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Richmond's Iron Triangle

Three days before leaving the White House in 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower said Americans "must never let the weight" of the military-industrial complex "endanger our liberties or democratic processes" and that "Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

Now comes Paul Goldman warning about the dangers of Richmond's Iron Triangle, which he defines as the interdependence "between lobbyists, elected officials, and alledgedly fearless political commentators and members of the media." In his June 9, 2003 column for Bacon's Rebellion, he takes University of Virgnia government professor and frequent guest on cable talkshows, Larry Sabato, to task for being part of the Iron Triangle. According to Goldman, "Sabato persuaded our elected officials to give him over $400,000 in the 2003 General Assembly session for some pet projects." Then, writes Goldman, "Mr. Sabato went to Fredericksburg to give his take on the June 10th GOP primary contest between Senate Finance Chairman John Chairman John Chichester and his election oppornent, Mike Rothfeld."

What's wrong, you ask? In Goldman's words, "the cynicism of too many of Virginia's political elite is the drug causing much of the apathy and lack of leadership plaguing our state's political system."

By the way, Bacon's Rebellion, published by Jim Bacon, provides a good source for commentary on the Virginia business and political scene, or as Jim calls it, the op-ed page for Virginia's new economy.


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