Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Lesson For A Candidate?

Quite a few people have advised me to kill this blog, or at least turn it into milquetoast, such as most other candidates have.

I don't especially like that advice. I'm not most candidates. I don't like their empty suit presentations that are long on smiling pictures and anecdotes about places they've been, and very short on what they think. I have a wide variety of interests, and I like to talk about them. I like to talk about social and cultural trends, too. What's the harm? Must I only offer safe, boring fare, devoid of taking a position? Must I always and only speak on-message, and in soundbites?

I found out today why candidates do avoid speaking freely:
  • The more you say, the better the chance someone will disagree with you.
  • Many people will dismiss you on just one area of disagreement.
  • Some will even dismiss you despite 99% agreement elsewhere.
A blogger found one article I penned on Air America, found my source biased, and dismissed me out of hand. (There was irony in the dismissal of my right-wing source, while touting left-wing Al Franken's new book in the same entry.)

What about the several hundred other articles I've written? Nevermind that. There's this one area of disagreement.

The lesson most candidates will learn from an experience such as this is to shut down the blog, to shut up as regards innocuous topics, and speak only on message.

As I said, I don't like that lesson. I want well-rounded candidates. Do you?

Don't you want well-rounded candidates? Aren't you completely underwhelmed by soundbite speak and empty suits that try to limit their entire dialogue to three talking points vetted by polling data? I know I am.

This isn't unrealistic, is it? I don't expect to get total agreement from people. My own experience is that I've never met a single person I held complete, 100% agreement with. Should I shut them down because of the differences? Isn't it better to build bridges on the areas of agreement?

I say 'YES' to that latter question, but the reality is that most people zero in on disagreements with candidates for office. This blog entry helps illustrate the point.

Because I am committed to being the best candidate I can be, I really have little choice but to seriously consider my presentation. I have to consider streamlining my subject matter and my words, lest I unnecessarily alienate potential supporters and voters.

I am very interested in public comments on this. Please chime in!

6 comments:

LP Mike Sylvester said...

I would be VERY disappointed if you stopped this blog. I think it is great that you are running for office AND letting people know where you stand on issues. For some reason, this is considered a "novel" concept...

To me it seems like common sense...

Debbie said...

Hmm, I'd be interested to know who's been advising you to stop blogging. I'd take a hard look at what their motivations might be when hearing such advice.

Same for the blogger who dismissed you: what is his motivation? Would you really have had any chance to bring him to libertarian views anyway? At the very least, he knows much much more about you than he'll ever know about any other candidate.

And best of all, it's not filtered by any other media sources. Heck, by linking to your blog, he's helped you because a really interested reader won't just take this guy's rant on face value. She knows she can take a deeper look at all of your blog posts for herself and make her own decisions about you and where you stand.

Blogging is great. I bet Thomas Paine and Ben Franklin would have absolutely loved it!

Rob Beck said...

Your post definitely stunned me. I agree, I thought the whole point running for office was that the people knew what you stood for. A blog is an ideal way for people to know where you stand. Certainly works for me. ;)

My personal opinion would be to keep blogging. I certainly would, just because to me that strikes of a failing in being an advocate for what you believe (again what a candidate SHOULD be all about). But we know the realities of the world and politics seems to be pervasive even in the Libertarian party. I guess it depends on if the appartchiks in the Party hold it against you and why.

Either way, I hope you keep blogging. Who would link to me otherwise? :P

Mike Kole said...

All- I get advice from many quarters, most of it unsolicited. I don't need or want advice nearly as much as I want people willing to *do* things with the campaign, like host an event.

I had breakfast with State Chair Mark Rutherford this morning, and he said he hopes I continue to blog. In his opinion, it sets me apart from most other candidates who do stick exclusively to three limited topics.

Rob Beck said...

For what it's worth, your post inspired my post today. I thought it worth exploring further.

Al said...

Mike, it's a good thing that you've generated at least some controversy. If only this dude could get a couple dozen Hoosier blog buddies to proclaim from their digital rooftops that you're worse than Hitler! Then you'd know you were making some headway.