On Friday, the State Journal editorial wondered whether voters might like a smaller Dane County Board. It’s completely unlikely to lead anywhere, but It’s a fair question.
Here’s another one: How about electing the Wisconsin State Journal editorial board?
Sure, the State Journal is a money-making business, probably lacking any natural impulse to operate democratically any more than, say, a dry cleaner or bakery. But what if they just thought to themselves…
Hmm… maybe we could benefit from a little more democracy around here, not to mention some fresh ideas…
Is the publisher likely to have this thought? Probably not. But what if he did? What if he allowed readers to elect the editorial board? He could try it as an experiment for a year. Readers might really love it. Former subscribers who left because of the old crusted-over editorial page might return. This in turn might allow hiring additional new reporters! Publisher William K. Johnston could become a newspaper legend, the man who reinvented newspapering in America, and in the process made America a shining city on a hill. Who knows?
Would Dancing with the Stars be nearly so successful if viewers weren’t encouraged to vote? Of course not. ABC promotes viewer voting because the viewers like it. And it’s at least possible that viewer voting has actually made the whole thing better. Supposedly this season’s cast is the best yet.
Hard to say who would run for this new elected board, or who would win. Being well-known would be a tremendous asset as in any election. What if they started off with the current and former mayors of Madison, and the current and former Dane County executives? (The two current office holders might consider themselves entirely too busy, but maybe not. The current editorial board includes 3 out of 4 with other full-time jobs at the Journal.)
In any case, imagine it. Is there any doubt that the editorial page would be spectacularly better?