A shiny new nail in the coffin of the citizen-legislator caught our eye the other day as we perused the New York Times. "Professional politics isn't for amateurs any more," the ad begins. To "meet the needs of people whose career goals call for mastery" of polling, fund raising, TV and radio production and computer-aided campaigning, the ad proposes "the nation's first degree program in political management."

Obviously, backwoods wisdom isn't good enough for Washington or state capitals in this sophisticated age. To get anywhere in big-time politics, you and your handlers will need all the arts on offer at New York's accredited Graduate School of Political Management. Most of the courses have to do with getting elected, but some - like "Lobbying - Influencing the Budget Process" - get right to heart of governing.That is what governing has become. The new master's degree may be the wave of the future, but is it progress?