Larry Lessig may battle Washington Corruption from the inside.
Last last month, the Stanford Professor officially bid farewell to his longstanding fight for Free Culture, reiterrating that he's dead set on fixing America's money-happy political system. At the time, Lessig was vague in describing this crusade, but word has now arrived that he is considering a run for Congress.
Over the past few weeks, some Friends of Larry have taken to the web, urging Lessig to run for Congress in an April special election. A vacancy has opened up in California's 12th district (covering San Mateo county and a bit of San Francisco county), following the death of Representative Tom Lantos.
Former colleague John Palfrey, of Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, launched a "Draft Lessig for Congress" Facebook group, attracting more than 2,000 social networking Larry lovers, and others soon sprung for their own DraftLessig.org" domain.
When we contacted Lessig yesterday morning to ask what he thought of all this, we didn't get answer. But today, he told the world he is "seriously" considering a Congressional campaign. Lessig says he won't make his final decision until "about" March 1. That would give him a month to prepare for the fight. But he's launched a new website and a very Lessig online video to show just how serious he is.
The video confirms (yet again) that he's determined to change the political landscape. "In my view the most exciting part of the debate around change is the idea of changing how Washington works, changing the influence of money in Washington," Lessig says. "Not an influence that comes through bribes, but an influence that is produced by the economy of influence that money now has in Washington."
Sounds like a born politician to us.
But Lessig wants to make sure you understand that this run-for-Congress idea wasn't his. It was someone else's. "Many others have said there is one thing I can do," the video continues, "They've been pushing me to consider taking the step to enter Congress itself."
And before he makes a decision, he wants to know how many others would join the bandwagon. "I will only be able to run for Congress, if you show your support right now. I need to see your support right now - to understand if there is enough support for this idea to make this campaign worth it."
Standing in his way is the local Democrat front-runner, former California State Senator Jackie Speier - who was famously shot five times by followers of Jim Jones just before they drank their Kool Aid. She has already announced that she will run for Lantos' seat. And although Lessig has yet to announce, he has already questioned Speier's old school fund-raising techniques.
"For thirty years she has lived in public service. Indeed, so powerful has her service been, a train has been named after her: the Jackie Speier Express," Lessig says. "So nothing in this campaign would be a criticism of that extraordinary public service by this extraordinary public servant.
"But there is an important difference between Jackie Speier and me. This is a difference in the ethic in how she runs her campaigns, for she takes money for the interests she regulates."
He's definitely a politician. ®
A word to Reg readers: Before you show your support, do make sure you're a registered voter in California's 12th District.