of the electorate, but by energizing large numbers behind their plans and ideas.

American democracy, once the envy of the world, urgently needs repair. Our capacity to solve problems languishes, yet the need to do so compounds. Lawmakers should grapple with long-postponed challenges, such as climate change or health care, yet if they do, narrow interests and the forces of stasis will inevitably combine to make the needed action nearly impossible. This combination raises deep questions about whether our government and political system can face hard challenges.

The perilous state of our goverment and democracy drives the creation of this book. A Return to Common Sense looks at the institutions of American self-government. It shows where they are broken. And it proposes ways to fix them—concrete, specific steps we could take that would make the government listen more and work better.  

End Voter Registration as We Know It
Rocking the Vote
Stop Political "Hacking"
Campaign Finance Reform
Flunk the Electoral College
Restore Checks & Balances

Michael Waldman on Firedoglake Book Salon

logoAugust 31 – Michael Waldman participated in an online chat with Christy Hardin Smith over on Firedoglake's book salon. 

She writes, "Political books are a dime a dozen these days. But finding one filled with practical wisdom and much needed real world prescriptions for our myriad political ills? That is invaluable." Read more here...

About the Author

Waldman Mr. Waldman is a nationally prominent public interest lawyer, government official, teacher and writer. He became director of the Brennan Center in October 2005.

Mr. Waldman was Director of Speechwriting for President Bill Clinton from 1995-1999, serving as Assistant to the President. He was responsible for writing or editing nearly 2,000 speeches, including four State of the Union speeches and two Inaugural Addresses. Previously, he was Special Assistant to the President for Policy Coordination (1993-1995). Mr. Waldman was the top administration policy aide working on campaign finance reform, one of the Center's signature issues, and drafted the administration's public financing proposal.

He is the author of several books, including My Fellow Americans: The Most Important Speeches of American Presidents (Sourcebooks, 2003); POTUS Speaks: Finding the Words that Defined the Clinton Presidency (Simon & Schuster, 2000); and Who Robbed America? A Citizens' Guide to the Savings and Loan Scandal (Random House, 1990).

Prior to his government service, Mr. Waldman was the director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch, then the capital's largest consumer lobbying office. After leaving the White House, he was a Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government (2001-2003), teaching courses on political reform, public leadership and communications. Most recently he has been a litigator in private practice in New York. Mr. Waldman appears frequently on television and radio to discuss public policy, the presidency and the law.