• The congressman

The Tribune ran an op-ed column Friday arguing that Super PACs are corrupting American politics, and proposing reforms.

The column was written by John Sarbanes and Lawrence Lessig. A note at the end identifying the authors said that “U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., authored the Grassroots Democracy Act, which would create a new paradigm of citizen-owned elections.”

Would it? I’m sure Sarbanes would like us to think so. In fact, I know he would. Here he is on his own website declaring that: “It is time to create a new paradigm that makes candidates dependent upon the people for support and accountable to them once they have assumed office.”

Maybe the Grassroots Democracy Act is the bill that would change everything. But maybe it isn’t. Maybe politics as usual would somehow manage to survive. Maybe there would even be unintended consequences.

It’s always a mistake for journalists to second a politician’s grandiose assessment of himself and his good works. Skepticism in all things!